Up until five years ago, the Baltimore Orioles were an afterthought in the American League. Riding a 15-year playoff drought, the O’s broke that streak thanks to a 93-69 record in 2012. Baltimore has remained in contention ever since, however they haven’t been able to get over the hump when it matters the most. So, will that change this year? It won’t be easy.
Baltimore made the postseason for the third straight year in 2016 but bowed out to the Toronto Blue Jays in the wild-card game. The Orioles won 89 games, but they boasted only a plus-29 in run differential. They ranked seventh in the American League in runs scored, ninth in batting average and ninth in on-base percentage. The pitching staff was mediocre, to say the least, ranking 10th in the AL in ERA and strikeouts.
The real bread and butter of this team is their penchant for the long ball. The Orioles slugged an MLB-best 253 home runs last season, 28 more than the second-place St. Louis Cardinals.
The bullpen was a major reason for their success, and it figures to once again be a major strength for the club this year. Brad Brach and lights-out closer Zach Britton were one of the best one-two punches in baseball at the back end of the bullpen. Simply put, if Baltimore had any kind of lead into the seventh inning, things were looking pretty safe.
From a betting perspective, what can you expect from the Orioles going forward? Here’s an analysis of Baltimore’s futures odds:
World Series +3300
The Orioles are smack dab in the middle of things in oddsmakers’ eyes when it comes to Fall Classic odds, coming in with the 15th-best chances to win the title. Baltimore hasn’t won the World Series since 1983, and the Orioles have a mountain of good teams to eclipse if they want to do it again. Stranger things have happened in baseball, but this is a risky long-shot wager, to say the least.
American League Pennant +1800
Nine teams have better odds to win the AL pennant than the Orioles, with names like Seattle, Kansas City and Detroit in front of them. The Orioles have the bats to keep pace with anyone in the AL, but the pitching staff leaves a lot to be desired. Unless general manager Dan Duquette makes a move to acquire another arm for the top of the rotation, the O’s will have a tough time keeping pace with the rest of the league.
AL East +750
The AL East is always a dogfight, and 2017 won’t be any different. The Red Sox went full Red Sox by making some big acquisitions (hello, Chris Sale), the Blue Jays made some decent signings despite losing slugger Edwin Encarnacion and the Yankees’ youth movement looks like it’s going to do big things in the not too distant future. A strong start will be necessary for the Orioles to prove their window of contention is not closing any time soon.
OVER/UNDER win total 80.5
Since the aforementioned 2012 turnaround, Baltimore has averaged 89 wins per season under manager Buck Showalter. Showalter is a regular-season wizard who’s one of the best bench bosses in the league. While I don’t think the Orioles will top last year’s mark of 89 victories, the 80.5 number looks a little low for what’s been a solid regular-season team. Take the OVER.
Chris Davis to lead the league in home runs +1400
Simply put, Chris Davis was born to hit baseballs out of the park. The 31-year-old, who’s entering his seventh year of service with the team, has been one of the steadiest foot soldiers for Showalter. Davis had a bit of a down year in 2016 by his standards, ending the campaign with 38 homers. He hit 53 in 2013 and 47 in 2015, and health has never been much of an issue for him.
|American League Pennant||+1800|
|American League East||+750|
Odds as of March 28 at Bovada
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