MLB Betting Picks for BetOnline Pitcher Win Totals in 2017
by Trevor Whenham - 3/16/2017
This is a rough time to be a baseball fan. The novelty of spring training has worn off, the World Baseball Classic isn't interesting enough to consistently overcome its flaws, and all I want now is to start the season and watch, and bet on, games that actually matter. It's not too far off now, thankfully, so all we can do is wait. And to fill our time, BetOnline has a long list of pitcher win totals to peruse . Here are nine that stand out as the most interesting to consider. Some of them are packed with value:
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Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers ("over/under" 16.5): Kershaw is the best pitcher on the planet right now, but this number isn't as easy as people might think. For starters, he had a back injury that derailed last season. Can you trust him to be at full strength? Second, despite his dominance, he has actually only gone over this total twice in nine years as a starter - in 2011 and 2014. A lot of people would automatically assume the over is the right play, but the under is actually the slight - and deserving - favorite.
Aaron Sanchez, Blue Jays (o/u 12.5): This is a no-brainer in my eyes. Toronto's budding ace won 15 games last year in his first full season as a starter. He's got killer stuff and has worked on his pitch range in the offseason. He was on an innings limit last year, so he will have more opportunities this year, and I expect him to make the most of them. I love the over.
Chris Archer, Rays (o/u 12.5): Archer lost 19 games last year, which was tied for tops in the league. He wasn't as bad as that, though. His first half was pretty lousy, but in the second half he had better stuff but bad luck. He pitched well in the World Baseball Classic, and he certainly has the tools to be a top starter. His team will again be lousy behind him, but the over should be within his range this year. Unfortunately, too many people think so - the over costs a ugly -145.
Chris Sale, Red Sox (o/u 15.5): The Red Sox are certainly paying Sale to win more games than this. The issue, though, is that he has gone over this number only twice, and both times, including last year, it was just 17 wins. He has a much better team behind him now, and he'll get every chance to shine, but I still wouldn't be in any hurry to take the over.
Dallas Keuchel, Astros (o/u 13.5): This is such an interesting case. Keuchel has been a starter for parts of five years. In four of them, including last year, he was very ordinary. Not really that good at all. And two years ago he got guys out at will and won the Cy Young. So, was that one season a fluke? Or was last year just a dip and he'll return to 2015 form this year? The under is at even money, and that feels like it is worth a shot.
Felix Hernandez, Mariners (o/u 12.5): I love watching King Felix pitch. The issue, though, is that...well, there are several issues. For one, he isn't a guy who has put up big wins numbers at the best of times. And he's 30 now. That's not particularly old, but it's an old 30 - this is his 13th year as a major league starter. His velocity is dropping, and last year he struggled with injuries - and looked awful after he came back. He has pitched twice in the World Baseball Classic, looking lousy the first time and strong the second time. He'll always be a legend in my eyes, but sadly the under is the right play here.
Justin Verlander, Tigers (o/u 13.5): For a long time Verlander was as good as any guy in the sport. Then from 2013-15 he looked lost. His velocity had dipped, and he couldn't deal with it. Last year he figured out how to reinvent himself, and he was robbed of the Cy Young. So, can he do it again? Or does Father Time have something to say about this again? I lean towards the over but not with enough enthusiasm to bet it.
Stephen Strasburg, Nationals (o/u 13.5): Strasburg is a freakish talent. If he is healthy and ready he'll go over this total in his sleep. Healthy is a big risk, though. He has averaged only 23.5 starts in the last two seasons, and he's coming off an elbow injury that has to be a concern. As good as he is, the under is the strong favorite here at -130. Bettors are rightly skeptical. I hope he holds together and finally has a real year, though. We have seen only flashes of what he has promised since entering the league. I'm not betting on him, but I'm cheering for him.
Zack Greinke, Diamondbacks (o/u 12.5): On one hand Greinke is 33, and he plays in a park that hates pitchers, so there are reasons to be pessimistic. He's only a year removed from the best year of his career, though, and he was banged up last year - and he still won 13 games. I'm optimistic he and his team will be better than last year, and I like the over here quite a bit.
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