An Early Look at the Nationals 2024 Win Total

After far exceeding expectations last season, the Nationals are not getting much love so far in the preseason expectations for 2024.

Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves
Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages
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Last year, the sportsbooks set the Washington Nationals at the lowest regular season win total in Major League Baseball. DraftKings had their win total set at 60.5; some books even offered a prop bet allowing you to pick between the Nationals and Athletics for which team would have the better regular season record...

The Athletics ended with 50 wins, and the Nationals ended with 71 wins, only a handful less than the Mets and their $350 million dollar payroll. Many would call 2023 a success for Washington, who soared over their win total with a bottom-10 payroll, but the oddsmakers weren’t impressed. On Caesars, they set the Nationals win total at o/u 68 (-110) for the upcoming season.

It is still early; a lot could change between now and the start of the season. That does not mean that looking at these early-offseason win totals can’t be beneficial. Let’s be real here, these sportsbooks are not in the business of losing money. You can learn just as much, if not more, from looking at betting lines than you can listening to a podcast or reading an article.

The Dodgers 2024 win total is up to 104.5 on Fanduel, the highest of any team in baseball and making them the current favorites to win the World Series. The Braves are right behind them at 101.5, with the rest of the NL East as follows: PHI at 89.5, NYM at 83.5 and MIA at 79.5 all on Caesars. After an “over-performing” 2023 season, the Nationals have by far the lowest win total in their division, and the second-lowest win total in the National League. 

Do the Nationals deserve this much disrespect? They finished the 2023 season with the seventh-best ATS (against the spread) record in baseball, one of the only profitable teams on the run line all season. Nats fans will be chomping at the bit to lock-in the over on Washington’s win total after CJ Abrams and the Nationals exceeded all expectations last year. But that does not mean it is a smart move…

Let’s look at what the Nationals did this offseason. Their biggest move was the acquisition of Nick Senzel. What is their biggest need? Pitching and power. They have yet to address either of these two weaknesses, and unless they do before the season starts, it is going to be even tougher to compete in the NL East in 2024. 

The Nationals opponents won’t get any easier in 2024 either. The Braves had the best record in baseball last season, and they have added even more pieces this offseason, making them the deepest team in baseball. The Phillies brought back Aaron Nola, and the Marlins young core is coming off an impressive 84-win season. Washington’s pitching staff had a bottom-5 ERA last season and they have not made any improvements. Instead, they are going to be banking a lot on the young arms of MacKenzie Gore and Josiah Gray. 

As a sportsbettor myself, I was surprised to see the Nats win total set as low as it is for the upcoming season. The more I think about it, the more it makes sense though. A lot went right for the Nationals last year, and they played their hearts out to earn their manager an extension down the stretch. It is still early, and maybe the Nationals will address their lack of power/pitching before Opening Day, but I am not in a rush to bet the over on the Nationals win total right now. Unfortunately for Nats fans, there’s probably a reason why their 2024 win total is set lower than their 71 wins last season…