Caesars Sportsbook has released its win totals for the 60-game 2020 MLB season, and the Giants total is set at a number of 24.5, the fifth-lowest in baseball.
New #MLB win totals @CaesarsEnt— David Bearman ESPN (@DBearmanESPN) June 25, 2020
Astros, Twins 34.5
Cubs, Reds, D-Backs, Cardinals, Angels, White Sox 31.5
Padres, Phillies 31
Red Sox, Brewers 30.5
Blue Jays 28.5
Royals, Pirates 25— David Bearman ESPN (@DBearmanESPN) June 25, 2020
The Giants, Seattle Mariners (24), Miami Marlins (23.5), Detroit Tigers (21.5) and Baltimore Orioles (20.5) are the only teams in baseball that have a win total below 25. The defending NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers top the list at 37.
ZIPS projects the Giants to win 25 games, so it's no surprise that Vegas is right in line with Fangraphs' projection system.
Before the season, the Giants were seen as a rebuilding team that would finish near the bottom of the NL West division, and that definitely is still possible. But with just 60 games to play, placing a wager on them going OVER 24.5 wins could be the way to go.
Shorter season benefits teams with less talent
As long as the Giants don't start 5-15, they should be in contention for a playoff spot throughout most of the season. With so few games, it will be harder for teams to separate themselves from the pack. Every game will matter more.
During the 2019 season, the Giants proved they can get hot for an extended period of time, going 37-23 over a 60-game stretch from June 11 through August 17. The Giants brought back most of their offensive contributors from last season, and young players like Mauricio Dubon and Mike Yastrzemski are expected to take another leap.
Only seven of the 15 NL teams aside from the Giants had a stretch of 37-23 or better in 2019. That record will likely get you into the 2020 playoffs.
It's little unlikely that the Giants pull off a stretch as good as that once again, but you don't need them to stay hot for all 60 games to cash your OVER bet.
Last season, their best 35-game stretch was 24-11. Their best 25-game stretch was 19-6. More importantly, not every team had the capability of putting together these stretches. Only seven other NL teams had a 25-game stretch of 19-6 or better.
[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]
Exhausting every angle
In Farhan Zaidi’s first year as president of baseball operations, the Giants set an NL record by using 64 players. And that was with a more traditional, "old-school" manager in Bruce Bochy. With Gabe Kapler in charge now, you can bet the Giants are going to try everything possible to gain an advantage.
No team is likely to use a traditional five-man rotation, so having multiple options and pitching depth could be a major factor.
Kevin Gausman, Drew Smyly, Logan Webb, Trevor Cahill, Tyler Anderson, Andrew Suarez and Dereck Rodriguez certainly aren't aces, but the amount of depth and variety the Giants have with their pitching should give Zaidi and Kapler a lot of choices.
The strategy of every game will be much different if you can pair these guys together on the same day and try to get two-to-three innings out of them in specific situations, rather than needing five or more innings in every start.
It also doesn't hurt having a healthy Jonny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija atop the rotation.
Additionally, the signing of Billy Hamilton could prove useful in extra-inning games, as runners now will start on 2nd base in each extra inning. Having arguably one of the fastest players in baseball is a nice luxury.
Reason for caution
However, the reason to be wary of this bet is that the Giants face an uphill battle with their schedule. ZIPS projects them to have the fourth-hardest schedule because they face off with the AL West and NL West. Having to play the heavily-favored Dodgers 10 times should make for amazing theater, but it also could result in a lot of losses. The same goes for games against the highly-talented A's and Astros.
Luckily, they also get 10 games against the Colorado Rockies, who ZIPS projects to win 26 games. Colorado's win total is set at 27, and no other NL division has at least two teams with win totals lower than 30.
Optimism for new regime
Still, winning 25 games just seems very doable for this roster. The Giants' worst 60-game stretch last season was 25-35.
They have one of the most forward-thinking front offices in baseball, and a manager who is unafraid to try any idea to win. The team knows they can get hot enough to contend, just like they did for a brief period of time last year. And they might add Yasiel Puig, so if you like the bet, there's no reason to wait to place it.
Zaidi noted that "all it takes is a hot stretch" to make the playoffs. If the Giants get one of those hot stretches, your OVER ticket certainly will cash.