If you think you are smarter than the folks who run casinos and other sports books, well, there's a very good chance you are not. The strongest evidence to the contrary are the myriad fancy casino/hotels that make up the Las Vegas skyline. Those were not built on the backs of savvy gamblers.
But we will say this: One of the toughest things for sports books to predict seems to be how many victories a given MLB team will end up with at the end of the season. The Twins, as noted below, have been a prime example in recent years. And they should hope that trend continues this year.
Bovada.lv recently released its over-under victory total numbers for all 30 teams for the upcoming season. The premise is simple: They pick a total for the season, and bettors wager on whether a team will exceed that number or fall short of it. Bovada set the Twins' number at 67.5; only the Astros, new to the American League this year, have a lower number (59.5). The next lowest in the AL above the Twins? Cleveland at 76.5. Ouch.
The release of those numbers made us wonder what the preseason over-under number had been in past years compared to how many victories the Twins ended up getting. We were able to find numbers from various sites going back to 2005. And, well, it's hardly time to give up on the hometown nine based solely on gambling projections.
In four different years (2011, 2010, 2008 and 2006) the over-under number was at least 10 games off the Twins' actual total. The biggest whiff, predictably, came in 2011, when sportsbook.com listed 86.5 as the number and the Twins only won 63 games. The 2006 Twins were a sub-.500 team according to Vegas predictions (over-under number of 80) and ended up winning 96. In no season over the past eight years did the Twins' final total come within four games of the total set on the number line. Four times the Twins exceeded it, and four times they fell short.
If you were a hypothetical betting man/woman -- it is important to remember that while these numbers are real, we are always talking about pretend wagers -- you might guess the 2013 Twins will win at least 68 games (and maybe a good handful more).
Then again, you might think of the Vegas skyline and wonder if you're really all that smart.