Baseball Predictions: MLB Pitching Prop Bets
by Trevor Whenham - 3/25/2011
As the regular season for baseball draws tantalizingly close, BetUS has a wide range of pitcher props available. A surprising number of them are interesting in terms of potential value. Here are some that stand out along with my baseball predictions for betting:
Head-to-head win totals
C.C. Sabathia - I feel like I want to gamble with Sabathia. He has been healthy throughout his career -- at least 230 innings and 34 starts the last five years. He’ll turn 31 this year, though. He’s also not the finest physical specimen, and he carries a huge burden on this team. I’m willing to gamble that he’ll either miss some time or perform somewhat below expectations -- especially since the division has improved around him and his team certainly hasn’t taken a step forward. I could see value in taking quite a few guys against Sabathia -- Clayton Kershaw +2.5 wins, Chris Carpenter +2 wins, Jered Weaver +3 wins, Roy Halladay -1 win, Tim Hudson +2.5 wins, and Trevor Cahill +3 wins.
Roy Halladay - While I am nervous about Sabathia I am very bullish on Halladay. The guy is just a rock, and he’s so easy on himself. He’s had a good spring, and teams are not going to be able to avoid him or massage pitching matchups against him given how good the rotation is for the Phillies. As public of a pick as he is, I still think there is some surprising value in betting on him in these totals. Besides the Sabathia matchups I would take him at -2 wins against Chris Carpenter, -2 wins vs. David Price, -3 wins against Felix Hernandez (though I think Hernandez is one of a very few guys who is on the level of Halladay), and -3 wins against Francisco Liriano.
Will any pitcher win more than 20.5 games? - The ‘under’ is at a very fat +135, so I am obviously drawn to that. But does it make sense? I think so. In three of the last five years the league leader has been below that level. I’m not scared of Sabathia particularly. Halladay and Cliff Lee could both do it, but the list beyond them isn’t that long. It’s worth a gamble.
Will any pitcher save more than 47.5 games? - The number they chose here makes this one very interesting. There has been one player to go over this total each of the last three years, but in two of those years they wound up with just 48 saves. The ‘over’ is the slight underdog at -110, and there are a lot of teams that are set up well to produce saves in bulk this year, so I would lean towards the ‘over’. I’m not as excited by this bet as by others, though.
Will any pitcher have more than 7.5 complete games? - The other way to ask this question is, how many complete games will Roy Halladay have? He owns this category, and has had nine each of the last two years. No other guy has had more than seven, though, so your view on this one depends on how you feel about Halladay. The ‘under’ is at +125, so it pays to be pessimistic here.
Roy Halladay win total (17) - This is turning into a Halladay love-fest. Like I have said a couple of times, I continue to be very high on him. He has won more games than this in three of the last four years, and the one time he didn’t he won 17 games in 32 starts. He has given me no reason not to trust him, and he has a solid team behind him. The ‘over’ is the underdog at -105, so I’ll happily take that.
Trevor Cahill win total (13.5) - I’m buying into Oakland’s hype -- even though the AL West always seems to produce teams that break my heart. They have improved significantly, and should be able to contend. Cahill is coming off an 18-win season that I don’t think was a total fluke. He’s young, but last year was his second year of solid work, so he can likely handle it. He has a solid bullpen behind him, and the bats to help him out when he isn’t sharp. The ‘over’ is the underdog at +105 here. I hate being this optimistic about so many guys, but I think Cahill is comfortably good enough to go ‘over’ this number if he stays reasonably healthy.
Mariano Rivera save total (34.5) - Rivera is obviously at least as good as any closer we have ever seen. He’s 41 years old, though, and he has gone ‘under’ this number twice in four years -- including last year. I couldn’t respect the guy more, but it’s very hard to be bullish on any pitcher in his situation -- even if he could teach Charlie Sheen a thing or two about having tiger blood in his veins. I’ll take the ‘under’.
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