MLB Betting: What to Make of the Three Most Disappointing Teams in Baseball

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Michael Savio
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  • Houston is twenty-sixth in ERA and OBA and twenty-eighth in WHIP
  • Wander Franco and Shane McClanahan won’t play for the Rays in 2025
  • Corbin Carroll has a .189 batting average

The first month of the season is now in the books, and three teams with high offseason expectations have fallen flat. Those teams are the Houston Astros, Tampa Bay Rays, and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Below, we’ll break down how our USA Legal Betting experts view the future of these three teams. We’ll share the latest odds and insights into each, giving you what you need to bet confidently on them at betting sites this season.

Houston Astros (9-19)

Make the playoffs-105
Win the AL West+260
Win the AL+700
Win the World Series+1400

Odds courtesy of bet365 Sportsbook

The Astros swept their two-game series with the Rockies over the weekend, but that’s hardly enough to call it a comeback. Since their first series win against Texas on April 8, Houston has gone 5-12, including those two Colorado wins). One problem has been their inability to score runs. While they rank third in the league in batting average (.264), they are seventeenth (122) in runs scored.

Their run total was boosted with 20 in their series against the Rockies, but that took play in Mexico City. The elevation there is about 2,000 feet higher than Denver, leading to balls traveling even farther than in the league’s most hitter-friendly park. In the ten games before that series, Houston averaged just three runs per game.

Houston’s inability to score runs is made worse by their struggles on the mound. They are twenty-sixth in ERA (4.92) and opponent batting average (.260) and twenty-eighth in WHIP (1.47). The lineup is too good not to turn things around, but this Houston team won’t be competing for anything if they can’t fix their pitching.

Tampa Bay Rays (14-16)

Make the playoffs+155
Win the AL East+1500
Win the AL+1800
Win the World Series+4000

Odds courtesy of BetMGM Sportsbook

We knew the Rays would regress in 2024, but things have been even worse than expected. They rank towards the bottom of the league in runs scored (116) and ERA (4.56), leading them to the cellar of the AL East. There are a few reasons for the struggles, chief among them being the absence of their top two players: Wander Franco and Shane McClanahan.

The biggest question we have about this team center around Yandy Diaz (.232 BA, 1 HR, 11 RBI) and Randy Arozarena (.152 BA, 3 HR, 9 RBI). Both were key bats for Tampa last season and were expected to step up with Franco gone. That hasn’t been the case, with both struggling to come close to replicating those numbers. Both will improve, but we aren’t sure it will be enough.

Pitching is a bigger problem for Tampa, who has gotten mixed results from their rotation while their bullpen has struggled badly. We think the rotation will settle in with Zach Eflin and Ryan Pepiot finding their grooves, but the bullpen may be a lost cause. Considering they play in the league’s most challenging division, we don’t see Tampa as a playoff team in 2024.

Arizona Diamondbacks (13-17)

Make the playoffs+165
Win the NL West+1200
Win the NL+2000
Win the World Series+4000

Odds courtesy of BetRivers Sportsbook

The Diamondbacks looked like a team poised to become a major power in the NL after the 2023 season, but that is no longer the case. The team is struggling to get their record over the .500 mark, despite ranking second in the league in runs scored (154). The slow start is made worse by the fact that the rival Dodgers are finally heating up.

The good news for Arizona is that their impressive offensive success has come while Corbin Carroll (.189BA, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 8 SB) has struggled. The 23-year-old was an MVP candidate last season but has struggled to recapture that form in his sophomore season. The advanced stats suggest he is getting close, meaning the D-backs offense may soon be getting better.

The bad news is that Arizona’s rotation is a mess. While Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly are off to strong starts, Brandon Pfaadt (4.63 ERA), Ryne Nelson (4.60 ERA) and Tommy Henry (5.55 ERA) have been bad. Luckily for Arizona, newly acquired Jordan Montgomery is healthy and has looked great across two starts.  If one of the other struggling starters can figure things out, the D-backs pitching could soon become a strength.