Of all the sports on which I enjoy betting, and there are many, the most tedious and possibly degenerate to bet in the form of individual, regular season games is baseball, where even the absolute worst teams win games about 40 percent of the time.
Therefore, my play in the world of baseball is the long play, season win total bets that keep me interested in certain teams throughout the season. It's like following a mutual fund, versus following a bunch of individual stocks on a daily basis. Season win total bets are less volatile. With that said, here are five for the 2019 MLB season that I really like.
Houston Astros OVER 96.5 wins
Let's start this close to home, where the Astros have won 102 and 103 games in the last two regular seasons, respectively. The 103 games they won last year were won with Jose Altuve missing a month with a knee injury and then playing with it the rest of the season (and postseason), and Carlos Correa playing the entire second half with some weird back injury. Replacing Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton won't be easy, but Collin McHugh, Wade Miley, and Brad Peacock should be fine, if healthy, in the three, four, and five spots, and the back end of the bullpen will have midseason pickups Ryan Pressly and Roberto Osuna all season. Also, the Astros are well positioned for a midseason deal, if Jeff Luhnow chooses to do so.
Arizona Diamondbacks OVER 75.5 wins
The Diamondbacks won 82 games last season, and I don't think that they will be better than that this coming season, but I do think their rotation is good enough to get into the high 70's in wins. If they can win their fair share of close games, I like them to hit this over pretty comfortably.
Baltimore Orioles UNDER 58.5 wins
I feel like in Houston, we should be able to sniff out a team who has no designs on winning any baseball games all season, since this is what we here all endured back from 2011 through 2013. The Orioles made no improvements to a team that won a paltry 47 games last season, and they will make no improvements during the season. It doesn't help matters that they play int he same division with the world champion Boson Red Sox, the likely 95 to 100 win New York Yankees, and a Tampa Bay Rays team that should approach 90 wins.
Los Angeles Dodgers OVER 93.5 wins
The analytics dorks (and I say that lovingly) will point out that The Dodgers' 92 wins in 2018 fell a record TEN wins short of their Pythagorean total (that's dork-speak for "number they SHOULD have won") of 102 wins. That's enough for me, but I also love adding in that, after a 16-28 start that was riddled with injuries, they went 76-42 (a 104 win pace) the rest of the way, and got to the World Series. I prefer to think THAT'S the team I'm betting on here.
Kansas City Royals UNDER 69.5 wins
Looking at the plight of the Kansas City Royals should make all of you Astros fans out there thankful for Jim Crane's willingness to open up his pocketbook. Four years ago, the Kansas City Royals were winning the World Series with a nucleus of young players whose ascents were all perfectly timed together. Unfortunately, for them, they couldn't afford to keep it together. (Fortunately, for us, Crane shelled out $166 million for Alex Bregman and Justin Verlander last week.) Actually, screw that, I have no sympathy for the Royals. They beat the Astros in the 2015 playoffs. UNDER. You suck, Royals. You really, really suck.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.