MLB Win Totals: Will the LA Dodgers Avoid the World Series Hangover?

Oddsmakers set the win totals for the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers at 103.5 over/under, for one of the highest totals in some time. So, will the Dodgers really fade the curse of the World Series hangover?

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The Los Angeles Dodgers pose for a team picture after winning the 2020 World Series.

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The Los Angeles Dodgers pose for a team picture after winning the 2020 World Series. (Image: LA Times)

In the last 50 years, only three franchises have won the World Series in consecutive seasons, including the New York Yankees on two different instances. The Yankees were the last team to win back-to-back championships when they three-peated at the turn of the century. The Yankees also won back-to-back titles in 1977 and 1978. The Oakland As secured a three-peat between 1972 and 1974. The Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series in consecutive years in 1992 and 1993.

The Dodgers dominated the NL West with eight-straight division crowns, including a one-game playoff victory over the Colorado Rockies in 2018 when the two teams were tied with a 92-70 record at the end of the regular season.

“The expectation is to win a World Series and so we have to remember that it doesn’t matter that we won last year,” said Clayton Kershaw. “But at the same time, remember that our team has a chance to be really special again. And we can’t take that for granted.”

According to the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, the Dodgers are the favorite at -300 odds to win the NL West for the ninth season in a row. The San Diego Padres are +250 odds to win their first division title since 2006.

The Dodgers are +175 odds to win the NL pennant. They’re the favorites to win the World Series at +350 odds.

Can the Dodgers Win 104 Games?

The NL West Division winner passed the 100-win mark only three times since 1999. The Dodgers pulled it off twice with 104 wins in 2017 and 106 wins in 2019. Despite the franchise-high 106 wins, the Dodgers were knocked out of the postseason in the 2019 NLDS.

According to oddsmakers, three out of the five NL West teams are projected to have win totals below 76 games. The Arizona Diamondbacks (74.5 o/u), Colorado Rockies (64.5 o/u), and San Francisco Giants (75.5 o/u) are all projected to have losing seasons.

The Dodgers bolstered their starting rotation with the addition of Trevor Bauer. He won the AL Cy Young with the Cincinnati Reds last season, and pitched lights out with a 1.73 ERA and 0.795 WHIP. The Dodgers added the eccentric and caustic Bauer to help avoid the World Series hangover.

The Dodgers have stiff competition from the San Diego Padres. The Padres tried to keep up with the NL West arms race by adding ex-Tampa Bay Rays ace Blake Snell to their rotation. They also locked up Fernando Tatis, Jr. with a 14-year contract extension. The Padres are anchored by superstar Manny Machado.

The Hangover Effect

The LA Dodgers were runner-ups in the World Series in 2017 and 2018, but they finally broke through last year during the pandemic-shortened season.

With a win total of 103.5 o/u, the Dodgers were the only team north of 100 wins, and just one of five teams listed above 90 wins. The NY Yankees are second on the win totals board with 95.5 o/u, followed by the San Diego Padres with 93.5 o/u. The Atlanta Braves and New York Mets are the only other teams with win totals above 90 with 90.5 o/u, while the Chicago White Sox are 89.5 o/u.


World Series Hangover?
Champion
Next Season Record
2020 LA Dodgers TBD
2019 Washington Nationals 26-34 (4th NL East)
2018 Boston Red Sox 84-78 (3rd AL East)
2017 Houston Astros 103-59 (1st AL West)
2016 Chicago Cubs 92-70 (1st NL Central)
2015 Kansas City Royals 81-81 (3rd AL Central)
2014 San Francisco Giants 84-78 (2nd NL West)
2013 Boston Red Sox 71-91 (5th AL East)
2012 San Francisco Giants 76-86 (4th NL West)
2011 St. Louis Cardinals 88-74 (2nd NL Central)
2010 San Francisco Giants 86-76 (2nd NL Central)
2009 New York Yankees 95-67 (2nd AL East)

Since the New York Yankees won the World Series in 2009, only two defending champions won their divisions the next season, but neither the Houston Astros in 2018, nor the Chicago Cubs in 2017 won a repeat World Series.

The bookies in Vegas set the current Yankees’ win total at 95.5 o/u.

Take a peek at our complete list of every World Series champion since 1903.

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