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BettorIQ’s MLB Betting Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks

MLB

BettorIQ continues with its 2020 MLB betting previews. Throughout the spring, we will be breaking down all 30 teams from a betting perspective.

Arizona Diamondbacks 
2019 Record: 85-77 
2019 Profits: +10.2 units 
2020 Win Total: 83 (based on 162-game season)
2020 Odds to Win NL West: +1200
2020 Odds to Win NL Pennant: +3000
2020 Odds to Win World Series: +5000 

Betting Positives: Arizona surprised many last season by winning 85 games, finishing well above its projected season win total of 75.5. The result was a profit of +10.2 units. This season, expectations are slightly higher but the Diamondbacks appear positioned to contend for a postseason berth thanks to two major acquisitions in starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner and Starling Marte. Bumgarner is still only 29 years old and remains a reliable arm that logged over 200 IP and started 34 games last season with an ERA of 3.90 and a WHIP of 1.12. Bumgarner will join a staff that includes Robbie Ray, Mike Leake, Zac Gallen and Luke Weaver. Gallen and Weaver, who are just 24 and 26 years old, respectively, hold plenty of promiseThe pitching staff will be helped by a defense that finished 2019 ranked 2nd in runs saved. Marte adds another quality everyday player as he projects to have the 2nd-best WAR on the team. Given the uncertainty of the coming year, the Diamondbacks are in line to benefit from the proposed league-wide designated hitter rule. First baseman Christian Walker and Jake Lamb now both have a place in the lineup. Walker had a solid season, slashing .259/.348/.476 with 29 home runs and 73 RBI. Lamb offers balance as a left-handed bat and is finally healthy again after two injury-riddled seasons. 

Betting Negatives: Under a format that could result in an 82-game season with additional doubleheaders lasting seven innings, the Diamondbacks’ bullpen grades out as a weakness relative to other parts of the team. Without a proper spring training, the Diamondbacks will face difficulty in stretching out the arms of their starting staff, likely resulting in greater dependence of their relief crops. Andrew Chafin and Archie Bradley are quality arms but questions exist beyond those two. There’s also the question of sustainability within the offense. Starling Marte (31), Eduardo Escobar (31), and Walker (29) are all coming off of arguably their best seasons as pros. None of the three scream regression but they also appear to have reached their ceiling. Ketel Marte enjoyed one of MLB’s biggest year-to-year jumps in WAR. He’s a budding star but duplicating last year’s MLB-caliber season will be very difficult. There’s also the issue of splits. The Diamondbacks ranked 5th in wRC+ vs. lefties but posted some of MLB’s weakest numbers vs. righties. If the league’s modified schedule features a higher ratio of National League/division games, it could end up hurting Arizona. Last season’s success was largely predicated on a 14-6 interleague record. Against the NL, they were 71-71. Colorado, San Diego, and San Francisco project to have 11 right-handed starters. The Dodgers are southpaw heavy but obviously hold of significant offense edge over the Diamondbacks. 

Handicapper’s Take: The Diamondbacks have shown to be a profitable team during the three-year tenure of general manager Mike Hazen and manager Torey Lovullo. Under Lovullo’s watch, Arizona has profited an average of +6.2 units per season. Last year may have surprised some but in reality, they underachieved. Arizona had a run differential of +53 before the All-Star Break but went 46-45 during that span. This really aided in the team holding its betting value as they we favored in only 72 of 162 games (44%). That value should remain. If you were to draw up a blueprint of a bet on profile it would look a lot like Arizona. The organization’s infrastructure is very sound and there’s a lot of under-the-radar talent peaking at the right time. And within the National League West, the Diamondbacks continue to operate under the guise of a scrappy, small market team overshadowed by the World Series favorite Los Angeles Dodgers.