With the Super Bowl in the rear view mirror, it is time to start thinking about spring and Major League Baseball. With pitchers and catchers of every team scheduled to report for spring training sometime this week, it won’t be long before Opening Day 2017 is upon us.
Last year, the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs met in the 2016 World Series. The Cubs won the Fall Classic in seven dramatic games, giving Chicago their first title in over 100 years. Well, if Las Vegas odds makers are correct, we may be headed towards a rematch this October.
According to an ESPN report, the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians lead the way when it comes to the annual over/under prop bet “Who will win the most games this MLB season.”
The over/under win total on the Cubs has been set at a whopping 95.5, with the Indians right behind them at 92.5.
The number on the Cubs is high, as in really high, especially for a team that lost a couple of key players from last year, namely lead-off hitter Dexter Fowler. To set the number of total wins at 95.5 is basically saying that the Cubs will once again play .700 ball this season. While that is very possible with all of the talent Chicago has, it is much easier said than done to win 100 games in back-to-back seasons.
Last year at this time the over/under win total was set at 89 on the Cubs, which was second in the National League behind the San Francisco Giants. After last year, head oddsmaker and Atlantis sportsbook director Steve Mikkelson is now a believer in the Cubbies, and doesn’t think 95.5 wins is too high of a number to set the bar at.
“I was short on them last year,” Mikkelson told Chalk. “My concern was that the team was so young. But after watching them in 2016, they are solid top to bottom. They have tremendous depth and won 103 games last year. If any team can take an injury or two and come back, it’s this team. I like the Wade Davis acquisition, and Kyle Schwarber is coming back as well.”
Other National League teams that are expected to contend with the Cubbies this year and are listed higher up on the win chart are the Los Angeles Dodgers (91.5), Washington Nationals (90.5), New York Mets (89.5), St. Louis Cardinals (87.5), and San Francisco Giants (87.5).
The Dodgers and Nationals, just like the Cubs, will enter the 2017 MLB season with big expectations on their shoulders.
In fact, fair or not, these two teams may actually have the tag of “World Series or Bust” on their suitcases as they head into spring training. Those expectations come when you sign high priced free agents.
In the American League, Mikkelson posted the Cleveland Indians with the highest win total at 92.5, but he said the Boston Red Sox (90.5) have a better shot at winning the World Series.
“I have [the Red Sox] with shorter odds to win the World Series but a lower win total because they have a much more competitive division,” Mikkelson said. “The Indians and Red Sox are a notch above the other teams in the AL.”
Other teams that always bring in a lot of wagering action in Vegas every year are the New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers, and Detroit Tigers. If you believe that any of these teams are going to do well in 2017, wagering on the “over” total number of wins seems like a great bet.
All four of these teams are listed between 83 and 86 wins, which means if they finish over .500 in 2017, the odds of them going over the win total are very good.
[Featured Image by Jon Durr/Getty Images]