Colorado Rockies - No Place Like Home
by Harry Brewer - 07/20/2007
As we all hunt for high value plays in a baseball climate dominated by a few teams that come with high prices, it becomes easy to look at home favorites that look like can't miss picks. The problem is complacency sets in and many recreational bettors look to the best teams in the league, at home, with their ace on the hill. This is a bit of a desperation play. Trying to buy a win is how many bettors have gone broke over the years. Not only do you pay for the good home team but you also pay for jumping in bed with public money.
The Colorado Rockies at Coors Field may be the play more often than some of the better-known teams. The books know that the Rockies are solid at home and they don't come cheap, but they may end up a better value than teams like the Yankees and Red Sox. Yes, there is value in a strong home favorite. However, sometimes the steep price does not justify the risk. It would be nice if you could pick and choose dogs and even money plays all year, but the chalk is a necessary weapon in your arsenal against the bookies if you are a winning bettor over time. Colorado is a strong home team but they don't come with the same high prices of some of the big boys.
The Rockies are 26-19 at home while sitting in fourth place in the NL West. To realize the true strength of this number, take a quick look around. The Mets are in first place in the NL East with a home record of 26-20. The Braves are 2.5 games back (26-24 at home). The Padres and Dodgers are neck-and-neck In the NL West and 28-21 and 28-22 at home, respectively. The only NL team with a stronger home edge would be the Brewers in the NL Central with a home mark of 35-15.
In fact, even the mighty AL is not much of a better bargain because the top two teams in each division are all strong at home but will all be playing each other in heavily heated playoff races. Combine that with the AL's history of second half runs by streaky teams and it's more than feasible that the AL's home numbers could easily invert.
Coors Field has a reputation for big scoring, but most casual cappers assume that both teams have players that could enjoy that "hitter friendly" atmosphere. That is not the case. As a result of playing at Coors on a regular basis, the Rockies have become conditioned and accustomed to free swinging more often than not. This contact style of hitting really works in Denver but not elsewhere. The visiting teams are much more disciplined at the plate. Patient hitting in this park just doesn't fare well. Moreover, the Rockies pitchers are used to throwing in a manner that keeps the ball in the park, for the most part.
Nothing about the Rockies line-up or pitching is impressive. That's why they are in fourth place. Numbers however, don't lie. Home records like this just don't happen to bad teams by accident. This field is the favorable. For the Rockies and their fans, there truly is no place like home.