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Some Totally Legal Discussions On MLB 2019 Over/Unders

Gambling is fun. Poker is one of my favorite things to do, and gambling on sports is always better than not gambling on sports. You know, nothing crazy like betting the family savings on black or playing head to head poker against a member of the Russian Outfit. But throwing $20 at the Pirates at -110? I mean, what is that anyway, maybe a beer and a hotdog at a baseball game? As they say, no harm, no foul.

But geez Louise, wait until you see the win totals that Caesars Palace just posted! At the time, Grandal was still on the market. Machado, Harper, and others are still unsigned. Major moves are still to come, but Caesars Palace doesn’t care. With that comes some ridiculous looking win totals, which *ahem* I WILL NOT bet the family savings on, but wish I had or totally forget about in 9 months.

Above is a chart that lists last years Vegas win total, actual wins, the difference between the two, this years Vegas win total, and for fun, I threw in a standard deviation column. I found the standard deviation of last years range of outcomes and simply added one SD to the Vegas win total and subtracted one SD. I think this illustrates, one, that the Pirates are well within reach of being an 88 game-winner, and two, they are well within reach of being a 68 game winner.

This chart is pretty simple. I just took an average of each division’s expected win total. The Central divisions are polar opposites, as it looks like the AL Central is the weakest division in the league and the NL Central is the toughest division in the league.

Last year Vegas was wildly off of some teams, such as the Oakland Athletics and Baltimore Orioles. But, for the most part, I think they did an OK job at predicting where teams would land. The Pirates managed to outpace their win total by 9, and finished above .500 after being expected to finish well below that mark. The NL Central is a slaughterhouse. At 2.4 wins above the other two National League divisions, it will be very difficult to come away with a winning season. The playoffs should be the end goal, always, but out of the Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, and Pirates, which team do you expect to win the division?

FanGraphs posts playoff odds year nearly year round. Unfortunately, they aren’t live for the 2019 season yet, but the projected standings are. FanGraphs uses their Depth Charts projections which is a combination of ZiPS, Steamer, and the FanGraphs staff inputting different values to accurately reflect playing time expected per player. Since ZiPS projections aren’t fully live yet, we only have Steamer to go off of, thus FanGraphs only has projected standings based on Steamer.

As of this writing, FanGraphs has the Cubs and Cardinals winning 87 each, the Pirates winning 80, and the Brewers and Reds winning 79 each. That is about where Vegas has everyone, though it looks like Vegas is either overrating the Brewers or FanGraphs is underrating them.

Looking at the win total list from Caesers, a few of the totals pop out to me like the Braves, Astros, and White Sox.

I attached a Google Form so you can vote, and then discuss who you voted for and why in the comments. Let me hear your thoughts, unless you are going to tell me you are taking the Cardinals over 88.5. You can keep that to yourself.

Jake is a Pirates contributor to The Point of Pittsburgh. He is currently attending Saint Vincent College and is pursuing a degree in Finance. You might know him as @CannonballCrner on Twitter. Jake used to write for his own site, but now does all his writing at the Point of Pittsburgh. He is a big fan of the slider and wishes Chad Kuhl a speedy recovery.

2 Comments on Some Totally Legal Discussions On MLB 2019 Over/Unders

  1. Phillip C-137 // January 12, 2019 at 1:13 AM //

    Thanks for the article, although I think your view about gambling on sports always being better than not gambling on sports is wrong on so many levels -JMO. Moving on . . .

    Looking at the 2018 and 2019 Vegas Win Projections
    Cubs ———94.5——-89
    Cards ——–85.5——-88.5
    Brewers ——84.5——-83.5
    Pirates ——73———78.5
    Reds ———73.5——-77

    Vegas is setting the lines in accordance with how many see the Division. There’s the Cubs-LoveFest, followed by the Cards history and even though the Brewers won the Division in 2018 and has upgraded some positions Vegas has still placed them 3rd. Meanwhile the Pirates and Reds are seen as competing for 4th place in the Division.

    I think at least 3, and probably 4 of the teams will exceed their projections.

    PS With a calculated Standard Deviation of 10.09, couldn’t you have sacrificed a bit of precision and just rounded it off to 10?

  2. Got 75-1 on the Pirates winning the WS a couple of weekends ago in Laughlin.
    I think if I had waited I would have gotten better odds though.

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