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One of my favorite bets to make is an over or under for a team’s total wins.  For those who do not know, casinos will set a number for the total amount of regular season wins for each Major League team.  You can then bet whether a team will go over or under that total.  If you truly believe a team is better or worse than expected, you can make some money while rooting for a bet all season.  Granted, this type of bet is risky due to injury and all the other unknowns that factor into a whole season.  But it gives you written proof in case you ever want to tell your friends “I told you so”.

I first heard about these bets years ago on the Mike and the Mad Dog radio show.  Since I am a life long Mike Francesa fan, who has an accent where R’s go to die, we will rename this column Ovahs and Undahs in his honor.

Below are my picks.  My five “best bets” are in bold and explained below the table.

Team Over/Under My Pick
Arizona Diamondbacks 80.5 Undah
Atlanta Braves 87.5 Undah
Baltimore Orioles 80.5 Undah
Boston Red Sox 87.5 Ovah
Chicago Cubs 69.5 Ovah
Chicago White Sox 75.5 Undah
Cincinnati Reds 84.5 Ovah
Cleveland Indians 80.5 Ovah
Colorado Rockies 76.5 Undah
Detroit Tigers 89.5 Undah
Houston Astros 62.5 Ovah
Kansas City Royals 82.5 Ovah
Los Angeles Angels 86.5 Ovah
Los Angeles Dodgers 92.5 Undah
Miami Marlins 69.5 Ovah
Milwaukee Brewers 79.5 Ovah
Minnesota Twins 70.5 Ovah
New York Mets 73.5 Ovah
New York Yankees 86.5 Ovah
Oakland Athletics 88.5 Undah
Philadelphia Phillies 76.5 Undah
Pittsburgh Pirates 83.5 Ovah
San Diego Padres 78.5 Undah
San Francisco Giants 86.5 Ovah
Seattle Mariners 81.5 Undah
St. Louis Cardinals 90.5 Ovah
Tampa Bay Rays 88.5 Ovah
Texas Rangers 86.5 Undah
Toronto Blue Jays 80.5 Ovah
Washington Nationals 88.5 Ovah

Best Bets:

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Atlanta Braves Undah 87.5: A month ago, I probably would have chosen the Braves to slightly outperform their number.  However, in the last month the Braves pitching has been decimated by serious injury.  To overcome this, the replacement pitching will have to be better than expected, the bullpen will have to stay healthy, and the offense will have to carry this team.  That’s a lot to ask for on a team where there are not many legit superstars (even though there are a few potential breakouts on the team).  Sometimes things go bad in Spring Training and can spiral a team out of control.  Unfortunately, this is what I see happening in A-T-L.

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New York Mets: Ovah 73.5: First of all, I will admit my allegiance as a life-long Mets fan before I get into this pick.  A few weeks ago, Sandy Alderson was quoted as saying the Mets could win 90 games this year.  While I do not think this is a likely scenario, it is not actually impossible.  The Mets have some of the best young pitching in baseball while also having what appears to be a below-average lineup.  However, if a few players play up to their previous levels, this lineup can potentially be average (or *gasp* above-average).  No one predicted the 2012 Athletics or 2013 Red Sox to win nearly as many games as they did, since it meant investing a lot of faith in middling players.  Again, while I don’t think the Mets WILL win 90 games, their good, young pitching will keep them in many games and may allow them to make a move or two for a much-needed bat if the Baseball Gods place one on the market.  All this leads me to believe that the Mets will clear the 74 win mark pretty easily.

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Oakland Athletics: Undah 88.5: Ahhh the Moneyballers, themselves.  It always seems like the A’s are able to compete using smoke, mirrors, and under-utilized assets.  However, I think that the rash of injuries that has hit their pitching staff already will be too much to overcome with the typical bumps and bruises of a 162 game schedule.  In a division where the Rangers and Angels are always competing, I see the Athletics having a bumpy road this season.

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Tampa Bay Rays: Ovah 88.5: Seemingly for years, the Rays outperform everyone’s expectations and then use the Men In Black Flashy Thing to make those same people forget just how good the Rays really were.  Evan Longoria, Wil Myers, and a cast of Sabermetrically sound players will lead the offensive charge while the Tampa’s pitching is deep, so deep, so deep it’ll put the other AL East bats to sleep.  Not only do I think Tampa Bay will win 90+ games, but I also think they will win the World Series.

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Washington Nationals: Ovah 88.5: Last year’s Nationals season was almost as disappointing as the final season of Dexter.  While Showtime ended Dexter, Major League Baseball has decided to give the Nats another chance at redemption.  What the team may lack in postseason experience, they more than make up for in talent.  The already deep pitching staff acquired Doug Fister in the offseason, and while I am a little skeptical over a deal that has been so wildly heralded as a win for the Nationals, it is real hard not to get excited about the potential of this team.  Anthony Rendon has a chance to make a quick name for himself at 2nd base, while yearly fixtures Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman should carry a good chunk of the load as trusty veterans.  But I believe that this team will have the 2014 MVP on it, with Bryce Harper taking a MAJOR jump and becoming a superstar.  If he can avoid playing so recklessly and stay healthy, I think he will be the best player on the only National League team to win 100+ games this season.  That is how awards are won.  Speaking of awards, I also believe that Stephen Strasburg will put together a tremendous season and take home the Cy Young Award.  You add that all up, and the Nationals are going way over 88.5 wins in our nation’s captial.

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