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BettorIQ’s MLB Betting Preview: Colorado Rockies

MLB

BettorIQ continues with its 2020 MLB betting previews. Over the course of the next few months, we will be breaking down all 30 teams from a betting perspective.

Colorado Rockies
2019 Record: 71-91
2019 Profits: -11.2 units
2020 Win Total: 73 (based on 162-game season)
2020 Odds to Win NL West: +4800
2020 Odds to Win NL Pennant: +13500
2020 Odds to Win World Series: +25000

Betting Positives: The Rockies have star power in third baseman Nolan Arenado and shortstop Trevor Story; two infielders in the middle of their prime that can be counted on to produce. And while outfielder Charlie Blackmon struggles defensively, he still carries a positive bat (125 wRC+ and 32 home runs). All signs point towards starter Jon Gray pitching at an ace-like level and coupled with 25-year-old German Marquez, who posted near identical peripherals to that of Gray, the Rockies have a solid 1-2 punch. The “Coors Factor” is also something bettors can bank on to a certain degree. Despite winning only 71 games, the Rockies were profitable (+4.4 units) at home. Correlated to that was a pitching staff that by design led MLB in ground ball rate at 46%.

Betting Negatives: Even with a few quality players, there’s little to suggest that this team will be improved from last season after a rather ho-hum offseason. The Rockies have a PECOTA projection of 76.6 wins, but will be faced with upping their win total from last season in an increasingly difficult division. The Dodgers figure to be one of the best teams in baseball again, the Padres’ terrific farm system is expected to finally pay dividends, and the Diamondbacks are in a solid position to remain competitive. It’s also not ideal that Arenado was none too happy to hear his name in various trade rumors this offseason. On the field, there’s a significant drop-off in talent beyond Arenado and Story. Arenado generated a WAR of 5.9 last season, while Story checked in at 5.8. After those two, the next closest was Blackmon (2.0 WAR) who is on the backside of his career. And can someone in the middle of the rotation step up and effectively chew up innings? They’re hoping Kyle Freeland can but the regression he endured last season was so severe (6.73 ERA) you wonder whether or not he’ll stick as a full-time starter. And in a shortened season where bullpens could be even more important, the lack of quality arms is alarming.

Handicapper’s Take: The Rockies aren’t that far removed from back-to-back seasons of 91 and 87 wins (+27.7 units combined). And after bottoming out in 2019, bettors won’t have to search hard to find decent betting value. The team’s home/road dichotomy remains strong but it’s also something oddsmakers are aware of. Despite being 136-108 over the last three years at Coors Field, the profits were a rather modest +9.6 units. Under normal circumstances (i.e. a full season), the Rockies would be prime candidates to at some point sell off some of their $150 million payroll. They still may go that route but a shortened season offers more potential to stick around in the standings.