Although some bettors may be skittish about making predictions this early, this handicapper's ready to make MLB picks on who he believes will surpass and go OVER the sportsbooks present figures.
Pittsburgh Pirates: OVER 83.5
There will be a general common theme in making three of these sports picks for this article. The Pirates ended their years of being baseball’s laughingstock and finishing below .500. With that out of the way in 2013, Pittsburgh has won 94 and 88 games the last two seasons and all reports during the off-season have focused on the players wanting to make the postseason and being a genuine factor. Looking at the Bucs, the everyday lineup is largely unchanged and most are in the prime of their careers. The starting pitching is above average and while the bullpen needs to come together, manger Clint Hurdle has figured out how to assemble the pieces. Milwaukee is a .500 club, Cincinnati is not and the Cubs are being oversold though improved. My top OVER MLB pick choice is on Pittsburgh.
Toronto Blue Jays: OVER 82.5
With AL East looking weaker than even last year, somebody has to step forward. Most assume it will be Boston with all their off-season moves. However, Baltimore will definitely be down, Tampa Bay’s talent pool is slipping and they lost Joe Maddon and the Yankees are stuck in neutral. Rumors in the off-season persisted of clubhouse lacking harmony, and by adding leadership like catcher Russell Martin and the best all-around third baseman in the game in Josh Donaldson, that area has been addressed especially with Brett Lawrie traded. No question the pitching cannot finish 22nd in ERA again and I expect general overall improvement and for the Blue Jays to be hanging with Red Sox in search of a division crown.
Cleveland Indians: OVER 83.5
The AL Central should be a great four-team race for a good part of the season. Cleveland shot from 68 to 92 wins from 2012 to 2013 and regression was presumed. However, thanks to Terry Francona’s message, the slippage was not precipitous and the Indians still managed to win 85 times. With Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco likely to improve the starting rotation and players like Michael Bourne and Jason Kipnis expected to rebound and adding Brandon Moss, the Tribe should push Detroit for a division title.
Detroit Tigers: OVER 84.5
When you review the Tigers, the main element you notice is this is not a team past its prime. While they might not be on the uptick, they have won between 88-95 games the last four seasons. The top five or six in the batting order are as dangerous as there is in the big leagues and if early reports on Justin Verlander prove true, that will soften the blow of losing Max Scherzer. The bullpen could hardly have been any worse last season and Detroit still won 90 games, it seems a certainty at least 87 victories is not a stretch to make a call on the Tigers.