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Picking the best MLB over-under bet for 2017

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Which MLB team will surpass or fall short of their projected win total?

MLB: Washington Nationals at Cincinnati Reds David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to one of my favorite posts of the year, where I look at the over-under totals of all 30 MLB teams and try to win you fake money. I am pleased to report that, collectively, we have won fake money. Thousands of dollars. This is the last year for this post. Next year, I will introduce an 877 number and buy up 15 minutes of paid content on your favorite sports-talk radio station every week. And I will quit this job, burning every last bridge before I go. Especially with Marc. [Editor’s note: :( ]

Until then, we will continue to look for the best over-under bet in Major League Baseball.

Last year, I decided that the Cardinals were the best over-under bet for 2016, and I declared that out of all 30 teams — and 60 options — that picking them to win 88 games or more was the safest bet. I also drafted Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha in my fantasy league. These facts are related.

I did not win my over-under choice from last year. You will be shocked to learn that I did not win my fantasy league, either. But if you call 877-BRIS-PIX now ...

That’s OK though, because the collective wisdom of crowds saved us. There were 2,885 votes in our poll, and more than 53 percent of you picked a winner. Good job, everybody! That translated to $138,780 in fake winnings, assuming a $100 bet. Wow!

It also translated to $134,300 in losses, but look at those winnings.

If we pooled our money and created a mutual fund of baseball gambling, like I suggested last year, that would have meant a profit of $1.55 per person. The important part is we didn’t lose.

Actually, if we just put that money into a 401(k), we would have made far m

THE IMPORTANT PART IS WE DIDN’T LOSE.

The totals looked like this:

2016 MLB over-under results

Team 2016 over-under Actual wins Over votes Under votes Winner Loser Wins Losses
Team 2016 over-under Actual wins Over votes Under votes Winner Loser Wins Losses
Angels 81.5 74 30 44 44 30 $3,960 $3,000
A's 75.5 69 67 17 17 67 $1,530 $6,700
Astros 87.5 84 40 15 15 40 $1,350 $4,000
Blue Jays 87.5 89 51 45 51 45 $4,590 $4,500
Braves 66.5 68 52 17 52 17 $4,680 $1,700
Brewers 69.5 73 19 22 19 22 $1,710 $2,200
Cardinals 87.5 86 114 21 21 114 $1,890 $11,400
Cubs 92.5 103 115 55 115 55 $10,350 $5,500
Diamondbacks 82.5 69 56 23 23 56 $2,070 $5,600
Dodgers 88.5 91 135 44 135 44 $12,150 $4,400
Giants 89.5 87 124 97 97 124 $8,730 $12,400
Indians 84.5 94 49 13 49 13 $4,410 $1,300
Mariners 82.5 86 36 35 36 35 $3,240 $3,500
Marlins 79.5 79 14 30 30 14 $2,700 $1,400
Mets 89.5 87 64 45 45 64 $4,050 $6,400
Nationals 89.5 95 11 59 11 59 $990 $5,900
Orioles 79.5 89 34 25 34 25 $3,060 $2,500
Padres 73.5 68 21 18 18 21 $1,620 $2,100
Phillies 65.5 71 66 21 66 21 $5,940 $2,100
Pirates 86.5 78 50 18 18 50 $1,620 $5,000
Rangers 84.5 95 171 37 171 37 $15,390 $3,700
Rays 81.5 68 33 13 13 33 $1,170 $3,300
Red Sox 86.5 93 43 53 43 53 $3,870 $5,300
Reds 70.5 68 24 55 55 24 $4,950 $2,400
Rockies 70.5 75 16 13 16 13 $1,440 $1,300
Royals 85.5 81 124 155 155 124 $13,950 $12,400
Tigers 81.5 86 88 10 88 10 $7,920 $1,000
Twins 78.5 59 55 20 20 55 $1,800 $5,500
White Sox 80.5 78 52 30 30 52 $2,700 $5,200
Yankees 85.5 84 26 55 55 26 $4,950 $2,600
1780 1105 1542 1343 $138,780 $134,300

Oh, Twins fans. You are a hardy people.

