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BettorIQ’s MLB Preview: New York Yankees

MLB

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 Yankees 
2019 Record: 103-59 
2019 Profits: +11.7 units 
2020 Win Total: 37.5 (based on 60-game season)
2020 Odds to Win AL East: -350
2020 Odds to Win AL Pennant: +225
2020 Odds to Win World Series: +425

Betting Positives: New York made the biggest splash of the offseason in acquiring starting pitcher Gerrit Cole via free agency. Cole posted video game-type numbers last season (2.50 ERA, 2.64 FIP) and now gives the Yankees the bonafide ace they’ve lacked in recent years. And when he’s not on the mound, the rest of the starting staff should have no problem finding run support. Last season the Yankees led MLB in runs scored, home runs, and finished 2nd in wRC+ and that was with Giancarlo Stanton playing in only 18 games, Aaron Judge missing 60 games, and Miguel Andujar making only 49 plate appearances. And the late start to the season only adds to the strength of the team as both Aaron Hicks and James Paxton are both expected to return from injuries. New York also has a deep and versatile bullpen that is likely to be unphased by the new three-batter minimum. It’s pegged to be the best relief corps in MLB. 

Betting Negatives: The Yankees suffered a big blow this offseason with the loss of starter Luis Severino. Severino was positioned to be second in command behind Cole. And Domingo German still has to serve a 63-game suspension (domestic violence) which will effectively wipe out the entire 2020 season. Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ, James Paxton, and Jordan Montgomery form a solid 2-5 but with Severino and German out, there’s less flexibility and more vulnerability in a postseason series. The Yanks also have a few players poised for regression. Gio Urshella turned in a career year last season as the defensive ace slashed .314/.355/.534. Mike Tauchman came from out of nowhere and produced a 2.6 WAR despite playing in only 87 games. And Brett Gardner somehow hit a career-best 28 home runs (previous was 21) but will turn 37 years old in August. The Yankees greatest opponent very well may be variance over such a short season. They were built for the long haul but must navigate what is essentially a sprint, all the while carrying some of the highest betting prices in MLB. 

Handicapper’s Take: It will be interesting to see how oddsmakers approach New York’s totals. In 2019, with an average total of 9.6, the Yankees finished 88-78-4 O/U but that was without and number of key bats for long stretches as well as the cold spring weather. Note that in the second half of last season New York slashed .271/.338/.520 with 157 home runs in only 74 games. There was a swatch during that span in which 23 of 30 games went OVER the total. With all the fanfare surrounding this year’s lineup, there could end up being value on the UNDER at times, especially with Cole and/or the stellar bullpen involved. In terms of moneyline prices, we’ve covered the current trend in MLB of “big chalk” making big dollars for bettors. But at some point, the ceiling will be reached. Last year’s average moneyline price checked in at a fairly reasonable -165 (to compare, the Astros’ was -210). Add Cole, a healthy lineup, and a team that prior to the season was lined at 101.5 wins, and the waters become a lot tougher to navigate.