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Sportsbooks expect pathetic season again for Athletics

Updated February 26, 2024 - 7:12 pm

Spring training is a time for hope and optimism.

But oddsmakers don’t have any positive things to say about the Oakland Athletics this season.

The A’s finished with baseball’s worst record last year at 50-112 and have the lowest regular-season win total at the Westgate SuperBook at 56½.

“It’s just hard to imagine things getting better this year, as bad as they were last year,” SuperBook manager Randy Blum said. “There’s just nothing there really, and they’re doing it on purpose. They haven’t really added anything to make you think they’ll be better. They have gotten some prospects in trades over the years, but those prospects are not ready to play this year.

“I would be shocked if they didn’t lose 100-plus games again.”

Oakland is an even-money favorite to finish with the fewest wins in the majors. The Colorado Rockies, with the second-lowest win total at 59½, are the +225 second choice to finish with the fewest wins.

Last season, the Kansas City Royals had the second-worst record at 56-106.

“This year, the Rockies might give the A’s a run for their money for the worst record,” Blum said. “I still think it’s the A’s by a little margin. The Rockies’ problem is that they’re in a tough (National League West) division. Every other team is decent.

“A lot of people are down on the Padres, but they’re probably still a .500 team. The same with the Giants. The Diamondbacks were in the World Series, and the Dodgers improved so much.”

Loaded Dodgers

The Dodgers have the highest win total at 104 after opening at 104½ at the SuperBook following their offseason acquisitions of two-way star Shohei Ohtani and fellow Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, among others.

“We made sure we were the highest out there,” Blum said. “The team looks loaded on paper, and we didn’t want to get overloaded with over money.”

The Braves are the only other team with a win total over 100 at 101½.

“They have the second-highest win total, but it feels like they’re being overlooked because there is so much hype about the Dodgers,” Blum said. “The Dodgers, on paper, look like an amazing team. They have tons of pitching and tons of hitting. But I don’t know why everybody’s acting like they’re so much better than the Braves.

“To me, the Braves and Dodgers should be the same in the futures book. I believe the Braves’ hitting is just as good as the Dodgers, if not better.”

Atlanta also has arguably the best starting rotation after adding Chris Sale to a group that includes Spencer Strider, Max Fried and Charlie Morton.

The New York Yankees have the third-highest win total at 93 after adding left fielder Juan Soto.

“The big thing for the Yankees is how (pitcher Carlos) Rodón bounces back,” Blum said.

The only other teams with win totals of 90 or higher are the Houston Astros (91½) and Philadelphia Phillies (90).

First inning props

Circa Sports is offering first inning run scored props for every exhibition game the sportsbook has a money line, total and run line for.

“We won’t have split squad games, except for the ones played here in Vegas,” Circa sportsbook director Chris Bennett said. “It’s a fun prop, because the probability of a run being scored is usually a coin flip, and you don’t have to wait very long to get a result.”

Known as NRFI for no run first inning and YRFI for yes run first inning, the markets have become popular in recent years.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on X.

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