Opening Day is nigh for the MLB! What prop bets should you jump on now, before the truth becomes obvious? Below are three over/unders that I’m keen to play om 2017.
Wins by Corey Kluber (Indians): over 15
In four full seasons, Kluber has two unders and two overs. He hit 18 wins in both 2014 (when he also won the Cy Young) and last year. His 2015 season (9 wins; 3.49 ERA) seems like a bit of an anomaly. And really, he was only sub-par for half of it. For the better part of the last three years, he’s arguably been the best pitcher in the AL. With Cleveland adding more offense to its lineup this offseason (see Edwin Encarnacion), he shouldn’t have to be lights-out every night to hit 16 wins. He’ll just have to stay healthy, which he has a good track record of.
Runs scored by Jose Altuve (Astros): over 90.5
Altuve’s run total rose from 86 to 108 last year, a season that saw him move to third in the batting order for the majority of the second half. It was the first time in five full seasons that the diminutive Astra has topped 90 runs. He should do it again, though. He makes a living of getting on base; his power numbers are on the rise (7 HRs in 2014; 15 HRs in 2015; 26 HRs in 2016); and he has solid hitters after him in the order, including an ascending Carlos Correa, a still-viable Carlos Beltran, and an ever-productive Brian McCann.
Home runs by Giancarlo Stanton (Marlins): under 34.5
Fans have been waiting for Stanton to mash 50. But the oft-injured Marlin has never shown his true home-run potential over the course of a full season. He’s still hit the over twice, belting out 37 homers in 2012 and 2014, when he played 123 games and 145 games, respectively. The biggest concern for Stanton is always health. If he plays anything approaching 162 games, he should reach the over. But he’s averaged just 113 the last four years, and he’s never hit the 30 homer mark while playing fewer than 120 games. Throw in a Miami lineup that will see Marcell Ozuna and Justin Bour hitting after Stanton, and pitchers are going to be quick to pitch around the slugger.