How Many Games Will There Be in 2020 MLB Season? Over/Under Set at 105.5

2020 MLB season
MLB won't be playing any regular season games before May 11th at the earliest. Photo by Jared Vincent (Flickr).
  • You can bet on how many MLB games will be played by each team this year
  • MLB has postponed its season until at least May 11th. The last time fewer than 162 games were played was in 1995
  • What is the best bet for this prop?

MLB is going to play games this year, but how many and when the season starts is completely up in the air. Online sportsbooks have set the line at 105.5 games, which would make 2020 the shortest season since 1995.

How Many Regular Season Games Will Each MLB Team Play in 2020?

Total Odds at Bovada
Over 105.5 -120
Under 105.5 -120

Odds taken on March 20th.

The start of the 2020 season has already been pushed back twice due to the coronavirus pandemic, and earlier this week MLB announced it wont begin playing games until at least the week of May 11th.

A Prolonged Absence

What the world will look like in eight weeks is anyone’s guess, but it does seem unlikely that baseball, and the rest of the major North American Sports, will be playing games.

With so many people affected by COVID-19, it’s likely that social distancing remains in effect for quite some time, and that major social gatherings like sporting events are pushed back even further. Even if North America defies the odds and overcomes this pandemic by the start of summer, the question becomes how many games does MLB want to squeeze in before October?

How Long of a Season is Realistic?

In a normal season, MLB teams play 162 games over the course of roughly 190 days. That equates to 0.85 games per day for the length of the season. In order to maintain that pace and hit over 105.5 games for this prop, MLB would need to start regular season action by May 31st.

If let’s say they couldn’t start until June 15th, they’d need to play 0.96 games per day for the duration of the season in order to reach 106 games by October 1st. Doable, but there’s no way the union would agree to so few days off.

One suggestion has been to extend the regular season until mid-October, but that wouldn’t work for many East coast teams who likely can’t host playoff games into November due to weather. As a result, there has been talk of playing postseason games at neutral site stadiums, which could drastically affect the 2020 World Series odds, but good luck getting owners to agree to that after they’ve already sacrificed 35-40% of their home dates.

Under 105.5 Games is the Play

With so much uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, and so many experts predicting that social distancing will last for months, not weeks, it seems foolish to bet the over on this prop.

Baseball will return eventually, but players and their union, aren’t going to want games everyday. They’ll likely seek a similar games-vs-rest ratio to a normal season and there’s just no way MLB can squeeze in 106 games in a reduced timeframe.

We’ll likely be lucky to get half a season in and maybe that’s not such a bad thing for MLB. Each game would carry twice the amount of weight as it normally would, and the variance that a shortened season provides would bring a lot more teams into playoff contention.

Pick: Under 105.5 games (-120)

 

 

 

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