Baseball betting’s in the air: Time to pore over team season-win totals

Photo: Patrick Semansky

A small flurry of activity at the betting windows ensued when the LVH sports book became the first joint in Las Vegas to post 2012 major league baseball team season-win totals last month. After baseball bettors took early positions on the opening numbers, prompting a few quick adjustments on the totals attached to a handful of teams, the lines on several other teams moved more gradually throughout the next several weeks. Here’s a look at the moves driven by that more recent action:

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The New York Mets opened at 70.5 victories and have been bet up to 72. The skinny: As a play on his last name, two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana adopted the song “Smooth,” by the band Santana, as his introductory music before he takes the mound. Perhaps it should be “Hope You’re Feeling Better,” from the album Abraxas, instead. Santana is attempting to come back from surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder, which kept him on the sidelines for the 2011 season. Santana is expected to be named New York’s Opening Day starter, but has looked shaky in his spring training outings. With the uncertainty surrounding Santana and the fact that the Mets are in heavy rebuilding mode, I don’t expect their season-win total to continue to rise.

The Milwaukee Brewers opened at 83.5 victories and have been bet up to 85.5. The skinny: Reigning MVP Ryan Braun’s 50-game suspension was overturned just after season-win totals were posted in Las Vegas, but bettors stayed bullish on the Brewers even after the news had time to sink in. Early this week, for instance, Milwaukee’s total was adjusted upward again, from 85 to 85.5 wins. A deep starting rotation anchored by Zack Greinke and Yovani Gallardo is behind the unfaltering optimism.

The Toronto Blue Jays opened at 80 victories and have been bet up to 81.5. The skinny: It’s appropriate the upward tick in Toronto’s total has stayed largely under the radar. It’s likely based on the perception that a series of savvy draft picks and trades orchestrated by general manager Alex Anthopolous, an executive from the Moneyball mold, could pay dividends this season.

As always, bettors have the option of wagering either over or under the posted victory total on each team, risking $1.10 for each $1 they’re trying to win.


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