The last time the MLB played a full season, SportsLine expert John Bollman went a massive 14-1 on his win total picks, taking teams such as the Dodgers, Yankees and Astros to go Over their posted totals, while correctly predicting the Phillies, Padres and Reds would be among the teams to go Under. Now "The Executive," who brings experience working in the Blue Jays' analytics department to his analysis, is back with his five best win total picks for 2021.
The SportsLine Projection Model owned MLB win totals during 2019, the league's last full season, delivering a 14-5 record on picks in which there was at least a three-win differential between the model's projection and the betting line. Plus, on its top five picks, the model went a STUNNING 4-1. Join SportsLine now to get all of its MLB picks!
Pittsburgh Pirates Under 58
The Pirates are in a complete rebuilding phase and they will look to ship off any and all players they can to get organizational talent. I worked with their new GM Ben Cherington with the Blue Jays and I know he will want to build through player development by adding young prospects and drafting well. They will be complete sellers at the trade deadline, and they lost Josh Bell, Trevor Williams, and Jameson Taillon among others in the offseason. I expect the Pirates to be the worst team in the league this season and to easily lose more than 100 games.
San Diego Padres Over 92
The Padres made the obvious big additions this offseason with Blake Snell and Yu Darvish. I do love how this team is built with their strength in starting pitching and their additions in Mark Melancon and Emilio Pagan, two proven closers now in the fold after the loss of Kirby Yates. This is not only a complete team, but they have plenty of organizational talent in case any of their top players gets injured. I think the Padres will compete in the division race before the Dodgers run away with it, and I expect the Padres to win around 95 games to come in first in the wild-card race. Let's not forget, they were on pace to win 100 games last season if they played a full season; 93 should be no problem.
Seattle Mariners Under 71
The Mariners made some good strides last season with certain players like Kyle Lewis. They added James Paxton and they get Mitch Haniger back from injury. However, this team is still a few years away from contending, especially with the Athletics, Astros, and Angels all competing in the same division. The Mariners president even came out saying there was no chance they were starting the clock on any of their top prospects last season. They should start fine, but GM Jerry Dipoto will sell any and all players to get more organizational talent. They overperformed to start the season last year and they were still just on pace for 73 wins overall. This team is building for the future, I would expect their win total to be in the 60s.
St. Louis Cardinals Over 88
The Cardinals made arguably the biggest move of the offseason with the much-needed addition of Nolan Arenado. Their pitching talent has been unquestionable the past few years, but they have been bottom-third in the league in scoring runs. Adding Nolan Arenado into a lineup with Paul Goldschmidt should give them each more RBI opportunities. The Cubs barely won the division last season after the Cardinals won the division in 2019, but the Cubs lost some key players and will have a much different look while the Cardinals just added talent. That, along with the NL Central being one of the weakest divisions in the league this season, should make it easy for the Cardinals to win at least 90 games. They are my pick to win their division handily, and I believe they will need at least 90 wins to do it.
Philadelphia Phillies Under 81.5
The Phillies will be one of the biggest hit-or-miss teams this season, but I believe their lack of pitching depth, starting pitching depth in general, and a tough division will come back to bite them. They re-signed J.T. Realmuto and they get Andrew McCutchen back from a torn ACL. However, their starting rotation looks slightly different with the additions of Chase Anderson and Matt Moore. Spencer Howard, one of their top prospects, will also compete for the rotation, but he hasn't performed as hoped so far in his career. They added Jose Alvarado and Archie Bradley to their bullpen, but their problem is they have no organizational depth. They're a torn UCL or ACL away from starting 4-A players. They are also playing in arguably the most competitive division in the league this year with the Braves, upstart Mets, Nats and promising Marlins. They finished two games below .500 last season; I expect them to finish around the same this season.
The SportsLine Projection Model, which simulates every MLB game 10,000 times, crushed spring baseball during the MLB's last full season, putting together a 59-38 run on its top rated plays and returning more than $600 to $100 bettors over the first four weeks of 2019 en route to nailing more than 55% of those top plays for the entire season, including delivering more than $1,400 in profit in moneyline and run line picks. Get picks from the model and our experts for MLB, NBA, college hoops and more by joining SportsLine TODAY.