As always, these over-unders seem so obvious in retrospect, but so very tough to choose from at the time. This year’s list is perfectly designed to make you have second thoughts and chew on your pencil before you make a decision. They’re courtesy of Bovada, and it’s almost like they’re designed to make you lose money.

2017 MLB over-under totals

Arizona Diamondbacks - 77½
Atlanta Braves - 73½
Baltimore Orioles - 80½
Boston Red Sox - 92½
Chicago Cubs - 95½
Chicago White Sox - 69½
Cincinnati Reds - 70½
Cleveland Indians - 92½
Colorado Rockies - 80½
Detroit Tigers - 82½
Houston Astros - 89½
Kansas City Royals - 76½
Los Angeles Angels - 79½
Los Angeles Dodgers - 93½
Miami Marlins - 76½
Milwaukee Brewers - 69½
Minnesota Twins - 74½
New York Mets - 88½
New York Yankees - 82½
Oakland Athletics - 73½
Philadelphia Phillies - 73½
Pittsburgh Pirates - 82½
San Diego Padres - 66½
San Francisco Giants - 87½
Seattle Mariners - 85½
St. Louis Cardinals - 84½
Tampa Bay Rays - 77½
Texas Rangers - 84½
Toronto Blue Jays - 84½
Washington Nationals - 90½

Pick one.

Hoo, boy, let’s start with the extremes. It’s always a good idea to be skeptical of big win or loss totals. The Cubs at 95½ games seems awfully optimistic ... yet it’s nearly an eight-game drop from last year. The Dodgers have won four straight division titles, and they’re favorites for a fifth ... but they’ve beat that win total just once in the last four seasons, even with the division titles. They’ve won 94 games or more just twice since winning their last World Series*.

* 28 years ago

When it comes to the teams that are projected to be bad, we have the Padres lapping the field. They’re projected to be the worst team by a substantial margin, and yet you know they’ll win at least 12 or 14 games against the Giants. It’s tricky to peg them as a 96-loss team, even if Eric Show is their Opening Day starter.

The Twins seem a little optimistic. If I’m placing multiple bets, I’ll probably lay one down on the Nationals, who I think are nearly as good as the Cubs and Dodgers, if not equal. And, hold on, the Reds losing 92 or more seems like a given, right? Especially with the ouchies in their rotation and the likelihood of losing at least a couple of their best players at the trade deadline.

Just like last year, we’ll turn to science. We’ll match up these over-unders with the FanGraphs projects and see where the biggest gaps are.

FanGraphs vs. Gambling

Team Over-under total FanGraphs win projection Difference
Team Over-under total FanGraphs win projection Difference
Oakland Athletics 73.5 79 -5.5
Tampa Bay Rays 77.5 83 -5.5
Los Angeles Angels 79.5 84 -4.5
Miami Marlins 76.5 79 -2.5
Houston Astros 89.5 91 -1.5
Milwaukee Brewers 69.5 71 -1.5
Toronto Blue Jays 84.5 86 -1.5
Baltimore Orioles 80.5 81 -0.5
Los Angeles Dodgers 93.5 94 -0.5
Minnesota Twins 74.5 75 -0.5
Washington Nationals 90.5 91 -0.5
Arizona Diamondbacks 77.5 77 0.5
Atlanta Braves 73.5 73 0.5
Chicago White Sox 69.5 69 0.5
Kansas City Royals 76.5 76 0.5
San Diego Padres 66.5 66 0.5
San Francisco Giants 87.5 87 0.5
St. Louis Cardinals 84.5 84 0.5
Boston Red Sox 92.5 91 1.5
Chicago Cubs 95.5 94 1.5
Cleveland Indians 92.5 91 1.5
Detroit Tigers 82.5 81 1.5
New York Yankees 82.5 81 1.5
Philadelphia Phillies 73.5 72 1.5
Texas Rangers 84.5 83 1.5
Cincinnati Reds 70.5 68 2.5
New York Mets 88.5 86 2.5
Seattle Mariners 85.5 83 2.5
Colorado Rockies 80.5 77 3.5
Pittsburgh Pirates 82.5 79 3.5

It appears as if the gambling community isn’t so sure about those scrappy, small-market teams. It also appears as if they use science, too, which makes this trickier.

