BettorIQ’s MLB Betting Preview: Baltimore Orioles
Today marks the first of BettorIQ’s 2020 MLB betting previews. Over the course of the next few months, we will be breaking down all 30 teams from a betting perspective.
2019 Record: 54-108
2019 Profits: -18.5 units
2020 Win Total: 56.5 (based on 162-game season)
2020 Odds to Win AL East: +35000
2020 Odds to Win AL Pennant: +50000
2020 Odds to Win World Series: +100000
Betting Positives: It can’t get any worse, right? Sure, the Orioles are once again going to be one of if not the worst team in the league but as we’ve already seen, oddsmakers and the betting markets are starting to catch up — albeit, very slowly. In 2018, Baltimore lost an unprecedented -54 units. Last season, they managed to cut that by two-thirds despite improving by a modest seven games in the win-loss column. Opponents were tagged -300 or higher 20 times versus Baltimore in 2019. With three playoff contenders and Toronto slated to improve within the division we can expect that number to increase in 2020. This isn’t a team bettors can “ride” but assuming they win more than 33% of their games (original regular season win-total projected close to 35%) coupled with the growing underdog prices, bettors should leave the door open for discovering a small “bet on” profile and/or trend that does yield profits.
Betting Negatives: There’s no indication the team will be improved. And that’s really the key. When you have a situation where a team has bottomed out in the eyes of the market, all it takes is a small uptick in play to create opportunity. But in looking at the current roster, said uptick is going to be very difficult to accomplish. Jonathan Villar, the team’s top WAR producer (4.0) was traded to Miami. Trey Mancini hit 35 home runs and produced a solid 132 wRC+ but recently had a malignant tumor removed from his colon. It’s unclear whether or not he will play this season. In his first full season, starter John Means’ 3.60 ERA was promising but his 4.41 FIP and 5.48 xFIP suggest regression is coming. The rest of the starting staff is littered with below average arms. Asher Wojciechowski is a quintessential “4A” player. And at nearly 33 years old, it’s highly doubtful Alex Cobb ever returns to his pre-Tommy John surgery ways. The bullpen has a shot to improve but projecting even a league-average unit is a stretch.
Handicapper’s Take: As mentioned, bettors are going to see a lot of tempting underdog prices with this team. It probably doesn’t help however that with an abbreviated season, opposing teams will be less inclined to overlook a four-game set vs. the Orioles and rest key guys knowing a coveted sweep is there for the taking. Overall, I don’t see much in the way of “bet on” but I also think it’s important to be aware that much if not all of Baltimore’s shortcomings will be accounted for. One angle I would look for is UNDERS early on. The loss of Villar and potentially Mancini coupled with an ultra-young lineup and a slightly improved bullpen isn’t a bad recipe for some lower scoring games.