MLB Betting and Handicapping: Totals Trends Report
by Aaron Smith - 5/14/2013
We’re halfway through the month of May, and the baseball action is heating up as the weather slowly warms up. After Boston shot out of the gates, it is the New York Yankees who now sit at the top of the AL East standings with the best record in baseball. The Bronx Bombers aren’t letting injuries slow them down.
Baseball is such a data-driven sport that keeping track of the numbers is a wise idea for bettors. Totals are a great way to bet on baseball, and if you can catch teams in the middle of a run, the trends can really help you have a profitable baseball season. It isn’t uncommon to see a team string together some impressive totals trends. Due to the length of the season, baseball betting is even more about trends and recent play than most sports.
Doc’s Sports did an NBA totals trends report this year, and we will be doing an MLB totals trends report every other week all season as well. Please note the statistics used in this article are for games played between May 1 and May 13.
Top Five “Over” Teams (Over listed first then under)
--Tampa Bay Rays (10-1) Before an “under” on Mother’s Day this past Sunday, the Tampa Bay Rays played 10 straight games that went over the posted total. Tampa Bay’s offense has come to life thanks to red-hot hitting from James Loney and Evan Longoria. Tampa Bay’s pitching staff hasn’t been as good as expected this year, either. The bullpen has been especially bad with a 4.52 ERA. Tampa Bay is hitting .281 against left-handed pitching this year.
-Houston Astros (9-3) Houston is high on this list because of their terrible pitching rather than an impressive offense. Houston is dead last in the majors in team ERA at 5.84. In 39 games, the Astros starting pitching staff has contributed just 10 quality starts. The bullpen isn’t much better. Houston’s bullpen is the worst in baseball, and opponents have a ridiculous .286 batting average against the bullpen. Expect opponents to continue putting up big numbers against Astros pitching.
--Atlanta Braves (9-3) The Braves actually had eight straight games finish over the posted total at one point during the past two weeks. Atlanta’s lineup is very strong now that they have Freddie Freeman and Brian McCann back. The Braves are easily first in the majors with 52 home runs this year. Everyone in this lineup is a threat to go deep. The over is 16-8 in the Braves 24 road games so far this year.
--Cincinnati Reds (7-3) Cincinnati was on the other side of this list last time around, but the Reds offense has thrived quite a bit in the last couple weeks. The Reds are now seventh in the majors in runs scored per game at 4.74 runs per contest. Adding Shin-Soo Choo as the leadoff hitter has made this offense much more dangerous. If Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier heat up, this team will pile up the runs quickly.
-New York Mets (7-3) The Mets keep finding ways to manufacture runs. Despite being 29th in the majors in team batting average, the Mets are scoring 4.40 runs per game. Citi Field is no longer one of the toughest ballparks to hit at since the team moved the fences in before last year. The Mets bullpen has an ERA of 4.76, and this team continues to lose close games because of bullpen disasters.
Top Five Under Teams (Under listed first then over)
--New York Yankees (9-3) The New York Yankees have vaulted to the top of the AL East, and they have done it thanks to much-better-than-expected pitching. The Yankees are sixth in baseball with a team ERA of 3.49. Hiroki Kuroda has turned out to be a terrific No. 2 starter for this team. Mariano Rivera is still a machine at the back of the bullpen. He is 15-for-15 in save opportunities this year.
--Boston Red Sox (8-4) The Boston Red Sox have cooled off a bit over the last couple weeks. David Ortiz, Mike Napoli, and Jacoby Ellsbury have all been slumping a bit. The pitching staff continues to benefit from great comeback seasons from Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester. Boston’s bullpen situation isn’t as clear-cut as it looked earlier this year. Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey are both out, and the team is looking for answers at the closer spot. Will the bullpen hurt this team moving forward?
--Philadelphia Phillies (8-4) The Phillies are far from the team they were a couple years ago. Previously, this was a team that was huge favorite in the NL East. However, they are now struggling to stay close to .500. The pitching staff is slowly breaking down as they age, and this lineup just has too many holes. Philadelphia is averaging just 3.54 runs per game this year. Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins are both really struggling with the bat. Can this lineup get it going or is this their new normal?
--Texas Rangers (8-4) The under is now 23-13-2 in the Rangers 38 games this year. Texas still has a good offense, but the Rangers pitching staff continues to be better than oddsmakers seem to believe. Texas has three very good starting pitchers, and the bullpen is about as deep as any in baseball. The under is 10-4-1 in the Rangers first 15 games at home this year. They’ll host Detroit in a very interesting battle of top AL teams this coming weekend.
--San Diego Padres (7-4) San Diego hasn’t been able to hit the ball for the past few years, and his Padres lineup is one of the weakest in the league once again this year. Ownership moved in the fences at Petco Park, but this team doesn’t have many guys who can take advantage. Until this team gets a couple more proven hitters, it’s hard to imagine them picking up their offensive production.
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