Heading into spring training, the Nationals are the best team in baseball; the Orioles have no shot in the A.L. East, and the Astros have a chance to lose 110 games.
That’s according to baseball odds specialist Steve Mikkelson, sports book director at the Atlantis Casino in Reno, and the man in charge of the first MLB season win totals on the market.
On Wednesday morning, Mikkelson opened the Nationals, Dodgers and Tigers each at 90 wins, the most in baseball.
Last season, four teams — the Tigers, Phillies, Rangers and Yankees — were all expected to win more than 90 games.
“I think there’s a little more parity in baseball,” said Mikkelson. “Look at the A.L. East. That was probably the hardest division for me to sit down and do the numbers for. That’s a division that I think every team, except the Orioles, can win. And I think every team except the Blue Jays can finish last in that division.”
Speaking of finishing last, the Astros, who move into the loaded A.L. West, opened at a measly 59.5 wins. That’s the lowest season win total Mikkelson ever remembers setting.
“And the sad part is, I think I’m too high on them,” he said with a chuckle. “I really do.”
The Miami Marlins aren’t too far ahead of the Astros. The Marlins win total opened at 64.5, 18 games less
than what Mikkelson opened the Marlins at last February.
The Philadelphia Phillies also have seen their expectations fall sharply. After being picked to win an MLB-high 95.5 games last season, the Phillies’ win total opened at 81.5 for this season.
The Nationals won 98 games and had the best record in baseball last season. Their win total improved the most from last season to this, up 8.5 games from Mikkelson’s opening number last season.
“I think I’m low on the Nationals,” he said. “I think they’re the best team in baseball.”
This is the seventh consecutive season Mikkelson has been first up with win totals in Nevada. He has posted a profit off his win totals each season.
“Last year, though, was as small of a profit as we’ve had,” he said.
Limits are $500, and the numbers will move sometimes significantly as other sports books began posting win totals.
The LVH Super Book is expected to post its baseball season win totals Sunday.
2013 MLB season win totals (courtesy Atlantis Casino, in Reno, Nev.)
Arizona Diamondbacks 81.5 (-120o)
Atlanta Braves 86
Baltimore Orioles 76.5
Boston Red Sox 79.5 (-120o)
Chicago Cubs 72
Chicago White Sox 80.5
Cincinnati Reds 88.5
Cleveland Indians 77.5 (-120o)
Colorado Rockies 71.5
Detroit Tigers 90
Houston Astros 59.5 (-120o)
Kansas City Royals 79
Los Angeles Angels 89.5 (-120o)
Los Angeles Dodgers 90
Miami Marlins 64.5 (-120u)
Milwaukee Brewers 79.5
Minnesota Twins 64.5
New York Mets 74 (-120u)
New York Yankees 86.5 (-120u)
Oakland Athletics 83 (-120u)
Philadelphia Phillies 81.5
Pittsburgh Pirates 79
San Diego Padres 74.5
San Francisco Giants 86
Seattle Mariners 76.5
St. Louis Cardinals 85.5
Tampa Bay Rays 86
Texas Rangers 87
Toronto Blue Jays 86.5
Washington Nationals 90