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BettorIQ’s MLB Preview: New York Mets


BettorIQ continues with its 2020 MLB betting previews. We will be breaking down all 30 teams from a betting perspective leading up to the start of the season.

New York Mets 
2019 Record: 86-76 
2019 Profits: -3.0 units 
2020 Win Total: 31.5
2020 Odds to Win NL East: +295  
2020 Odds to Win NL Pennant: +850
2020 Odds to Win World Series: +2000

Betting Positives: It’s arguably the best lineup in the National League not named the Dodgers. Anchored by a core of Pete Alonso, J.D. Davis, Michael Conforto, Amed Rosario and Jeff McNeil, the Mets ranked 2nd in the NL in wRC+ last season and could be even stronger with Brandon Nimmo (.375 OBP in 69 games in 2019) and Yoenis Céspedes healthy and left-handed Dominic Smith, who batted .282/.355/.525 with 11 homers in 89 games. Assuming Céspedes can remain relatively healthy, the Mets stand to really reap the benefits of this season’s universal DH rule. The lineup also features a lot of flexibility with six left-handed bats and a switch hitter. That should bode well considering 16 of the NL East’s 20 projected starting pitchers are right-handed. Another positive is that the bullpen is projected 2nd in FIP and 4th in WAR; an area that will be of great value in a shortened season.The Mets were largely an afterthought due to a slow start, Atlanta’s breakout campaign, and Washington’s World Series run. But over the last 72 games of 2019, few were better as the team went 46-26.

Betting Negatives: Noah Syndergaard will miss the entire 2020 season and perhaps the start of next year due to injury. And fellow starter Zack Wheeler left for division rival Philadelphia. That leaves a once stout rotation in limbo. Jacob deGrom is no question an ace, but his value is diminished with so few opportunities to start this year. Syndergaard, Wheeler, and deGrom not only were very effective (3.54 ERA combined) but they accounted for over 40% of the team’s innings. They’ll try to plug those holes with veterans Rick Porcello, Marcus Stroman, and Michael Wacha — three viable yet league average right-handed arms. Depth-wise, New York can ill-afford any significant injuries as the roster is currently very top heavy. The organization’s best minor league prospects reside at Double-A or below, leaving the team a bit behind should the need for reinforcements arise in such an unusual season. And with the starting rotation now projected to miss far less bats with the loss of Wheeler and Syndergaard, a suspect defense (24th in UZR in 2019) figures to be exposed even more. Lastly, first-year manager Luis Rojas is largely unknown. While most would consider the separation from Mickey Callaway to be a positive, Rojas will have to be monitored closely in how he approaches his first year and the season’s unique format. 

Handicapper’s Take: Like a lot of East Coast teams this season, schedule figures to play a big role in determining who contends. The Mets’ first 13 games, which is nearly a quarter of their season, features series against the Braves (twice), Red Sox, and Nationals. With the exception of the Marlins and Orioles, every opponent is projected to be at worst competitive. There does however appear to be some money-making potential. Heading into the season, expectations are there but moderate. deGrom will no doubt be well accounted for in the markets but the remainder of the starting staff doesn’t scream -200 price tags. The offense alone will help produce some high-scoring victories and the bullpen has the arms to keep lineups in check in the late innings.