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BettorIQ’s MLB Betting Preview: Seattle Mariners

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.

Seattle Mariners
2019 Record: 68-94
2019 Profits: -16.0 units
2020 Win Total: 67.5 (based on 162-game season)
2020 Odds to Win AL West: +25000
2020 Odds to Win AL Pennant: +37500
2020 Odds to Win World Series: +75000

Betting Positives: A healthier season by a few key pieces would by default put the Mariners in a position to improve. All-Start outfielder Mitch Haniger played in only 63 games last season while starting shortstop J.P. Crawford played in 93. Crawford came up as a highly regarded prospect and at only 25 years old has a chance to get his career back on track. Haniger could ready for opening day after undergoing surgery to repair a sports hernia. Marco Gonzales managed to eat up 203 innings last year with a 3.99 ERA though his peripherals suggest he was a tad fortunate. Still, he offers value as a reliable left-handed arm. Seattle made an under-the-radar acquisition of Taijuan Walker who has been hampered by injuries for much of his career. When healthy, Walker has performed at a slightly above league average level (157.1 IP, 3.49 ERA in 2017). Like Walker, Kendall Graveman has talent but can’t seem to stay healthy. At his best, he’s a ground ball specialist with a low 4.00 ERA. Perhaps the biggest positive for Seattle is addition by subtraction. Last season, the defense ranked 28th according to FanGraphs’ overall defensive metric but this offseason the team parted ways with Domingo Santana (-17 defensive runs saved) and Omar Narvaez (-20 DRS). Without many swing-and-miss arms in the rotation, even a league average defense would go a long ways. 

Betting Negatives: The Mariners came back to earth after their fluky 89-win season in 2017 (Pythagorean W-L was 77 wins). Even with a remarkable 13-2 start to the season regression hit this team extremely hard. Seattle finished with 68 wins as they went 55-92 over their final 147 games. This year is one of the more obvious rebuilding jobs in MLB. The current roster team is devoid of young talent, there’s limited power, the starting rotation doesn’t feature an upper-tier arm, and the bullpen is mediocre at best. The lineup features only four players with a wOBA projection of .300 or higher which is why per FanGraphs the offense ranks 26th. In a shortened season where bullpen quality will be of greater importance, the Mariners own a preseason rank of 28th with no clear option at closer 

Handicapper’s Take: While it can be difficult to put trust in a team that was projected to win just 67 games over a 162-game season, the Mariners do provide a bit of betting upside. Last year’s squad was one of the best OVER bets in the league at 88-64-9 O/U (57.9%). But take away the plus power and defensive deficiencies of Santana and Narvaez and there’s a good chance Seattle trends UNDER the total in 2020. Another area of value could prove to be the five inning market. With a shaky bullpen and little to no upside in the eyes of oddsmakers, bettors should be able to latch on to some decent plus-prices while eliminating any late inning miscues.