Spring Training games are in full swing and pitchers are ramping up to Opening Day, which means we have just over a month to handicap all the awesome season long Major League Baseball props the Westgate LV Superbook has released for for the 2017 season.
One of the more exciting baseball props you can follow along with all season is starting pitcher regular season win totals and we turned those odds over to our roster of Covers Experts handicappers and asked them to give their favorite picks for the 2017 MLB season win totals:
Ben Burns: Marcus Stroman Over 10.5
Health had previously been a problem for Stroman. Last year, he stayed fairly healthy but managed only nine wins. That sub-par result has helped keep this season's projected win total quite low. He enters spring training in great health and with a great attitude. Supported by what should be a strong Jays' offense, I like his chances of exceeding 10 wins. Go Over 10.5.
Teddy Covers: Most wins by any pitcher - Under 21.5
"Rick Porcello won 22 games in 33 starts last year and Jake Arrieta won 22 games in 33 starts in 2015. No other pitcher has won more than 21 games over the last five seasons. Given the nature of MLB circa 2017, pitchers don’t get enough starts and they leave too many decisions in the hands of the bullpen to expect the exception this year, rather than the rule. At -110, I have little hesitation expecting the winningest pitcher in baseball this year to finish with 21 victories or less."
Larry Ness: Marcus Stroman, Blue Jays (Over 10.5 wins)
"Could Stroman be the best pitcher on the best starting pitching staff in baseball? You’ll get arguments from Boston and Washington, but the Jays will have a solid rotation and Stroman looks ready for a breakout year. Injury (2015) and inconsistency (2016) have held back the 5-foot-7 Stroman over the last few years, but all systems are a go this time around.
"Stroman’s numbers last season were mediocre (9-10, 4.37), but they were skewed by a slow start punctuated by a terrible June and over the final three months his ERA was 3.40 and he was one of the better starters in the American League – so good that he led the Jays past Baltimore in the wild-card game and pitched well in an ALCS loss. The key stat was 204 innings pitched. Stroman is now nearly three full years removed from ACL surgery, so health certainly should not be an issue. Neither is confidence a problem. Getting to 11 wins should not be a problem."
Will Rogers: Chris Archer (TB) - Over 12.5
Archer is mostly known as a strikeout pitcher, but this year I expect him to be a strikeout and a winning pitcher. Last season, he was admittedly pretty mediocre, having a 4.02 ERA in 33 games. He also gave up a really high amount (30) of home runs, 11 more than his previous worst. That has everyone really down on him entering this season and has kept his projected win total much lower than it could be, given his talent. Keep in mind that Archer, 28, is in his prime and that he's still got outstanding stuff. Expect him to bounce back and get over 12.5 wins.
Bradon Shively: Yu Darvish (TEX) - Over 12.5, Felix Hernandez (SEA) Under 12.5
"There is always some risk as far as injuries with Darvish, but this guy has elite stuff. He also plays on a team where he will get plenty of run support. Darvish has some great swinging strike numbers in his career, and when you miss as many bats as he does, you are going to put yourself in a lot of good positions. We haven't yet seen the best of Darvish and I'll gladly take the over here.
"Felix Hernandez has been one of the best pitchers of the past decade, but all of his numbers from last year look like he is on the decline right now. Hernandez has pitched a lot of innings in his career and I expect his downward trends to continue. His walk rate is double what it was just a couple years ago. Hernandez no longer has the ability to blow everyone away. I'm not saying he is a bad pitcher, but I think he no longer is elite. Take the under."
AAA Sports: Justin Verlander (DET) - Under 13.5
"Subtle signs point to a gradual decline for Verlander, who many believed should have won the Cy Young Award (he finished second, to Rick Porcello of the Red Sox) last season. Start with the wear-and-tear factor. Verlander will be 34 years old this season and barring injury will have some 2,500 total innings on his arm by late in 2017.
"He is coming off a season in which he threw 228 innings, the most since 2012. And it shows a bit – the velocity on his fastball has dropped from a high average of nearly 96 in 2010 to the 92- to 93-mph range last season. Then there’s the team around him. Detroit has avoided a complete rebuild for another year and is hoping to bleed one more productive season out of closer Francisco Rodriguez, but the Tigers look like just OK and they have little chance of overtaking Cleveland in the American League Central. Management might consider a sell-off if things look bleak in late July. Verlander was able to save his season after a slow start last year, but doing so again will be that much more difficult this time around."
Power Sports: Danny Duffy (KC) - Under 11.5, Corey Kluber (CLE) - Over 14.5
"Duffy won 12 games last year despite a pretty pedestrian ERA (3.56) and WHIP (1.132). The Royals will absolutely be a worse team this season and there will be increased pressure on Duffy due to the tragic death of Yordano Ventura. The Royals fielding can only carry Duffy so far in what will be a season of big regression.
"Kluber ended up winning 22 games last year. No way he dips this much given the Indians play in an incredibly weak division and the fact he continues to post solid numbers, year after year."