MLB Totals Betting: Wrigley Field
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 5/11/2010
In the old days anyone passing by Wrigley Field after a game could look up at the flag being flown outside the friendly confines to figure out if the Cubs won that day or not. Either a “W” or an “L” flag were flown to reflect the day’s results.
Now before a game anyone looking at a flag around Wrigley Field can also tell a lot about what is about to happen.
No other ballpark in the majors changes as much day to day depending on the weather as Wrigley Field does.
Everything from the wind patterns off Lake Michigan to the hitter-friendly outfield and foul territory dimensions affect the outcome of a game at Wrigley Field.
Both teams have to play in the same condition, that is true, but what bettors are concerned about is the total. The wind, time of the year and time of the game have as much to do with the total as the pitchers on the mound. Some totals at Wrigley Field look more like an ‘over/under’ from a Steelers/Ravens NFL game.
Little about the park has changed since 1914 so there is plenty of sample size to research from.
With Lake Michigan less than a mile away to the east of the park, the wind and the havoc it wreaks is always changing. Early in the season in April and May with the wind blowing in, would-be home runs routinely turn into routine fly balls. Things get less friendly for the pitchers as the year goes on. In the summer the wind comes in from the south and is blowing out towards the bleachers. Those routine fly balls are now being fought over by hundreds of bleacher bums.
Of course, it’s not just as simple as that. There are other variables out there to give oddsmakers an even bigger headache. There can also be cross-winds blowing at Wrigley Field and these winds often help land outfielders on blooper reels all across the majors. They can cause lots of change in direction for balls put into play.
There are other ballparks relatively close to bodies of water in the majors. What makes the wind effect at Wrigley so unique is the proximity to Lake Michigan, the size of Lake Michigan and the fact that the Cubs play a majority of their games during the day. The wind has less of an affect on the outcome after dawn.
Already this season Wrigley Field has seen six totals in the double digits, including totals of 13 and 14.5. Both of those games easily went ‘over’ the total. Even with the high totals this year the ‘over’ has gone 8-5 over the Cub’s first 13 home games.
The totals of 13 and 14.5 were the highest Wrigley Field has seen this decade. With average to mediocre pitchers on the mound a bettor can expect to see totals in the range of 10-11.5.
The wind plays a role at Wrigley Field just like the altitude used to in Colorado (it still does to a certain degree). However, not every game is going to be an offensive shootout. Good pitchers have found ways to navigate the quirky climate of Wrigley Field. Ground ball pitchers thrive at the park and teams with a solid defense also are at a big advantage considering the dimensions and the crazy things the wind can do to the ball.
Wrigley Field does not make every pitcher look awful but it can make a bad pitcher look really bad. The ‘over’ play is smartest at Wrigley Field with a below average pitcher and below average defense behind him.
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