We're at the midpoint of the 2008 MLB season as most teams have played between 80-82 games. I wanted to check my over/under win total bets for the season and see if there are any opportunities for the second half.
Here was my preseason article. My bets were:
|2008||Seattle Mariners||$200 under on 84 wins||Johnson Effect|
|2008||Chicago Cubs||$50 under on 87.5 wins||Plexiglas Principle|
|2008||Oakland A's||$50 over on 73.5 wins||Reverse Plexiglas Principle|
|2008||San Francisco||$50 under on 72 wins||Book Non Mover|
I thought Seattle would regress based on the fact they were outscored by their opponents in 2007. That's worked out well - far better than anyone could have expected. I could probably cash this bet out for 99 percent of its value as the contract on Tradesports for Seattle to win 85.5 games is trading at $1 - or about a 1 percent chance.
While I nailed the Seattle bet, the Cubs are the exact opposite. I didn't think the Cubs had the starting staff that historically helps hold up a large jump in win totals. The Cubs are seen having a 90 percent chance of winning 87.5 games on Tradesports. But I bet more money on Seattle than the Cubs, so I'm still happy with the outcome.
The Giants are seen by many as overperforming, but they're still on pace for only 70 wins. Tradesports has them with a 39.5 chance at 73.5 wins (where was I to not get that line?). PECOTA has them winning 73 wins at this point. So it's still a toss up, but I feel good about my position that veterans such as Bengie Molina, Randy Winn, Rich Aurillia and Ray Durham are having good seasons. (Where were they when Barry Bonds needed them?) They're likely to get hurt, regress or get traded.
Oakland looks certain to win 73.5 wins since it's a low bar to clear (which was the basis for my bet). Tradesports gives the A's a 96.5 percent chance of wining 73.5 games.
So overall, I'm almost certain to make money and have a realistic shot at going 3-for-4.
My bet with Joe Sheehan hasn't gone quite as well:
The Cubs part of the bet has killed me. The Rangers have a 55.5 percent chance to win 77.5 games on Tradesports. PECOTA forecasts them to win 79.4 games. The Reds are on pace for 75 wins. They have a 33 percent chance to win 78.5 wins on Tradesports. PECOTA forecasts 76.3 wins for Cincy.
I'm still alive, but have to go 2-for-2 since Joe basically has one in the barn.
What values do I see for the second half? How about the Twins and White Sox? I'm not sure either can sustain their current pace. Trade sports has the Twins with a 87.5 chance to win 75.5 games. While I think they'll win 75.5 games at this point, I could see shorting the contract since their Pythagorean W-L doesn't support their win totals and their offense has been fluky with a lot of success with runners in scoring position (even though that pains me as a Twins fan). The White Sox have a pattern of fading in the second half of the season this decade under manager Ozzie Guillen's leadership. My take there is that his high energy style leads to big ups and downs. They have a 91 percent chance at winning 80.5 games. They'll finish about .500, but that contract should come down in price (probably wishful thinking as a Twins fan, although I think the Tigers ultimately win the division as their offense surges).
The Angels may also be a sell opportunity. They have a 53 percent chance to win 92.5 games on Tradesports, while they've played 6-to-9 wins better than expected on BaseballProspectus' third-order wins and losses. Not that they won't make the playoffs, but I could see a slight decline in the second half.
Good luck in the second half.
Posted by Peter Schoenke at 7/1/2008 10:46:00 AM