Heading into the 2021 MLB season, I think this is a great year to dive into the winning totals. A few ever-changing teams and a very high ranking have created a great opportunity.
Note: All upper / lower totals were drawn from DraftKings
Chicago Cubs (78.5)
The Cubs took advantage of the 60-game schedule in 2020 to reach the postseason for the fifth time in 2020. They traded their ace (Yu Darvish), leaving them with a reliable starting arm (Kyle Hendricks). The end of the rotation will be up and down. Chicago lacks dominant arms without immediate help at the top of its minor league system.
His offense has the talent to hit a lot of home runs. I have them projected for 220 bombs with seven players hitting 18 or more.
This team will celebrate or go hungry in 2021, resulting in high-loss stages. Their starters will have too many bad innings due to their inability to strike out key hitters. I don’t see a shocking bullpen. Based on my initial projections, the Cubs will rank 11th in team ERA.
BET: SUB 78.5 win
Pittsburgh Pirates (58.5)
Heading into 2021, the Pirates have the worst offense in baseball. I have them hitting just 136 home runs, with Bryan Reynolds leading the way with 21 long balls.
They are projected to have the highest ERA in the National League while offering only one bull arm (Mitch Keller). Your bullpen will struggle with walks and home runs. Closer Richard Rodriguez can be traded over the summer if he’s pitching well.
With nine teams in the National League that have a chance to win more games than they lose, Pittsburgh will have a difficult time getting victories all season long.
BET: SUB 58.5 win
Los Angeles Dodgers (102.5)
The Dodgers have strength and depth in their starting rotation. They could lose an arm or two, and their winning train would stay on the tracks.
Los Angeles has the bullpen talent to shorten games, especially if Corey Knebel returns to his elite form of 2017. I have the top 10 pitchers projected for a 3.04 ERA and 1,404 strikeouts in 1,231.2 innings.
Offensively, LA appears poised to hit more than 250 home runs (279 in 2019 and 118 in 60 games in 2020), provided Cody Bellinger recovers from his offseason.
Los Angeles has enough extra pitching pieces to trade midseason for a bat if they are injured.
The Dodgers will win a minimum of two-thirds of their games, making the ending the correct side of the play.
BET: OVER 102.5 victories
Detroit Tigers (68.5)
In early January, the Tigers’ offense looked bleak, pointing to a long losing season. The signings of C Wilson Ramos, 2B Jonathan Schoop and OF Nomar Mazara added power and length to their starting lineup. I don’t see an explosive offense, but Detroit will score runs when it hits home runs.
They have three young arms – Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal and Matt Manning – who offer an advantage at the front of the rotation. Each arm will have a chance this season, and they will get better and have more experience. The Tigers can close the gap with multiple veterans but with squirrel weapons (Julio Tehran and Derek Holland).
Detroit’s bullpen is not ideal, which will lead to many wasted advantages.
The combination of developing weapons and stealth power will lead the Tigers to win over 68.5 games.
BET: OVER 68.5 victories
Cleveland Baseball (81.5)
For the past eight seasons, Cleveland posted a winning record while relying on its pitching staff for success. They lost Trevor Bauer in the offseason, but Shane Bieber is still one of the best players in the game. Zach Plesac, Aaron Civale and Triston McKenzie will give Cleveland plenty of quality starts.
The bullpen has a chance to be special if Emmanuel Clase or James Karinchak take the ninth-inning role.
The combination of Eddie Rosario, Andrés Giménez, Amed Rosario and Johs Naylor should more than make up for the loss of Francisco Lindor.
Cleveland will win with pitching, and their offense should be better than expected in 2021. I expect them to win 82 games or more with a chance to lead the American League in ERA.
BET: OVER 81.5 victories
Want even more DFS and real-time betting plays and alerts? The crisp Vegas Whispers info, shared here only on Sports Illustrated, is red hot.
Sign up and receive real-time updates on all Vegas Whispers information!
Join now and instantly become part of an exclusive PREMIUM SI PRO betting Discord chat community!
Join today and start churning the books with us!
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.