Over the past couple of years, Major League Baseball teams have gotten smarter about how they rebuild, tearing things down entirely without any regard for staying "competitive." The sport has been moving toward a stratification in team quality, whereupon there are several truly amazing teams and several truly awful teams.
Those truly amazing teams are, of course, well-known, and so little edge exists in the betting market for them. When you look a step lower, though, there are a couple of teams pushing up much closer to this top tier than Vegas expects and offering plenty of edge as a result of this stratification.
In looking over where my projection system, THE BAT, differs from Vegas most, the biggest theme seems to be strength of schedule. When the Houston Astros moved to the American League in 2013, MLB changed the way it does interleague play, with divisions in each league squaring off. This season, there's one very strong division matched up with a one very weak division in particular, conveying a ton of value for nearly all teams involved.
Below, I go through season win totals for all 30 MLB teams and see where the value lies compared to my projections. There is a full table with all of my recommendations at the bottom of the piece.
Note: All season win totals courtesy of Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, as of March 21.
Vegas season win total: 94.5
THE BAT projection: 97.4
Value: Moderate, over (+2.9 wins)
Should you want to place a bet on that top tier of elite teams, the Yankees are one of your strongest options. They played this offseason perfectly and have put together an offense that projects to break the single-season team home run record of 264 set by the Seattle Mariners in 1997.
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