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Updated odds for a shortened Giants season

If the MLB season is shortened, the Giants will .... well, they’ll probably still not do very well.

San Francisco Giants v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

The San Francisco Giants weren’t supposed to be good in 2020. But now the coronavirus has resulted in the indefinite suspension of the season, which means that if we do get MLB baseball this year it will likely be in the form of a truncated season, which means the Giants will be ... still not good, just in fewer games.


We don’t know how short the season will be, if and when it returns (for perspective, the Giants have already had 22 games cancelled this year). But in theory, a shortened season would benefit the Giants hopes of competing in 2020.

For starters, there’s the strength of schedule. Fangraphs’ Dan Szymborski calculates that, if MLB lopped off the first 50 games of every team’s schedule, the Giants would benefit seventh-most of all 30 teams in terms of strength of schedule improvement.

Most important, though, is that baseball is so influenced by variance, that every game you take off the calendar creates that much more of an opportunity for outliers to sneak into the picture.

Last year’s Giants, for instance, finished 77-85. But over a 50-game stretch from May 30 through July 17th, they went 31-19. That winning percentage (.620) would have been second-best in the National League if held for 162 games.

The law of averages would suggest that the more games a team plays, the more accurately their record will reflect their abilities, so playing as few games as possible is definitely in the Giants best interest.

With that in mind, just released their new over/unders for the 2020 season. Normally over/unders are based on a specific number of wins, and the teams have to play at least 161 games for the bets to count (so if you bet a bunch of unders before the season was suspended, don’t get ready to collect any money).

The newest numbers are based on winning percentage, since we don’t know how many games the season will consist of (if there is a season).

They put San Francisco’s over/under at .425, which is the equivalent of a 69-93 season.

Not surprisingly, that’s last in the NL West. Here’s the full slate of the NL West betting odds, with how many wins that would mean in a full season, a 100-game season, and a 50-game season (win totals rounded).

NL West betting over/unders

Team Win percentage 162-game equivalent 100-game equivalent 50-game equivalent
Team Win percentage 162-game equivalent 100-game equivalent 50-game equivalent
Los Angeles Dodgers 0.625 101-61 63-37 31-19
Arizona Diamondbacks 0.515 83-79 52-48 26-24
San Diego Padres 0.515 83-79 52-48 26-24
Colorado Rockies 0.455 74-88 46-54 23-27
San Francisco Giants 0.425 69-93 43-57 21-29

So if you have a betting itch that you’d like to scratch, here you go. And if you really want to let your Giants fandom shine, you can take the very long odds on some bigger bets: +5,000 to win the NL West (5th out of 5 teams), +5,000 to win the NL pennant (T-12th out of 15 teams), and +50,000 to win the World Series (T-24th out of 30 teams).