- Houston Astros’ over/under win total drops to 93.5 after opening at 96.5 back in January
- Defending American League champions went 107-55 in 2019 before losing the World Series in seven games to the Washington Nationals
- Read below to find out how you should be betting this win total
It’s all change in Houston for the 2020 Major League Baseball season. Gone are general manager Jeff Luhnow, manager AJ Hinch and flame-throwing right-hander Gerrit Cole, who led the majors with 326 strikeouts last year.
Replacing them will be new GM James Click, a young executive from the Rays organization, seasoned skipper Dusty Baker, who could never quite get the job done in San Francisco, Chicago, Cincinnati or Washington, and Lance McCullers Jr., who was already with the Astros but missed all of 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
It’s largely the impact of those three losses, plus the improvement of other American League West franchises, that has seen bookmakers downgrade the defending AL champions from 96.5 regular-season wins two weeks ago to 93.5 now in their 2020 MLB win totals. And this for a team that won 107 games a year ago.
2020 AL Win Total Over/Under
|Team||Regular-season Win Total||Over||Under|
|Boston Red Sox||85.5||-130||+100|
|Chicago White Sox||84.5||-115||-115|
|Kansas City Royals||55.5||-115||-115|
|Los Angeles Angels||85.5||-115||-115|
|New York Yankees||101.5||-115||-115|
|Tampa Bay Rays||90.5||-115||-115|
|Toronto Blue Jays||75.5||-115||-115|
Odds taken on February 8th
Does Houston Really Have a Problem?
Outside of the widely condemned sign-stealing scandal, which has left both the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers feeling cheated out of at least one championship, the on-field playing staff for the Astros is much the same as it’s been the last three years. During that period, Houston won the AL West each year while averaging just over 103.5 wins per season.
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) January 31, 2020
So is it something of an overreaction to downgrade the team to 93.5 wins, or were players like Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman really that reliant on the banging of a trash can to earn their hits at Minute Maid Park?
Despite the departure of Cole, who led the AL with a 2.50 earned-run average, the Astros benefited from a Cy Young season from right-hander Justin Verlander, as well as a rookie-of-the-year campaign from designated hitter Yordan Alvarez, who will likely only get better after putting up 27 home runs and 78 runs batted in in just 87 games.
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) September 10, 2019
The core four of Carlos Correa, George Springer, Bregman and Altuve are all back, so the potential for approaching or even surpassing the 920 runs scored in 2019 – good for third overall in the majors – is there.
#FantasyBaseball Spotlight:#Astros 3B Alex Bregman
– Age 26 season
– 2019 AL Walk leader*
– 72 HR, 115 RBI combined last 2 seasons*
– 2019 career best*
– Durable: At least 155 games played each of last 3 seasons pic.twitter.com/28BJ3ygCJo
— Corner Sports (@CornerSportsFS) February 6, 2020
While Cole’s 20 wins will be hard to replace, the Astros will benefit from a full season of Zack Greinke, who went 8-1 following his trade from Arizona, as well as seeing a healthy McCullers back on the mound. Before injuring his pitching elbow, McCullers went 10-6 in 2018. And with team defense giving up an AL-low 640 runs, giving the offense a chance to win games shouldn’t be an issue.
Wild West Up for Grabs?
While the three-time defending division champs will have designs on making it four, the rest of the division hasn’t been sitting idly by. Both the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers have made moves this off-season to improve their outlook for 2020.
The Angels made one of the biggest splashes of the winter, signing Anthony Rendon to a huge deal, as well as bringing in World Series-winning manager Joe Maddon and trading for Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson. The Angels, who went 72-90 last year, will also benefit from a fully healthy Shohei Ohtani, as well as young outfielder Jo Adell, so their 85.5 win total may not be that far fetched.
• .319 average
• 34 HRs
• 126 RBIs
• 44 2Bs
(And a #WorldSeries title.)
Congrats to Anthony Rendon in his 2019 Silver Slugger Award!
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) November 8, 2019
Meanwhile, the Rangers have brought two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber aboard, and he will combine with Mike Minor and Lance Lynn in what should be one of the best rotations in the AL. In addition, getting a full season out of all-star Joey Gallo will also help the offense, which put up a respectable 810 runs in 2019.
Houston Still the Team to Beat
Even with the turnover though, the Astros remain the class of the AL West and should be contending for the AL pennant once again. Dusty Baker is no stranger to regular-season success either – his Achilles’ heel has been getting the job done in the postseason – so even a new leader in the dugout should do little to prevent this squad getting over 93.5 wins in 2020.
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