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We’re just getting word that the 2020 Major League Baseball season might get started on July 1st. While that’s still just speculation, both ESPN and The Athletic have reported this as a possible date in the last 24 hours, which means there is some credence to these rumors.
With the season likely being shortened, various win total props are going to have to change. Instead of regular-season win totals, sportsbooks in New Jersey have been posting regular-season winning percentages. It’s the same idea but since we don’t know how many games will be played in the regular season, this is another way of posting the same type of betting line.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at three teams from the National League that might offer value with this prop.
Regular Season Winning Percentage: .450
The Colorado Rockies had an amazing 2018 season in which they made the playoffs. Then they crashed and burned in 2019, going 71-91 for a .438 winning percentage. The Rockies probably weren’t as good as they seemed to be in 2018, and they probably weren’t as bad as they were last year.
The 2020 NL West should be extremely competitive; that’s the bad news for the Rockies. The good news is that it will be hard for them to be as bad as they were in 2019. Kyle Freeland, Jon Gray, German Marquez, and Antonio Senzatela are promising young arms who should be able to contain opposing hitters in the home-run launching pad which is Coors Field. They were 20th in Team ERA in 2018 and 17th in WHIP. In 2019, they were second-last in ERA and dead-last in WHIP.
Even with such a disastrous drop in pitching, they still hit a .438 winning percentage. If they can split the difference from 2018 to 2019, they should be in the vicinity of being a .500 team.
With Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, Charlie Blackmon, and Ian Desmond in the batting order, Colorado should be able to score runs at a reasonable rate. The Rockies seem to be undervalued.
New York Mets
Regular Season Winning Percentage: .535
The Mets have to confront the fact that No. 2 starter Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to complement Jacob deGrom in the rotation this season, is out for the year, having had Tommy John surgery. That is a killer for the Mets, who gained starters Rick Porcello in the offseason and Marcus Stroman at last year’s trade deadline but were counting on Syndergaard to be a central innings-eater.
The starting rotation was seventh in team ERA last season and went from having Stroman as the No. 4 pitcher – maybe one of the best No. 4’s in baseball – to moving up to No. 2. That’s because the team also lost Zach Wheeler to the Philadelphia Phillies. That means Porcello and Michael Wacha are at the back of the rotation, which takes this from being a team strength to being a sizable weakness.
In the bullpen, the Mets got reliever Dellin Betances from the New York Yankees. Some promising pitching resources exist, but unless Edwin Diaz bounces back from a nightmare of a 2019 season in which he blew a large number of saves, the bullpen probably won’t work out.
This team could be formidable but so many players exist in uncertain situations. Can Pete Alonso club 53 home runs again? What is the team going to get out of Yoenis Cespedes? What impact will new manager Luis Rojas have on the team? No one knows how this team will come together. When in doubt, go with the under.
Regular Season Winning Percentage: .510
The Brewers were a .500 team through most of last season but they came alive in September to finish 89-73, or .549. The Brewers could be slightly worse than last season and still finish over .510. They were 48-47 on July 15th but then finished 41-26 in their final 67 games.
A lot of people are bearish on this team because they’ve had a lot of turnover. Almost half of the roster has been turned over and it’s always tricky to make that work. However, we’re basically looking for .500 here, which I think is doable.
They still have Christian Yelich, which should help them to remain in the hunt in the NL Central. They still have Lorenzo Cain’s outfield defense, and they still have Josh Hader in the bullpen. A lot of their young pitching wasn’t uber reliable last year but that should change. Guys like Corbin Burnes, Brett Anderson, and Freddy Peralta should be better and guys like Adrian Houser should continue to develop. That should put the Brewers above .510 in the NL Central.