MLB Betting Trends: Third Game of a Series
by Dave Schwab - 6/13/2012
There are many important factors to take into consideration when handicapping a MLB game, such as pitching matchups, field conditions, home-plate umpires etc., but one of the most important and sometimes overlooked factor is trends. A trend is a look at past results that can sometimes go a long way towards predicting a future outcome.
Turning to this Thursday’s slate of games, all 11 matchups are finales of a three-game Interleague set. The betting trend we want to focus on here is a team’s recent performance in the third game of a series.
Starting with an early game between the New York Mets and the Tampa Bay Rays, the Mets have shown some short-term success with a 5-2 record in Game 3 of their last seven series while the Rays have a 71.7 winning percentage over the long haul with a 43-20 record in their last 63 Game 3s. The main point of difference in this matchup is with Tampa Bay’s starter, Jeremy Hellickson. The Rays are 9-1 in his last 10 starts in Game 3 of a series.
Later in the afternoon, the Detroit Tigers wrap up a three-game set against the Chicago Cubs with their ace Justin Verlander on the mound. Despite the obvious mismatch against the hapless Cubs, who have lost almost twice as many games as they have won, the Game 3 trends further back this up. Detroit is 20-7 in Verlander’s last 27 Game 3 starts while Chicago is 2-5 in Game 3 of their last seven series.
Two of the more surprising teams so far this season square off in the first night game on Thursday’s schedule when the Pittsburgh Pirates close out their series against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. The Pirates are a perfect 5-0 in the third game of their last five series while the Orioles are just 1-7 in Game 3 of their last eight series.
The Arizona Diamondbacks will probably open as road underdogs in their Game 3 matchup against the Texas Rangers, but they could be worth a second look with a perfect 7-0 record in the third game of their last seven series. It may also help that the Rangers will go with Scott Feldman as their starter. He has lost five straight starts while boasting a robust ERA of 6.39.
The Philadelphia Phillies season is headed in the wrong direction with just one win in their last 10 games. However, the trends are on their side for Thursday night’s Game 3 against Minnesota. They will send Joe Blanton to the mound as their starter. Blanton’s current form has been less-than-stellar, but the Phillies are 8-1 in their last nine Game 3s with him as their starter while the Twins have won just three of their last 13 Game 3s overall.
The Chicago White Sox have been red-hot on the road with a 10-1 record in their last 11 games heading into Wednesday night’s Game 2 against the St. Louis Cardinals. They have also had a decent amount of recent success in Game 3s with a 6-1 record in their last seven series. The Cardinals, on the other hand, have lost the third game in four of their last five series.
The final game on Thursday night offers a golden opportunity for a two-way parlay. The San Diego Padres are a woeful 8-20 in their last 28 Game 3s with the total going ‘over’ in five of their last six. The Seattle Mariners are a healthy 7-3 in the third game of their last 10 series with the total going over in five of their last seven Game 3s.
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