Betting against the White Sox this season

Author Update: Since I originally wrote this (April 21), the White Sox have lost four more games, three of them on the run line. As we head into the weekend, I have refreshed the numbers to show their most recent futility.

The record for the fewest wins in a 162-game Major League season belongs to the 1962 New York Mets, who went 40-120-1, with one game not rescheduled. Over the last 60 years, the fewest wins belong to the 2003 Detroit Tigers, who finished 43-119.


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The 2024 Chicago White Sox are off to a 3-22 start, so opponents have won 88% of their games against the Pale Hose thus far. Moreover, the White Sox have lost 16 of those games on the run line and they only have one win by more than one run. They’ve lost eight times by 5+ runs and have been outscored 68-8 in those games.

They’ve also been shutout eight times through 25 games. Amazingly, two of their three wins have come against the Braves, who are the second favorite at +380 to win the World Series, and the Guardians, who were the first MLB team to win 15 games this season.

Per our database guru Jason Latus, bettors wagering to win $100 are +$1,209 if they had bet against the White Sox in every game for a 28.09% ROI against DraftKings closing lines.

So, that begs the question – should we just bet against the Chicago White Sox in every game this season?

Chicago White Sox standings

Positives are few and far between for Chicago this season. The crazy part is that they’ve absolutely played as bad as their record indicates. By Pythagorean Win-Loss, a standings metric derived from run differential, the White Sox are a 4-21 team. Plugging in the formula for runs scored (56) and runs allowed (141), they are right on schedule.

Using BaseRuns, a context-neutral standings metric at FanGraphs, the White Sox are actually a 5-20 caliber team, with a run differential that looks more like -66 than -85. BaseRuns strips the context and throws all individual outcomes into a hopper to spit out runs scored per game and runs allowed per game, then applies the formula for Pythagorean Win-Loss. The idea is to take out things like hitting with runners in scoring position, which can be highly inconsistent and volatile.

Chicago actually had three one-run losses to open the season, but 16 of their last 19 losses have been by two or more runs, thus cashing the run line (-1.5) for the opposition.

Chicago White Sox stats

The White Sox enter play on Friday with the worst offense in the league in numerous categories, including wRC+, which is an all-encompassing offensive metric graded against a league average of 100. The White Sox have a 63, which means that their offense grades 37% below league average.

Their .192/.266/.292 slash line (BA/OBP/SLG) has them ranked last in all of those offensive categories by 8, 7, and 28 points. Their 14 home runs are the fewest in the league and their 56 runs scored are 15 fewer than any other team.

The story on the pitching side isn’t much better, as they rank 29th in ERA (5.26), last in FIP (5.12), and 29th in runs allowed (141). Only the Rockies (156) have allowed more runs. The White Sox also have the seventh-lowest K% (20.7%) and fourth-highest BB% (10.3%).

Here’s the thing. This might be the worst team ever, but it probably won’t be. Dating back to 2003, which includes that horrendous Tigers team, here are the lowest offensive stats in that span in a full season (excluding 2024 and the 2020 COVID year)

BA: .222 (2022 Pirates)

OBP: .281 (2022 Athletics)

SLG: .335 (2013 Marlins)

wRC+: 74 (2004 Diamondbacks, 2013 Marlins)

Those numbers are 30, 15, and 43 points lower than where the White Sox currently sit and their wRC+ is 11 points off from the ‘04 D-Backs. Maybe this truly is the worst offense in the last 20+ years. But, you notice that the 2003 Tigers didn’t get any mentions there. They batted .240/.300/.375 with an 80 wRC+.

The White Sox are not the worst pitching staff in baseball this season, but here are the lows in that span:

ERA: 5.85 (2021 Orioles)

FIP: 5.56 (2019 Orioles)

K%: 12.0% (2003 Tigers)

BB%: 10.9% (2023 Athletics)

Should We Bet Against the White Sox Every Game?

At their current pace, the White Sox have won 12% of their games (3-22). With a win rate of 88%, the break-even rate for betting against the White Sox is -733 given an implied probability of that 88% mark, but it is not nearly that cut and dry moving forward.

Obviously nobody has been favored by that much against the White Sox yet and may not be at any point this season, as that would be the largest line in MLB history. The KillerSports Database has the largest line in MLB history at -550 (Braves/Nationals, 9/22/23). The White Sox host the Dodgers June 24-26 and have a make-up game left with the Braves at home on June 27. If those games were on the road, it could very well have happened.

However, it is extremely important to clarify that the opponent is not going to have an implied probability of 88% just because that’s what has happened so far. Teams like the A’s, Rockies, Marlins, etc. are not going to be expected to win at that kind of rate against anybody, even the White Sox. Neither will the best teams in baseball because that’s just not how the game works.

In the grand scheme of things, you’ll likely make money betting against the White Sox this season, but they are not going to sustain this historically bad pace and will win some games at hefty underdog prices moving forward.

So, no, blindly betting against the White Sox isn’t a perfect strategy, but they are trending towards being one of the worst teams of all-time, so handicap each game as you would any other game to see if it makes sense to bet against them that day.