Angels Strong Bet on the Road
by Trevor Whenham - 06/25/2008
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim may not have the most straightforward name, and that causes confusion about where they actually play at home, but there is no doubting the team's ability to play when they leave their cozy confines of home. The team has 26 wins away from home. Only one other team, the Cardinals with 22, has more than 20. They have lost only 12 road games - four better than the second best Cards, and a ridiculous 15 better than league-worst Atlanta and Colorado. They have a better record on the road than they do at home (22-18). They are one of only four teams that can claim that, and the only one with a record better than .500. In short, it is a very good thing when they leave home.
Needless to say, the Angels are also a stellar road team for bettors. They are by far the best team in the league for road profits, and they have returned almost 50 percent more than the Cards. It's not surprising that they are so profitable on the road given that they are tied for the most wins overall in the league. The road betting success here is particularly noticeable, though, because the Angels are actually betting losers overall at home. From a betting perspective, then, it is fair to say that this team has two distinctive personalities.
The interesting characteristic of the road betting success is that the public doesn't really seem to be catching on. The team is clearly a force on the road, and they have a fairly consistent rotation without a serious weak spot, yet they have been underdogs in six of their last 10 road games, and dogs of at least +120 in four of those six. They have won five of those six games, so it's not a wonder that they practically print money away from home.
Though the road success of the Angels is reasonably unique, by looking at the characteristics of the team's road success we may be able to spot other teams that are due for some big success that we can capitalize on. Here, then, are five traits that make up the road success of the Angels:
1. Level of competition - The Angels have been good, but they have also been pretty lucky. Just look at some of the trips they have made so far - Seattle twice, Texas, Detroit, Kansas City, Toronto, Washington. Fully half of their games have been against teams no better than .500, and four of those teams are sitting in last place in their division. It's not just that they have had weak spots in their schedule, either - they've taken advantage of them. They are 14-9 against the lesser lights on their schedule.
2. Defense - The combination of the pitching and the team's defense has made it easy for the team to win on the road. This much is obvious - if you stop teams from scoring much then you will win more than you lose. They have allowed three or fewer runs in 22 of their 38 road games, and they have won 18 of those games.
3. Short trips - As I write this the Angels are in the midst of a nine-game road trip, visiting three cities. That is the first time all year that they have had to play more than two series in one trip, and it will be the first time that they play more than six games in one stretch. Obviously, it's easier for a team to keep it together and play well on short trips than it is on longer ones, so the Angels have benefited from their scheduling.
4. Strong underdogs - The team is an underdog a surprising amount of the time on the road, and they have made the most of it. The potential return has been bigger than the amount bet in 19 different games this year (half of all they have played), and they have won 12 of them. That's clearly a significant reason for the team's betting success.
5. Consistency - The Angels have played 13 road series so far this season. They have won 11 of them. They were swept by the upstart Rays and were surprised by the Mariners and dropped two of three, but they have won the majority of the games in the other 11 cases. Those series wins have come against the worst team in the league and some of the best. That remarkable level of success not only means that there has been some money to be made on this team by betting the series price. It also means that the team probably has a collective goal of winning each series. Those kind of short-term goals are a great way to achieve success.