Their teams are expected to be at the top of the standings in the American League, and pitchers Chris Sale and Corey Kluber should be one of the big reasons for it. The two aces are predicted by sportsbooks to have the most victories in the AL this season.
The Westgate LV SuperBook put the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox aces’ projected win total at 16.5, and favors the under for both. Betting the under is at -120, while the over comes in at even money.
Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander of Houston, Carlos Carrasco of Cleveland, and Luis Severino of the New York Yankees are next with win totals at 14.5. All four are picked to hit the under at -120. Verlander and Carrasco are even money on the over. Keuchel and Severino are +110 on the over.
Pair Could Go Over
Sale and Kluber both won more than 16.5 games last season. Kluber had the best record in the league with an 18-4 record. He also posted an AL best 2.25 ERA in the 203 innings he pitched. He was second with 265 strikeouts. He accomplished this despite being on the DL for nearly a month with a back injury.
It was good enough to earn him the AL Cy Young Award for the second time in three years. Kluber garnered 28 of 30 possible first-place votes.
First-year pitching coach Carl Willis is excited to work with Kluber instead of having to face him when he was with the Red Sox.
“I think we faced him only once last year with Boston,” he said. “The stuff speaks for itself, but the repeating of the delivery and command of the baseball – it’s easy to see how he gets those results. I’m excited to watch him work.”
Sale, who at one point was a -400 to win the award, finished second to Kluber. He had more strikeouts than Kluber with 308, but had a 17-8 record and a 2.90 ERA.
Others to Watch
Another pitcher that could easily go over his projected win total is Kluber’s teammate, Carlos Carrasco. The 30-year-old right-hander was 18-6 last year in 32 games he started. He should be the No. 2 starter in the rotation, and if he has a season like 2017 should pass his number of 14.5.
Verlander and Keuchel might also get to 14.5 without much effort. Verlander was 15-8 last season, but was stuck with the cellar-dwelling Detroit Tigers for more than half the season. When he came over to the Houston Astros he went 5-0 in five starts and had a 1.06 ERA.
Keuchel, who was the ace of Houston’s staff, finished with a 14-5 record and an ERA of 2.90. He will benefit this year from Verlander being in the rotation full time. He will definitely be a welcomed mentor.
“If you’re not willing to learn, then I firmly believe you’re not going forward,” Keuchel said to reporters at Spring Training this week.