One of the top gambling websites announced their odds for the 2012 Major League Baseball season today. What I am about to tell you is strictly for entertainment purposes only.
Last season, I was one of the few media members to go on the record predicting the Rays to be the AL Wild Card winners. Sure, there was an element of luck at he end of the season, but many forget that Evan Longoria missed a month of the season, and there was the entire Manny fiasco. The people out in Vegas had the Over/Under set at 84.5 wins in 2011. I said it at the time, it was a no brainer to bet the over. Having said that, I had the Rays pegged as a 90 win team, that given the right bounces, could pull off a surprise within the division. The rest is history.
This year, Vegas still isn’t sure what to make of the Rays. The gambling website Bovada has put out their numbers, and set the Over/Under on the number of Rays wins at 86.5. Not only that, but they listed the Rays at 9-1 to win the AL pennant, and 18-1 to win the World Series.
I would never tell someone what to do with their money, but consider this. The Rays won 91 games last season without Longo for a month, Manny for the year, Desmond Jennings in the minors much of the season, and some kid named Matt Moore was no where to be seen. Also consider that the Rays had an abnormally low batting average with runners in scoring position… almost thirty points below their season average. So based on the typical regression, the Rays should scored 50-60 more runs last season. The saber junkies say every 10 runs equals an additional win (very rough estimate), so the Rays should have added 5-6 wins just off regression. That puts last year’s team at 96-97 wins. With the full season additions of Jennings and Moore, along with the signings of Carlos Pena and Luke Scott, I think you know where I’m heading with this one.
Without going into greater detail, I would say there is at least a 90% likelihood the Rays top 86.5 wins this season. Take it to the bank.