The MLB season was on the brink of cancellation, but it appears we will have games played in the 2020 season, with the revised Opening Day expected to be July 23-24. The delay to the season means that MLB betting fans will have a condensed 60-game schedule to dive into, with each team playing 40 divisional games and 20 interleague games against their geographical equal.
The Twins are the class of the AL Central for the 2020 season, but can the White Sox be the latest team in the division to break out? With the new 'spring training' in our sights, we turn our attention to the MLB odds for regular-season win totals. Andrew Caley slides into the MLB betting odds headfirst and gives his best Over/Under win total predictions for the American League Central.
AL CENTRAL REGULAR SEASON WIN TOTALS
|Team||New 2020 Win Total||Original 2020 Win Total||Odds to Win AL Central|
|Chicago White Sox||31.5||84.5||+320|
|Kansas City Royals||25||67.5||+5,000|
CHICAGO WHITE SOX – O/U 31.5
The White Sox are probably the sexiest pick in the American League to take the next leap forward. They are loaded with young talents like Yoan Moncada (who I like as a dark horse MVP candidate), Lucas Giolito, Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert, and the front office got those youngsters some veteran support in the form of Dallas Keuchel, Gio Gonzalez, Yasmani Grandal and Edwin Encarnacion.
The South Siders hope to challenge the Twins for the Central title and advance to the postseason for the first time since 2008. With the added bonus of their schedule primarily being against their own division, which has some really bad teams, I like the White Sox, at the very least, to eclipse their projected win total.
Pick: Over 31.5
CLEVELAND INDIANS – O/U 33.5
This is another number that sticks out to me. The Indians won 93 games last year (the equivalent of just over 34 wins in a 60-game season), but they traded away longtime ace Corey Kluber and, until very recently, reportedly were shopping superstar Francisco Lindor: it feels very much like ownership doesn’t have a whole lot of interest in winning right now.
Lindor and Jose Ramirez are still franchise cornerstones, while Mike Clevinger and Shane Bieber are solid top-of-the-rotation guys, but there are enough holes in this roster that could get magnified from a condensed schedule where every game means so much. It could be a down year in Cleveland.
Pick: Under 33.5
DETROIT TIGERS – O/U 22.5
Let’s be honest: last season was one of the worst in the history of, well, any franchise. The Tigers lost 114 games with a negative -333 run differential. To put that in perspective, the next worse run differential belonged to the Orioles at -252.
But give the Tigers some credit, as they are rostering some players (other than Miguel Cabrera) that you might actually know: veterans C.J. Cron, Jonathan Schoop, Cameron Maybin and Austin Romine joined the Tigers, while Matthew Boyd was a bright spot in the rotation and 2016 AL Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer is expected to be back after missing all of 2019 recovering from right knee and Tommy John surgeries.
Also, Detroit's 48 wins last year equates to about 18 wins in a 60-game season. With a slightly better roster - and a relatively weak division - it’s not impossible to see them win a little more regularly than last season's disaster.
Pick: Over 22.5
KANSAS CITY ROYALS – O/U 25
Boy, the 2015 World Series sure seems like a lifetime ago.
The Royals have lost 100 games in each of the last two seasons and now have a new manager in Mike Matheny. Not all is rotten with the Royals, however, as they have a few solid pieces in Whit Merrifield, Adalberto Mondesi and Jorge Soler, but the pitching is really sub-par.
Outside of converted-closer Ian Kennedy, there's nobody that stands out on a pitching staff where the starting rotation ranked 23rd in ERA and the bullpen 27th last season. There doesn't appear to be any significant reinforcements coming up the ranks this season, so, it looks like more of the same for the Royals in 2020.
Pick: Under 25
MINNESOTA TWINS – O/U 34.5
The Twins are the class of the Central this year, and for good reason: they won 101 games last season on their way to their first division title since 2010. They were the second-highest scoring team in baseball and broke the single-season team home-run record in the process.
Oh, and they added Josh Donaldson to their lineup, who hit 37 dingers in a comeback season with Atlanta last year. The Twins also bolstered their rotation, with Kenta Maeda and Homer Bailey (no joke, Homer was decent last season) joining young ace Jose Berrios, and the bullpen has some electric arms.
It’s hard to imagine the Twins running away with the division in a shortened season, but at the same time, I can imagine them surpassing this win total when they mostly face a generally-weak AL Central.
Pick: Over 34.5
UNDERSTANDING MLB SEASON WIN TOTALS
Sportsbooks will post projected win totals for every MLB team before the season starts. The numbers are projections for the amount of wins a specific team will get in a given year set accurately enough in hopes of getting an even amount of dollars wagered on both the Over and the Under. These markets open before Spring Training, close when the regular season begins and don’t cash out until the season is over. So, be prepared to ride out your investment.
MLB season win total odds will usually look like this:
- Minnesota Twins Over/Under 34.5
This means you can bet the Twins to have more than or less than 34.5 wins. So, 35 or more wins and you cash an Over bet and 34 or fewer wins and your Under is the winner.
Most of these odds are juiced to -110 each way, meaning you would need to bet $110 to win $100. If adjustments are made, due to players changing teams, getting hurt or liability (amount wagered on a certain side), then usually the number would change, for example: the Twins move from 34.5 to 35.5.
HOW TO BET MLB REGULAR SEASON WIN TOTALS
There are many strategies to consider when making an MLB regular-season win total bet. First and foremost, you're looking for value. Has a sportsbook overvalued a player acquisition or undervalued the strength of a division? Just because the Twins won 101 games last year (the equivalent of just more than 37 wins in a 60-game season), doesn’t necessarily mean they'll go Over their win total of 34.5 this year. With a little bit of research, you can find some real value in the numbers.
Also, consider the length of your investment. As mentioned before, MLB regular season win totals need to be locked in prior to the Opening Day of the MLB season and don’t cash out until the season ends. That’s a long time to wait out a bet. If you are betting the Indians to go Over 33.5 wins, but they stumble out the gates, you’ve got a season-long sweat on your hands.
Finally, shop around. Different sportsbooks will offer slightly different totals. If you like the White Sox to improve but don’t love the number at 31.5, maybe another book doesn’t have as big of a liability on Chicago and has a number of 31, or even 30.5.
WHERE CAN I BET ON AL CENTRAL WIN TOTAL ODDS?
Most online books and casinos offer futures bets on MLB regular-season win totals, even with this condensed season. Check out the best sportsbooks available where you live.