One of the most fun bets to make in sports, legally of course and only in Vegas, is future bets. Last year I put money down on the Houston Texans to win the Super Bowl, which was looking great until about Week 12, and the Texas Rangers to win the World Series, which looked great until September.
Vegas always releases over/under win totals for teams, regardless of sport, and the Rangers' number has been set at 86.5, meaning if they win 87 or more gaems you win — 86 or fewer and you're a loser.
This seems like a pretty easy bet to make, if you ask me. With the addition of the Houston Astros, who seem to be far and away the worst team in baseball basically fielding a Triple-A lineup, to the AL West that basically allows the Rangers nearly 20 easy wins over a terrible division foe. That's a wash because the Seattle Mariners, the former AL West whipping boys, seem to be a lot better this year. But the Rangers should be able to win 85 games in their sleep and really should hit the 90 mark.
Another futures bet that came out was Yu Darvish's win total, which was set at 14.5. This seems like a slam dunk, which is kind of scary. You have to think the oddsmakers are banking on Darvish tapering off and being figured out by big-league hitters like many Japanese pitchers are in their second year in the league. But Darvish isn't your typical Japanese pitcher. He'll be just fine and has been picked by several publications as a Cy Young Award favorite so winning 15 games or more seems like a certainty. Don't be afraid to bet your mortgage on that.
The final one we'll take a look at is Adrian Beltre's home run total, which was set at 27.5 and is by far the hardest one of these three to make a call on. Beltre has surpassed 28 homers in each of the past three seasons, and more than 30 in each of his two years with the Rangers. So banking on him getting to 28 seems pretty safe but you have to remember Beltre's getting up there in age and wear and tear. At 33 (he'll turn 34 next weekend) and entering his 16th season in the bigs, the injury concern with Beltre is always in the back of your mind as he played the last two months of 2012 in tremendous pain but still carried his squad down the stretch and finished third in the AL MVP voting behind Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera and rookie phenom Mike Trout. Lean toward the Over there but the team win total and Darvish win total are much safer bets.