Friday, March 20, 2009

Because When I Speak, Vegas Listens

Last week I noted that betting even money on the Yankees to win fewer than 95 games was a license to steal money. The bookmakers have agreed: now has New York's over/under down from 95.5 wins to 94.5 and the price has gone from even to -115 ($115 wager pays $100).

I graciously accept the title of most influential person in Las Vegas, and will wield my power wisely.

Yanks under 94.5 at -115 is still a decent bet, if not the print-money deal it was a week ago. There's some real risk in that lineup; Derek Jeter will be 35 in June, can no longer play anything more than a passible shortstop (if that), has lost his power (after belting 150-200 points of isolated slugging at his peak, he was at 108 last year), and is little more than an average player. They're paying A.J. Burnett for five seasons' worth of Cy Young-caliber pitching when he's really had only three good years in his whole career. They need C.C. Sabathia to not develop his own gravitational pull. Throw in the age in the outfield, their not having a decent backup behind Jorge Posada ... there's a lot of risk here. Plus the competition from the Red Sox and defending champion Rays will be just brutal, Toronto still has one of the better run-prevention teams in baseball, and Baltimore will be ushering in the Era of Matt Wieters, who will one day rule all he surveys. I see New York as more of a high-80s team with 92- 93-win upside, maybe a 30-35% chance of getting to 95 ... at -115 you need about a 53% probability to break even, so under-94.5 is still playable.

If gambling were legal, of course.

EDIT: 3/23/2009 - I mentioned at the top that "Yankees to win fewer than 95 games" was the original bet. The original bet was actually Yankees to win fewer than 96 games, since the over/under was 95.5 -- LCL

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