The Kansas City Royals have steadily trended in the right direction in the win column over the last three seasons, finishing with the most wins in the American League with 95 in 2015. This group will try to put together another successful season as the slight favorite to win the AL Central in 2016.
Kansas City's season win total at the sportsbooks is set at 85.5. This is a total that the Royals have surpassed in each of their last three seasons, winning 86 games in 2013, 89 games in 2014 and 95 games in 2015. The Royals have a core that has proven doubters wrong consistently over the last three seasons, and they'll have the chance to do so again this year.
Another team projected to suffer a big dropoff this season is the St. Louis Cardinals, who exceeded expectations last season with the MLB's best record of 100-62. The Cardinals' win total in 2016 is set at 87.5. St. Louis has eclipsed this win total for five straight years with consistently strong pitching, averaging 93 wins per season over that stretch.
As well, the Cardinals have won the NL Central each of the last three seasons.
That is expected to change, though, with the Chicago Cubs coming into the 2016 season as the favorite on the odds to win the World Series at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Chicago is the only team in baseball with a win total currently set in the 90's, at 92.5 wins for 2016.
The Cubs won 97 games last season despite being in the same division as the 100-win Cardinals and the 98-win Pittsburgh Pirates (who have a total set at 86.5 wins this year).
One potential value play on the board is the OVER on the Los Angeles Angels, currently with a win total set at 81.5 wins. Under manager Mike Scioscia, the Angels have been extremely consistent and have averaged 90.25 wins per year over the last 12 seasons.
Over that stretch, the Angels have dipped below 85 wins only twice. The AL West is on the rise with the Houston Astros (87.5 wins line), Texas Rangers (84.5 wins) and Seattle Mariners (82.5 wins) all expected to be competitive, but the Angels likely will be as well.