Whether you are a seasoned fantasy player or just a first timer, you can find it helpful to look at the odds on a given team coming into the season. Since a team’s odds offer a rough estimate of how good or bad they will perform in the coming season, you can get an idea of what the fantasy outlook is for any given team’s players. Let’s use the Houston Astros as an example.
At this same time last year, the Astros had astronomical odds of +8,000 to win the AL West. But after a relatively “successful” season in which they finished with a 70-92 record—the first non-100 loss record for the team since 2011—the Astros are now pegged at only +1,500 to top the division in 2015. Based on the massive difference in the two odds alone, you can tell that someone from that team is about to have a great season. This means that you have to keep an eye on some of Houston’s players. Defending batting champion Jose Altuve will continue to produce solid stats, while new addition Evan Gattis is worthy of a look. Dallas Keuchel, meanwhile, looks to build on a solid 2014 season that saw him finish with a 2.93 ERA after two straight seasons of sub-5.00 ERA.
By referencing current MLB betting futures here, you can also see that the same logic can be used in assessing players from the Chicago Cubs. The Cubbies were +4,000 to win the NL Central back in March of last year and finished with a 73-89 record. But with the arrival of elite young talents and the maneuvers of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer this offseason, the North Siders were able to grab the attention of bookmakers, who now have the Cubs at +275 to finish the regular season atop the division.
The trio of Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, and Javier Baez is nothing to scoff at, given their rapid improvements. Addison Russell may also be a defensive star in the making, while providing some pop at the plate. Then there’s Jon Lester, who’ll soon be pitching in the more pitcher-friendly NL.
All told, it’s just one tool amongst many to consider as you prepare your draft sheet for the coming season, but it is nonetheless one created by oddsmakers, who make it their business to know exactly what’s going to happen in a given season.
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