MLB Totals Betting After the All-Star Break
by Dave Schwab - 7/12/2011
The all-star break traditionally signals the halfway point of the MLB regular season as most teams have played about 90 of the 162 games on the MLB schedule. It also marks a good time to take a look at which teams have paid their way so far this year in terms of the ‘over/under’ on the totals line. The oddsmakers traditionally do a pretty good job of keeping the total line true to the center, but there is always opportunity in some of the lines if you know where to look.
If you are seeking value in the ‘under’ line, two teams that immediately jump off the page are San Francisco in the National League and Tampa Bay in the American League. The Giants enter the break with a 35-51-6 record against the total line, which equates to their games staying ‘under’ 55.4 percent of the time. They have been especially stingy with the runs at home with 27 of their 44 games staying ‘under,’ which is 61.4 percent of the time. Recent trends have not bared these numbers out as the total has been evenly split at 6-6 in San Francisco’s last 12 games.
The Rays have been an even better ‘under’ play with an overall record of 35-51-4, which is 56.7 percent of the time. They too have been much tougher to score on at home with 30 of their 42 games at Tropicana Field this season staying ‘under’ the total, which is an amazing 71.4 percent of the time. Recent trends have held true to the overall season numbers with seven of Tampa’s last 10 games staying ‘under’ the total.
When it comes to pounding out runs, the Boston Red Sox have led the way with an average of 5.36 runs per game, but in terms of the total line, only 47.8 percent of their games have gone ‘over’ this year. The two teams that have done the best in taking their games ‘over’ have been the St. Louis Cardinals and the Houston Astros. Through 92 games, 51 of the Cardinals’ games have gone ‘over,’ which equates to 55.4 percent of the time. They have actually been a better ‘over’ play on the road this season with 28 of their 46 games, or 60.1 percent, exceeding the total line. St. Louis enters the break with five of its last eight games going ‘over’.
Houston may be mired in last place in the NL Central with the worst record in baseball (30-62), but it too has been a solid play on the ‘over’ line with 51 of its 92 games, or 55.4 percent, going ‘over’ the total. This has been especially true at home with 29 of its 47 games, or 61.7 percent, going ‘over’. The Astros have maintained these trends over their past 10 games, with six going ‘over’ the total.
Another good way to spot value in the ‘over/under’ line is to make note of the home plate umpire for a particular game if the rotation schedule has been released. Larazo Diaz and Alan Porter have led the way for low scoring games as Diaz’s 18 called-games have averaged 6.3 total runs and Porter’s 15 called-games have averaged 6.5 runs verses an MLB average of 8.5. Porter has been the ‘king of the under,’ with 12 of the 15 games staying ‘under’ the total. Greg Gibson has the next highest percentage of games staying ‘under’ with 11 of 15, or 73 percent of his called-games staying ‘under’.
If you are looking for umpires that have a tendency to favor the hitters, then start with Chris Conroy. He has only been behind home plate seven games this season, but six have gone ‘over’ the total with an average total runs scored coming in at a whopping 11.9. Gerry Davis’s games have averaged 9.8 runs, and 14 of 18 have gone ‘over’ the total. Ed Rauano’s 17 called-games have averaged 10.9 runs with 76.5 percent going ‘over’ the total.
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