I picked the Brewers to finish ahead of the Cardinals, so that should be my pick right? Not really. I did that because I knew that every baseball season has one screwy finish, so I just threw a dart and picked a screwy finish. Doesn’t mean that I actually believe it.

And I’m not going to pick either the Rays or A’s. Too much can go wrong. Too much of what goes right can be traded in July. The Cubs and Dodgers are tempting, but they’re also really, really good.

Reds. Final answer. They have a pitcher in the rotation right now whose name is Rookie Davis, and that is just way too on the nose. A 71-91 season or better seems like a huge stretch, even with the contributions of Joey Votto. I’m going Reds, under.

Please vote in the important poll to keep this experiment going. Thanks.

Poll

Pick the best MLB over-under bet of 2017

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Angels over
    (61 votes)
  • 1%
    Angels under
    (22 votes)
  • 3%
    A’s over
    (48 votes)
  • 0%
    A’s under
    (11 votes)
  • 1%
    Astros over
    (20 votes)
  • 1%
    Astros under
    (17 votes)
  • 2%
    Blue Jays over
    (30 votes)
  • 0%
    Blue Jays under
    (6 votes)
  • 3%
    Braves over
    (55 votes)
  • 0%
    Braves under
    (14 votes)
  • 4%
    Brewers over
    (62 votes)
  • 0%
    Brewers under
    (1 vote)
  • 2%
    Cardinals over
    (39 votes)
  • 0%
    Cardinals under
    (5 votes)
  • 1%
    Cubs over
    (26 votes)
  • 1%
    Cubs under
    (22 votes)
  • 0%
    Diamondbacks over
    (14 votes)
  • 0%
    Diamondbacks under
    (6 votes)
  • 0%
    Dodgers over
    (6 votes)
  • 1%
    Dodgers under
    (22 votes)
  • 1%
    Giants over
    (18 votes)
  • 0%
    Giants under
    (4 votes)
  • 1%
    Indians over
    (19 votes)
  • 1%
    Indians under
    (17 votes)
  • 1%
    Mariners over
    (23 votes)
  • 0%
    Mariners under
    (13 votes)
  • 0%
    Marlins over
    (9 votes)
  • 0%
    Marlins under
    (7 votes)
  • 1%
    Mets over
    (29 votes)
  • 1%
    Mets under
    (20 votes)
  • 1%
    Nationals over
    (28 votes)
  • 0%
    Nationals under
    (2 votes)
  • 2%
    Orioles over
    (41 votes)
  • 0%
    Orioles under
    (7 votes)
  • 1%
    Padres over
    (28 votes)
  • 1%
    Padres under
    (17 votes)
  • 2%
    Phillies over
    (43 votes)
  • 0%
    Phillies under
    (13 votes)
  • 1%
    Pirates over
    (22 votes)
  • 0%
    Pirates under
    (13 votes)
  • 9%
    Rangers over
    (143 votes)
  • 0%
    Rangers under
    (12 votes)
  • 3%
    Rays over
    (51 votes)
  • 0%
    Rays under
    (9 votes)
  • 1%
    Red Sox over
    (15 votes)
  • 0%
    Red Sox under
    (12 votes)
  • 1%
    Reds over
    (17 votes)
  • 3%
    Reds under
    (44 votes)
  • 2%
    Rockies over
    (31 votes)
  • 1%
    Rockies under
    (27 votes)
  • 2%
    Royals over
    (41 votes)
  • 0%
    Royals under
    (5 votes)
  • 1%
    Tigers over
    (26 votes)
  • 0%
    Tigers under
    (12 votes)
  • 0%
    Twins over
    (12 votes)
  • 1%
    Twins under
    (28 votes)
  • 1%
    White Sox over
    (20 votes)
  • 0%
    White Sox under
    (10 votes)
  • 4%
    Yankees over
    (63 votes)
  • 1%
    Yankees under
    (16 votes)
1454 votes total Vote Now