Major League Baseball

MLB win totals, World Series predictions and more ahead of Opening Day

March 31

Opening Day is less than 24 hours away!

That means there's precious little time to get in those MLB picks for division races, playoff berths, end-of-season accolades and more.

On that note, FOX Sports Baseball Analyst Ben Verlander hosted a special edition of "Talk the Line" on Wednesday, sitting down with FOX Sports Betting Analyst Sam Panayotovich to talk about their picks for the upcoming season.

They chatted team win totals, debated award candidates and even shared a few parlays to partake in, with all lines via FOX Bet.

There will be plenty to digest both on and off the field ⁠— hot dog, anyone? ⁠— Thursday, so let's get to it.

Team win totals

The Chicago Cubs are one of the enigmas heading into this season. Their win total is set at 78.5, a number Sammy P is happy to go "Under" (meaning the Cubs will win fewer than 78.5 games), given the many departures the Cubs have had. Familiar faces such as Yu Darvish, Jon Lester and Kyle Schwarber are all on new teams, leaving Sammy P to doubt the 2016 World Series champs.

"The honeymoon phase is over for David Ross. ... Anthony Rizzo wants to get paid. That hasn't happened. Javy Baez wants to be long-term. That hasn't happened. Kris Bryant has been on the trading block for three years. This thing could literally implode from the inside. The only saving grace for Chicago is that the division across the board isn't that strong."

Sammy P is entirely unconvinced that the "dysfunctional" Cubs are going to hit their season total of 79 or more wins in 2021.

As for the defending World Series champions, no team on the board has a higher win total than the Los Angeles Dodgers, at 102.5. Adding free-agent prize Trevor Bauer in the offseason to an already stacked roster should be a boon for the Dodgers.

Not to mention, there isn't much competition in the NL West outside of the upstart San Diego Padres. For those reasons and more, Verlander sees the Dodgers eclipsing their 102.5 wins mark.

"That is a very high number. I understand that. ... There's not a lot of teams in this division that are going to win a lot of games. You have the Dodgers, and you have the Padres. ... The Dodgers are by far the most complete team in all of baseball. They could be in a league all on their own."

Hear why Ben Verlander says the Los Angeles Dodgers are going to win 103 or more games in 2021.

American League/National League winners

Which teams are making it to the promised land of the World Series?

Out of the American League, Sammy P favored the Chicago White Sox at a price of +380 – so a bet of $10 on the White Sox to make it to the World Series would win you $38, plus your $10 back.

With Jose Abreu, Yoan Moncada and some other boppers up and down the lineup, Chicago's offense should be fearsome. But Sammy P said he's even more enamored with the pitching staff.

"I think the pitching staff is going to be the story of the entire league. ... With [Lucas] Giolito, [Dallas] Keuchel and Lance Lynn, if you get anything out of Dylan Cease and Carlos Rodon ... I believe in the pitching staff."

The Chicago White Sox are almost 4-to-1 to win the American League pennant in 2021, and Sam Panayotovich explains why he will bet $10 to win $38 at +380 that they make it to the World Series.

From the NL, how about the Atlanta Braves to not just make the World Series but also win the whole thing? At +1000 (bet $10 to win $100, plus your $10 back!), Verlander explained why he's feeling Atlanta.

"I think they are a super-fun team to watch, so I'm excited to watch it play out. I got Ronald Acuna going 40/40 this year for the first time since Alfonso Soriano ⁠— 40 home runs, 40 stolen bases. I love him."

Both Ben Verlander and Sammy P believe the Atlanta Braves present the best World Series winner future odds at +1000, and you might want to wager $10 to win $100.

Awards and more!

For the full discussion from Verlander and Sammy P, including more win totals, why Mike Trout is still the best bet to win AL MVP and other predictions, check out the video below:

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