BettorIQ’s MLB Betting Preview: Texas Rangers
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.
2019 Record: 78-84
2019 Profits: +8.3 units
2020 Win Total: 79 (based on 162-game season)
2020 Odds to Win AL West: +2650
2020 Odds to Win AL Pennant: +4200
2020 Odds to Win World Series: +8000
Betting Positives: The Rangers had an encouraging season in 2019 under first-year manager, Chris Woodward. They exceeded last year’s regular season win total of 71 which resulted in a healthy +8.3 units of profit. Keep in mind, Texas sat 46-36 in late June before faltering down the stretch. Part of those late season issues centered around losing star hitter Joey Gallo in late July. Even in limited time, Gallo led the Rangers’ position players with 3.3 fWAR, a number that was 1.4 higher than any other than player. Gallo slashed .253/.389/.598 with a .401 wOBA and a 144 wRC+. The Rangers rounded out their depth this offseason in the field with the solid additions of veterans Robinson Chirinos, Todd Frazier, and Matt Duffy. Yet the biggest acquisition was that of Corey Kluber. Kluber will be joined by Kyle Gibson, by way of Minnesota, and returnees Lance Lynn and Mike Minor. It’s a solid group of arms that is projected to finish 6th in the MLB in WAR among starting pitching staffs.
Betting Negatives: Texas has a roster filled with players that could break either way this season. Lynn and Minor are prime regression candidate while the 34-year-old Kluber, normally a workhorse (5 straight 200+ IP seasons), is coming off a shortened season filled with injuries. And outside of Gallo, no other position player is projected to produce a WAR above 1.4. FanGraphs pegs the Rangers as the 27th ranked lineup. And last season’s 78 wins was a bit flukey. They outperformed their regular season averages both at the plate and on the mound when dealing with RISP. Added to their good fortune in high leverage spots, the Rangers finished +7 in 3rd Order Win% and BaseRuns and outperformed their Pythagorean Win/Loss record by three games.
Handicapper’s Take: The Rangers approached the offseason with the intention of competing, and followed through with the acquisitions of Kluber, Frazier, Gibson and other veterans. A shortened season will keep Texas motivated to compete from the outset, and with an improved pitching staff, it’s a favorable team to back at what should be valued prices. Only 15 times all of last season did bettors have to lay a price of -140 or greater when it came to the Rangers. While the chances of the Rangers getting to play home games in the foreseeable future are dwindling by the day, the Rangers pitchers would stand to benefit from a more pitcher-friendly home stadium this year. Soon to be open Globe Life Field offers a retractable roof to keep the warm weather outdoors, and will likely reverse the trend of Texas playing in one of the more hitter friendly parks in baseball. Last season, Rangers games went UNDER at a rate of 52.5% including 57.5% on the road. With an improved starting staff and a lack of quality bats in the lineup, should they get a chance to play in their home park, the UNDER should be on bettors’ radar.