by Mike Hayes - 05/30/2006
With more than a quarter of the Major League Baseball season in the books, it's time to take a look at which wagering trends are likely to continue to turn a profit and which are likely to wilt with the summer heat.
We'll start with the Detroit Tigers, who at 35-15 have the best record in all of baseball and have also been the most profitable. The Tigers are clearly for real, and as a result should keep on winning thanks to a pitching staff that boasts a 3.38 earned run average, the best in all of baseball and .66 runs per game less than the White Sox, who at 4.04 have the second lowest in the American League.
It is no coincidence therefore that the Tigers have also proven to be the best under play in baseball this season, having been involved in 30 unders to just 17 overs. If the Tigers pitching holds up, so should this trend, especially at home, where at 8.21 runs per game at Comerica Park ranks just ahead of Petco in San Diego in terms of the stingiest stadiums for runs scored.
Camden Yards in Baltimore has been baseball's most offensive friendly park, with an average of 11.7 runs per game, a stat no doubt aided by an equally offensive Baltimore pitching staff that allows 5.61 runs per game, a figure better than only the Royals at 6.24. As a result, the Orioles have been involved in the second most overs with 31.
The Marlins have been in the most overs at 32, a number that has more to do with lousy pitching than Dolphins Stadium, which at 9.83 runs per game ranks in the middle of the pack among major league ballparks.
The best bets among starting pitchers so far have been Oakland's Rich Harden and Toronto's Roy Halladay and Gustavo Chacin. The A's are 5-0 in games started by Harden while Jays have gone 8-1 in games started by Halladay and 6-1 in Chacin's starts. Halladay is a stud and this trend will continue, but Chacin and his 5.11 earned run average have been the beneficiaries of a potent Toronto offense. Harden remains a question mark because he is on the disabled list with a back problem, but it is worth noting that the A's have been one of baseball's best second half teams in recent years and has been their pattern they have struggled so far this year.
Other solid bets so far have been the Mets Tom Glavine, Diamondbacks Brandon Webb and Red Sox Curt Shilling, as each club is 9-2 in games they start.
Tampa Bay's Scott Kazmir has been the most profitable pitcher so far this season, with the Devil Ray's going 8-3 in games started by the southpaw. A $100 money line wager on the Devil Rays in each of Kazmir's starts this season has yielded a profit of $760.
The most profitable parlay pitchers have been Freddy Garcia of the White Sox and Kris Benson of the Orioles, both of whom have been involved in six winning games that have gone over the run total. The best under parlay goes to the Red Bronson Arroyo who has posted six wins that have been under the run total.
The Mets are a league best 14-6 in games decided by a single run, which explains their dismal 21-28 record and minus $712 figure in run line games. The Pirates are a league worst 5-15 in one-run affairs. A team's record in one-run games is difficult to figure when handicapping as it is not always the result of a tangible trait. Take the Washington Nationals last season. Prior to the All-Star break the Nats had a stretch of 12 straight wins in one-run games only to drop 13 of 14 games later in the season. Even still, a lot of the Mets success has been the result of their bullpen so this trend might continue. It's hard to imagine however, that the Buc's bad luck can continue at such a clip so they might start winning some of those one-run games at decent money line odds.
In addition to the Tigers, other solid money line teams this year have been the surprising Diamondbacks and the not-so surprising Cardinals, White Sox, Red Sox and Mets. I'm not convinced the Diamondbacks are going to continue their winning ways but the others should. In addition to the Tigers and Diamondbacks, 31-19 and 29-20 respectively, good run-line plays to date have been the White Sox, who at 27-22 have returned a $968 profit for a $100 wagered on each of their 49 games and the Rockies who at 30-20 on the run line have so far been good for a $700 profit.
The Astros, at 18-33 and minus $1700, and Twins at 19-30 and minus $1585 are far and away baseball's worst run line plays.
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