Players have reported to camp and Spring Training games are in full swing, which means Opening Day is just a little more than a month away. So now that rosters, are for the most part set, there is no better time to start looking at handicapping regular season win totals.
sportsbooks operators in Las Vegas have hung their numbers on the board
for each and every big league team and we turned those odds over to our
roster of Covers Experts handicappers and asked them to give their favorite Over picks for the 2017 MLB season win totals:
Ben Burns: San Francisco Giants - Over 87.5
"San Fran blew 30 of 73 save opportunities last season. Not only was that the most in the majors last season but it also ranked in the top 10, in terms of most blown saves in a season, of all-time. Yet, the Giants still won 87 games. Signing free agent reliever Mark Melancon should help improve in that area and should translate to a few more wins over the course of a season. Go Over 87.5."
Zack Cimini: Arizona Diamondback - Over 77.5
"Lets face it the Diamondbacks have been a mess and have made some questionable acquisitions in recent years. Yet, they have a solid young core of bats that are now healthy. A little more consistency with pitching and they should topple this low win total."
Teddy Covers: Boston Red Sox - Over 92.5
"Forget the fact that Boston has Chris Sale, David Price and last year’s Cy Young award winner (Rick Porcello) at the top of their rotation. Forget the fact that the Red Sox have a healthy Pablo Sandoval and a hungry Mitch Moreland primed to make up for Big Papi’s departed production. This bet is all about the Red Sox in ‘win now’ mode. Expect Boston to be a "buyer" at the trading deadline, with an even better lineup and bullpen down the stretch than they have today."
Al McCordie: Atlanta Braves - Over 75.5
"No team in the Majors has as many things new and old in 2017 as the Atlanta Braves. On the "new" side there is, first and foremost, a new ballpark to replace the aging Turner Field. Nobody knows exactly how this park will play, but after having subjected the fans to boring, low-scoring games at Turner Field for most of the past decade, it's a good bet that SunTrust Park will be much more of a hitters paradise and that should help the rejuvenated Braves' lineup.
"Next, there are some new faces, most notably a shortstop who is already being called a favorite for NL Rookie of the Year. After getting called up late in 2016, Dansby Swanson will get a full season in 2017 and he should give Atlanta some pop at the back-end of a lineup which has been sorely needing it for some time. Coupled with new-comer, veteran Brandon Phillips at second, this tandem should make the Braves one of the most solid up-the-middle defensively. Also, the top of the lineup is deceptively strong, with Freddie Freeman (looking to make a run at an MVP) having the protection of cleanup hitter Matt Kemp behind him for an entire season. They have a shot at hitting 60-plus homers between them."
Will Rogers: Colorado Rockies - Over 80.5
"Over the break, the Rockies signed Ian Desmond to a 5-year $70 million (highest paid free agent) contract. They also bolstered their bullpen with Mike Dunn. Perhaps most importantly of all, they added an experienced manager, Bud Black. I expect them to be much better than last year. The Rockies haven't gone over the 80-win mark any of the past six seasons. They should do so this year."
AAA Sports: Washington Nationals - Over 91.5
Nats are the ultimate tease team, seeming to at least play well every
other season (95 wins last year, 96 in 2014) but falling apart in the
playoffs. Now a sense of urgency has settled in as Bryce Harper enters
his second-to-last season before bolting in free agency and 91-year-old
team owner Ted Lerner yearns for a championship before he gets tapped on
the shoulder from above.
"Washington still has great starting
pitching (Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer, Tanner Roark), but the
bullpen is once again a question mark and there is no experienced closer
on the roster. All eyes will be on phenom rookie of the year favorite
Trea Truner, who moves from center to his natural position at shortstop.
Turner hit .342 with 40 RBIs and 33 stolen bases in half a season in
2016, and should be the leadoff batter for the next decade if things go
right. The Nats need a bounce-back year from Harper, decent production
from new CF Adam Eaton and half-decent production from aging first
baseman Ryan Zimmerman to keep the Mets off their tails in a very
winnable National League East. Washington should again pile up plenty of wins against Philadelphia, Atlanta and Miami – at least enough to get to
Power Sports: Pittsburgh Pirates - Over 82.5
"Last year saw Pittsburgh collapse, falling from 98 all the way down to 78 wins. Will they improve enough to make the playoffs this year? We're not sure, but they will increase their win total by at least five. A curiously poor 19-30 record in day games last year seems pretty random, as does a losing record at PNC park. Those two areas alone should result in the increase we need, but the pitching staff is also projected to improve, especially if Gerritt Cole can stay healthy."
Brandon Shively: Chicago White Sox - Over 68.5
"The Chicago White Sox have some solid young talent. Tim Anderson is going to be a star in the league and I think he takes a big step forward this season. Jose Quintana is an underrated starter and I expect Carlos Rodon to continue to improve. While this isn't going to be a really good team, this line is set too low. The White Sox should fall in the 72-76 win range, which gives us nice value on the Over for the season win total."