No, I do not gamble. I do not place bets. I don’t even like to play the slots. And I wouldn’t know a point spread from a cheese spread.
Still, who doesn’t like a nice little game of over/under?
Here’s a look at some over/under prop bets for our local baseball team in 2015, and whether I’ll take the over or under.
Win Total: 84½
I’ll take the under. Chicago, Cleveland, and Kansas City should all improve (especially the White Sox), and Dave Dombrowski failed to address the team’s most glaring need: The bullpen.
Home Runs: 37½. I fully expect Cabrera to bounce back with a monster year. However, run scoring and home runs are down throughout baseball. It might be asking too much of him to knock that many out. Take the under.
Batting Average: .315. How many 36-year-olds are coming off their best season ever? Will this guy ever slow down? Whether it is Yoenis Cespedes or J.D. Martinez hitting behind him, he should see a steady diet of fastballs all summer long. Over. Definitely the over.
Runs Scored: 109½. He scored 100 last year, and with this lineup, why not? He quietly had a very good season in 2014, but he’ll be 33 in June, and age may begin to creep up on him. But I’ll go with the over.
Home Runs: 29½. The Oakland Coliseum is a graveyard for home runs. Cespedes should benefit from Comerica Park, which is a much more neutral venue. Some say that he is basically the same player, offensively, that Torii Hunter was last year. I’ll disagree. Cespedes has jaw-dropping power. Take the over.
Runs Batted In: 79½. I expect Martinez to come back down to Earth a bit after his terrific 2014, but he’ll still be a good hitter. He’ll probably bat sixth behind Cabrera, V-Mart, and Cespedes. You could bat Betty White in the sixth spot in this lineup and she’d drive in 80. To take the over seems like a no-brainer.
Stolen Bases: 24½. This guy should bring back fond memories of Gary Pettis. He won’t be as dynamite a center fielder, but he’ll hit for a low average and drive everyone batty with his high strikeout total. Once he gets on base, though, he can fly. Take the over.
Games Played: 79½. I cringe every time I watch his foot slam down hard on first base. The Tigers have been trying to get him to stop doing this. Iglesias plays an aggressive style of baseball, which is great, but he seems like a major injury waiting to happen. Unfortunately, I’m taking the under.
Batting Average: .210. The pounding that Avila takes behind the plate may finally have caught up with him. He’s always had one of the prettiest left-handed swings I’ve ever seen, but he’s regressed every year as a hitter since 2011. There’s no reason to expect a reversal of that trend. Take the under.
Home Runs: 19½. He was the only Tigers regular last year with a negative WAR (-1.5). He has not improved his glove at third. That is a problem, since he is not a good outfielder, either, and this team already has the world’s best DH. He just turned 23 years old, however, and his power numbers should improve. For this year, however, expect a sophomore slump, and take the under.
Victories: 19½. He should be motivated in his contract year. Price has assumed the mantle of ace of this Detroit staff, and while he may leave at the end of the summer, Tiger fans should enjoy him while he’s here. Take the Over.
Earned Run Average: 3.99. The latest news of a sore and inflamed right triceps muscle is not encouraging, no matter what kind of spin JV and the Tigers put on it. If Verlander has health concerns, and can’t re-invent himself quickly, his slide will continue. I’m going over.
Games Started: 20. Sanchez is 31 years old, but is still one of the better pitchers in the league when he’s healthy. He started only 21 times last year. But he appears to be back. Take the over.
Victories: 9½. You shouldn’t read too much into spring training, but Simon has been awful in Lakeland, and there have to be concerns. If he continues to get pounded once the season starts, things could get ugly real fast. Under.
Victories: 12½. He’s capable of making up for the loss of Rick Porcello. With the Yankees last year, he was 1-4 with a 4.71 ERA in eight starts at home, compared to 4-0 with a 2.70 ERA in six road starts. Perhaps getting away from Yankee Stadium’s short right field porch will benefit this right-hander. I’m going over.
Saves: 19½. Take the under. Heck, there’s no guarantee he’ll still be on the team in May.
Appearances: 69½. He pitched in 69 games last year, and I’m going to take the over on this one. Unfortunately, I don’t know if this is good news or bad news for Tiger fans.