After three full seasons with more than 100 losses, the Baltimore Orioles began to turn things around in 2022. At 83-79, they finished over .500 for the first time since 2016.
But even the biggest Oriole fans, or backers at Maryland sports betting sites, should be pleasantly surprised by the team’s hot start this year. The Birds are heading into the All-Star break in second place in American League East and leading the wild card race.
It’s not the first time, however, that the Orioles have beaten preseason expectations from oddsmakers in recent years.
Despite a projected win total of 77.5, the Orioles currently hold a playoff spot and, as of the All-Star break, are on pace to win 98 games.
And despite their success in the first half of the season, they are still a pretty good wagering bargain. As of Monday morning, customers using the BetMGM Bonus Code Maryland can get +2500 odds on the Orioles to win the World Series.
How We Determined Overachievers
BetMaryland.com looked back at every team with a projected win total under .500 that reached the playoffs since the MLB expanded to two wild cards for each league in 2012. We tracked how those teams did in the postseason.
As it turns out, the Orioles have been underestimated before – twice in the past 11 seasons, Baltimore has been projected by oddsmakers to have a losing season but instead reached the playoffs.
We used records from MLB.com and preseason win total from SportsOddsHistory.com.
BetMaryland – your home for the best Maryland sportsbook promos – did not include data from 2020 due to the shortened season and expanded playoff format.
Overperforming MLB Teams In Playoffs
Hard To Win It All As Underdog
BetMaryland looked at preseason win projections going back to 2012 and the Orioles have twice punched above their weight. The problem, as the chart shows, is that teams that overachieve in the regular season tend to flame out in the playoffs. Only the 2015 Kansas City Royals beat the odds to win the World Series.
But this is The Old Line State, home of the best sports betting app Maryland options, so let’s concern ourselves with Baltimore.
The 2016 Orioles were only projected to win 80 games, but they won 89 before losing in the Wild Card game. The 2012 team was only projected to win 69 games, after going 69-93 in 2011, but reversed that to go 93-69, before losing to the Yankees 3 games to 2 in the ALDS.
How did those teams do it?
Orioles Had Right Formula in 2012
The 2012 Orioles did it with so-so starting pitching and a great bullpen. Rookie starter Wei-Yin Chen led the team in wins with 12, and two more starters won nine games – Miguel Gonzalez and Chris Tillman. In the bullpen, however, Darren O’Day went 7-1, Pedro Strop went 5-2 and closer Jim Johnson had 51 saves to lead the AL.
Of all the teams on our list, this Baltimore bunch had the lowest projected win total at 69, according to SportsOddsHistory.com.
The 2012 Os were also interesting in that they were a forerunner of offenses to come: No one hit over .300 and seven regulars struck out more than 100 times. But DH Chris Davis had 33 home runs and 85 RBIs, CF Adam Jones had 32 and 82, C Matt Wieters 23/83, 1B Mark Reynolds 23/69 and SS J.J. Hardy 22/68. Baltimore also brought up a 19-year-old rookie named Manny Machado to give fans more hope for the future.
That hope didn’t really materialize as the Orioles missed the playoffs in 2013, got swept 4-0 in the 2014 ALCS after a 96-win season, then missed the playoffs in 2015, going 81-81.
Baltimore Repeated Pattern In 2016
But the 2016 team did better than anticipated again due to the bullpen and the long ball. Relievers Dylan Bundy, Brad Brach, Mychal Givens and O’Day combined to go 31-13, and Zack Britton had 47 saves to top the AL. RF Mark Trumbo hit 47 homers, followed by Davis with 38, Machado 37, Jones 29, Jonathan Schoop 25 and Pedro Alvarez 22.
The O’s that year also stayed relatively healthy: Schoop played all 162 games, Trumbo 159, and Davis and Machado played 157 each. Three pitchers made 25 or more starts.
As for the 2023 Orioles, they have +1200 odds for those using the Caesars Maryland promo code to win the AL pennant for the first time since the 1983 team captured the franchise’s most recent World Series title.