Free MLB Betting Predictions: Pitcher Win Totals for 2019
Wins totals for pitchers are simultaneously mostly meaningless and very fascinating. A pitcher can pile up wins without pitching particularly well, and they can pitch the lights out and not get the results to show for it. Wins require run support, luck in terms of the schedule they have to face, and so much more. But even though we know that they are a show stat instead of a truly meaningful one, we can't help but we seduced by wins and attracted to betting on them. So, BetOnline's individual player totals for wins are much more compelling and tempting than they probably should be. Here are six that stand out as particularly interesting to me:
Marco Estrada, Oakland, 8.5: Estrada will turn 36 in July and is coming off a lousy year, so there is some real risk in being optimistic here. But he had gone over this total the previous three years, he is a guy who doesn't throw that hard so he won't age horribly, and he is on a dramatically better team this year than the horror show that was the Blue Jays last year. He missed some starts last year, so he needs to be healthy here, but the over feels like the right place to be at this number. Unfortunately, I am far from the only one who feels so - the over is already at -150.
Aaron Nola, Philadelphia, 12.5: In his fourth season, and the first in which he made every start, Nola fully looked like an ace. He won 17 games, and his WHIP of 0.97 was very impressive. He's young - he only turns 26 this June - so he still has room to improve. And his team went all in this winter, so they will be able to provide support for him. There's always a risk with a strikeout artist like this that he'll throw his elbow out, but if he can stay healthy then this seems like a very manageable number. The over is at -150, so it's not bettable, but it is definitely the right side.
Chris Archer, Pittsburgh, 10.5: I can't think of too many pitchers in recent years who have been more frustrating than Archer. He looked like a guy who definitely had the potential to be a legitimate ace. But he never really found his way in Tampa. He has topped out at 12 wins back in 2015 and hasn't had a winning season since, going 10-9 in 2014. He was a guy who was just screaming for a change of scenery, and it came at the deadline last year. He was okay in Pittsburgh in 10 starts last year, but not dramatically improved. I want him to improve, and I still see potential - he's only 30 and his stuff can be electric - but the over is at -150, and that just doesn't make sense. It's not like Pittsburgh is going to be a great team that is going to gift wins to their pitchers. I like the under.
James Paxton, New York Yankees, 12.5: This is a very interesting case. I really like the acquisition of Paxton - and not just because he is my fellow Canadian. He's a strong pitcher with dynamite stuff when he's on - as his no-hitter proved. But he has capped out at 12 wins in his career, and though the Yankees are a better team than the Mariners have been, it's not like pitchers have shone for New York or that the transition to New York is always easy - ask Sonny Gray about that. Paxton has only ever thrown in 28 games in a year, so there is upside just because of potential starts if he can stay healthy. I lean towards the over when all is said and done, but probably more with my heart than my head. This is a tough number.
Jacob deGrom, New York Mets, 14.5: The first instinct would be to take the over on a pretty reasonable number when you are talking about the defending Cy Young winner. But then you remember that the guy was just 10-9 last year, so wins don't always come easy no matter how good you are. And you remember that the Mets are in the NL East, and there are three very strong teams in that group, so wins are going to be tough to come by for this squad. And you remember that the guy is going to have a target on his back now because of his success and that other guys struggled to duplicate their performance after a somewhat surprising Cy Young win. deGrom won 15 games two years ago, so he is certainly capable of going over this number. But with both sides at the same price, I have to take the under.
Aaron Sanchez, Toronto, 8.5: This is my favorite number on the board. I am all about the over here - in a big way. Sanchez has had two very ugly years, dealing with a number of injuries and setbacks, with recurring blister issues being at the forefront. He says he is healthy now, though, and he has certainly pitched like it in the spring. In his last healthy year in 2016 he went 15-2 and finished seventh in AL Cy Young voting. This edition of the Toronto team isn't nearly as good as that one was, but they aren't going to be horrible. Sanchez is playing for a contract and maybe a ticket out of town. If he can turn that into a positive rather than a distraction, and if his health holds up, then he can blow this number out of the water. I love his stuff, and I love the over here.
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