The new MLB season got cranking this week, as players began reporting for Spring Training. The league is confident that it will be able to enjoy a normal year, without having to postpone Opening Day like it did last year, but is prepared to get things underway without large quantities of fans attending the games. Even without fan attendance, there will still be a lot of action for sports gamblers to mull over, and the LA Dodgers are going to make things more interesting, according to ESPN. Oddsmakers are putting up lines that haven’t been seen in over ten years, when the New York Yankees ruled MLB.
At Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill, the Dodgers opened with a season-win total of 104.5. That is the same figure oddsmakers gave the Yankees in 1999, and the highest to any team in 32 seasons. The Dodgers are set to defend their World Series title from last year, but will have a lot more competition this year. In addition to the team, the Yankees, the Atlanta Braves, the San Diego Padres and the Chicago White Sox all start the year with win totals at 90 games or more.
The New York Mets are getting some support from Caesars’ oddsmakers, as well, finding themselves with a win total of 89 for the new season. The Tampa Bay Rays, who took the American League Championship last year, picked up a prediction of 88.5, while the still-controversial Houston Astros followed at 88. The St. Louis Cardinals tied with them on the list, with the Philadelphia Phillies following at 81.5. Next in line, the Chicago Cubs got a forecasted win total of 79.5 and the Boston Red Sox came in at 77.
The Dodgers recorded a winning percentage of .717 last year, although that was with just 60 games in the regular season. If that percentage had been maintained across a normal season, with 162 games, the team would have won 116 games. That has only happened twice in MLB’s history, once by the Cubs in 1906 and the other by the Seattle Mariners in 2001. It’s highly unlikely, however, that the Dodgers would have pulled it off if the season had been normal.
At the bottom of the list in terms of win totals, the Pittsburgh Pirates aren’t feeling any love from oddsmakers. Their total is just 58, which is the lowest assigned to any team since the Florida Marlins (now Miami Marlins) were given that prediction when they entered MLB as an expansion team in 1993. In both of those cases, 58 was the lowest figure ever attributed to any team. The Colorado Rockies are slightly ahead of the Pirates, forecast to win 62.5 games in the upcoming season. Baseball fans will be able to see how accurate the predictions are once the bats get cracking following Opening Day. That is still scheduled to take place on April 1, provided COVID-19 doesn’t have other plans like it did last year.