During the typical MLB season, if a team wins just 40, 45, or 50 games, they had an incredibly bad year—because then they lost over 100. However, this season, with the schedule being just 60 games, having such a win total will be what every team aims for.
But is it realistic to expect a team to hit one of those marks?
According to the odds posted at PointsBet.com, their oddsmakers seem confident someone will win 40 games and think someone could win 45. But they are not backing anyone getting to 50:
- Any Team To Win 40+ Games -371
- Any Team To Win 45+ Games +650
- Any Team To Win 50+ Games +30000
At BetRivers.com, there doesn’t seem to be much confidence in anyone hitting the 45 or 50-win mark:
- Any team to win 45 or more games
- Yes +2500
- Any team to win 50 or more games
- Yes +8000
Before figuring out how you want to bet, it is important to put expectations for a 60-game schedule in perspective. The usual benchmark for excellence in a 162-game season is 100 wins, which would equate to roughly 61 percent of the season. Four of the six division winners hit that mark last season.
For this season, that percentage equates to just 37 games. A 40- win season would require a team to win 66.67 percent of their games. Compared to a 162-game season that would be 108 wins, a mark only reached three times dating back to 1977.
That makes it seem like just winning 40 is highly unlikely. It doesn’t help that no team has a win total set that high. So, does that mean you should pass on these?
While it is important to keep things in perspective and see the big picture, it is also important to remember how small the window is. Throughout 162-game season streaks eventually even out, and the best overall teams are left standing. But when you look at things in the context of just 60 games, the possibilities open up.
Last year’s World Series winner, the Washington Nationals would not have made the playoffs after 60 games.
So—how should you bet?
It is entirely possible someone wins 40+ games this season. Since 2000, every team but two has done so at least once. Many teams had 60 game stretches where they won 40+ last season, but only three did so inside the first 60 games (Dodgers—41-19; Astros and Twins—40-20).
Of those three, the Dodgers are the best bet to win 40. Houston and Minnesota have a good chance, and the Yankees shouldn’t be counted out despite their failure to do it last year. Since you only need one team to hit that mark, this bet is safe to take.
However, when it comes to 45 or 50 games, the odds are not good. Several teams have won 45+ games during a 60-game stretch since 2000 and during team history. But the Dodgers, Cubs, and Giants are the only teams ever to win 50+; Los Angeles is the only one to do so in the modern era (2017).
As for the 45 or 50 marks, the potential payout at BetRivers is worth risking a small sum on 45+. Do the same for 50+ at PointsBet. Chances are neither will happen, but it is not hard to see the Dodgers hit either mark if they get off to a fast start.
But since both are longshots, don’t risk too much.