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Last year's MLB win total recommendations were a success, as we hit four in the American League, three in the National League, and three in our updated midseason totals (with the two duds missing by one win).
With totals for the 2020 season available, here are five teams you should bet on before the numbers move.
How is it that a team well past its window of contention is so tough to bet against? Despite being mostly irrelevant in the pennant race, the Pirates have gone over their win total in six of the last eight years.
Dan Szymborski of FanGraphs said it best last year when he was previewing the team: "Pittsburgh is excellent at finding just below-average to average talent for peanuts, and average or better talent for whatever is a little bit better than that. ... Having a roster full of free one-win players, two-win players who are paid like one-win players, and three-win players who are paid like two-win players means you have a highly efficient roster. But it's a highly efficient roster that will generally win between 77-85 games."
However, in 2020, I dare the Pirates to win more than 70 games with the
talent roster they'll trot out.
Their lineup lacks any sort of power outside of Josh Bell, and their defense was atrocious last season. Joe Musgrove and Chris Archer are fine atop the rotation, but Pittsburgh's going to go another year without Jameson Taillon.
The Pirates have been able to tread water with average rosters in the past. However, they're going to come down to earth this season in a breakneck NL Central.
I had nothing more than a gut feeling that Arizona would fly over its win total last season. Despite shipping out Paul Goldschmidt in the offseason and Zack Greinke at the deadline, the Diamondbacks did so with ease, winning 85 games and finishing second in the NL West.
You often have to pump the brakes on a team that sees a roughly 10-win move from one year to the next, but last year's number of 75.5 for Arizona, in hindsight, was awful, and the move is certainly warranted. The team boasts one of the most underrated lineups in all of baseball and it made some brilliant offseason moves, landing Madison Bumgarner in free agency and Starling Marte in a trade with Pittsburgh.
Every year, there are a couple of clubs the public falls in love with. The three heading into 2020, in my opinion, are the Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, and Diamondbacks. If there's one team that can be trusted to make a run, it's Arizona.
Remember when the Mariners started the 2019 season 13-2? Good times. Seattle finished with 68 wins and sees a very similar win total for 2020.
Outfielder Mitch Haniger just had his second surgery in three weeks, leaving Seattle rife with castoffs possessing few tools.
This team is essentially a bunch of Billy Hamiltons and a finesse pitching staff held together by scotch tape.
The Brewers were the luckiest team in the MLB in 2019 and perhaps that will come around to bite them. They scored the same amount of runs they allowed - giving them a Pythagorean record of 81-81 - and finished nine games over .500 in contests decided by one run.
Overall, this club is reminiscent of some of the Los Angeles Angels teams we've seen in years past: Milwaukee has one of the top five players in baseball in Christian Yelich, and then the drop-off in talent after that is pretty glaring. Due to a shoddy rotation and some key departures from last year's squad, I project the Brewers to be right around .500.
I can't find a silver lining with this Giants team. Outside of a midseason surge, San Francisco finished 2019 as a projected 71-win team with a whopping 38-16 record in one-run games. That's not sustainable.
The Giants' lineup is another year older, and not in a good way. Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, Hunter Pence, Buster Posey, and Evan Longoria would've been a solid lineup in 2013. Mike Yastrzemski might be San Francisco's best hitter and potentially the only 20-plus home run hitter on the roster in 2020.
Sharing a division with the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, and Diamondbacks will make wins hard to come by for the Giants this season.
Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 12 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AJKolodziej.