These are the five American League teams in Major League Baseball that I see as most likely to go over their projected betting odds win totals for 2019 – don’t be afraid to take teams with fat win projections.
New York Yankees (O/U 96.5 wins)
The Yankees are stacked offensively with seven guys capable of hitting 30+ home runs – including Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Miguel Andujar and Gleybar Torres. But, pitching should make 100 wins the low-end expectation. Although Luis Severino and C.C. Sabathia aren’t going to be on the opening day roster, having James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka and J.A. Happ good to go until they’re ready is awesome. As long as Aroldis Chapman stays healthy, he’ll close out 40-50 games with saves. 96½ wins are a lot, but not for this Yankees squad.
Boston Red Sox (O/U 94.5)
The champs won 108 games last season without Dustin Pedroia. He’s back (but diminishing) and joins MVP Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts and Andrew Benitendi to give the Sox a dominant top of the lineup with role players filling out the bottom half. What gives Boston a realistic shot at 100 wins again is the rotation of Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez and Nathan Eovaldi. All are capable of stopping a losing skid with a dominant start and stringing together wins. The only concern is at closer, where Craig Kimbrell needs to be replaced. The best news is that the Red Sox will buy outside talent in-season if needed to get to 100 wins.
Minnesota Twins (O/U 84.5)
The Twins are far from dominant, but a fledgling front office flexed its free agency muscle with Joe Mauer’s contract off the books. Minnesota added offensive firepower in Nelson Cruz, C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop to augment in-house talent Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano (currently injured), Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco. The Twins have a decent starting staff headed up by Jose Berrios. A big question is whether Michael Pineda can be a full-time starter and Trevor May can regain his form as Minnesota’s closer.
The prime reason to take the over is that Minnesota plays 57 games against the Royals, Tigers and White Sox – all projected to lose 90 games – including 26 of their final 38 games.
Los Angeles Angels (O/U 82.5)
The Angels have won 80 games each of the last two seasons, which explains their number. The mammoth contract given Mike Trout is a sign of the commitment to the present and future. Shohei Ohtani won’t pitch this year, but can still hit and the addition of Jonathan Lucroy improves the catcher position to go with power from Justin Upton and Albert Pujols.
The Angels have a decent rotation, but have the luxury of having top prospects Jose Suarez and Griffin Canning ready to come up to the rotation if/when needed, insurance for a team that only needs to be a game over .500 to cover.
Cleveland Indians (O/U 90.5)
The Indians have topped their 2019 number the last three years. Some are concerned about ownership shedding some big contracts, but Cleveland still has Francisco Lindor (when he returns) and Jose Ramirez as legitimate MVP candidates and a solid supporting cast.
Why we’re bullish on betting the over is the rotation of Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, Mike Clevinger and Shane Bieber. They’re all righties, but they’re the best 1-5 rotation in baseball and that avoids losing streaks and lends itself to winning streaks…as does getting 57 games against Detroit, Chicago and Kansas City.