MLB Betting and Handicapping: Totals Trends Report
by Aaron Smith - 7/2/2013
Halfway through the calendar for 2013, and we are also halfway through the 2013 Major League Baseball regular season. Who would have guessed that halfway through the season it would be the Pittsburgh Pirates with the best record in baseball? Cleveland has pulled back into a virtual tie with Detroit at the top of the AL Central. There are plenty of interesting races setting us up for an interesting second half.
Those who followed the totals trends report early this year may remember that the ‘over’ was running at slightly above 54 percent for the first few weeks of the season. Some bettors were wondering if this would be the year of the ‘over’, but these things seem to always have a way of evening themselves out. In the past 30 days, the ‘under’ is 189-156 (53.3% under) in all Major League Baseball games. So far this year, there have now been 589 games finishing over the total and 580 finishing under the posted total.
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 June 11 and June 30.
Top Five ‘Over’ Teams (Over listed first then under)
Philadelphia Phillies (12-7) - Philadelphia’s offense has gotten a nice boost from the return of Chase Utley. Utley has a nine-game hitting streak, and he is clearly this team’s most consistent run producer. Dominic Brown is second in the National League with 21 home runs. It isn’t just the offense that has the Phillies playing higher scoring games. Philadelphia’s bullpen ranks second to last in the majors with a 4.60 ERA.
San Diego Padres (11-6-1) - San Diego has been more competitive than most people expected them to be this year. The Padres have been one of the bottom five offenses in baseball the last two years. So far in 2013 the Padres rank right in the middle of the pack in runs per game at 4.12 per contest. Another largely overlooked factor for most bettors is the fact that Petco Park’s fences were moved in before the season. The over is 44-35-3 in the Padres first 82 games this year.
Los Angeles Dodgers (11-7) - Yasiel Puig has been baseball’s biggest story the last few weeks, and he has definitely played a major role in the Dodgers offensive improvements of late. As bad as they started the season, the Dodgers are now only 5.5 games back in the tightly packed National League West standings. They’ll need some improved pitching from the bullpen if they are going to win the division.
Miami Marlins (10-6-1) - Miami has the worst record in baseball, but they have been playing surprisingly well of late. A healthy Giancarlo Stanton does a lot for this lineup, and rookie Marcell Ozuna has been amazing in the past few weeks. The offense hasn’t been great of late, but it has been good enough to get the Marlins over some very low posted totals. The oddsmakers will have to slowly adjust their numbers.
Chicago White Sox (10-7) - The White Sox lost 19-10 and 9-8 in the two doubleheader games against the Cleveland Indians this past Friday. Anytime your pitching staff allows 28 runs in a single day, you know you have some real problems. Adam Dunn has finally started hitting the ball. Paul Konerko should be back in the lineup this week. The White Sox appear to have packed it in for the year with their sloppy play of late. This team has committed 56 errors.
Top Five ‘Under’ Teams (Under listed first then over)
Texas Rangers (13-5-1) - Bettors need to remember that this isn’t the same old Texas Rangers from a few years ago. This team can beat you with its offense, but the true strength of this squad is the pitching staff. Despite pitching in a hitter-friendly ballpark for half of their games, the Rangers have the seventh best team ERA in baseball. This is a dangerous team come playoff time because of their ability to win in many different ways.
Cincinnati Reds (12-5-1) - To put it simply, the Reds are on this list because they haven’t been able to hit the ball at all lately. The Reds have been shut out four times in the past two weeks. They have only scored more than five runs in a game once since June 12. Cincinnati’s lineup is badly underperforming expectations right now. After a strong start, Shin-Soo Choo and Brandon Phillips have both struggled of late. The Reds need more out of Todd Frazier as well.
Colorado Rockies (12-5-2) - Troy Tulowitzki has been on the disabled list of late, and that has slowed this Rockies offense down significantly. While there are still plenty of talented hitters in this lineup, Tulowitzki is the most consistent run producer on this roster. Dexter Fowler is one of the best leadoff hitters in the game as well, and he has missed five straight games. Interestingly, the under is 5-0 in those five games.
Houston Astros (11-5-1) This is one of those cases where the oddsmakers just got a little bit ahead of themselves. Houston was on a solid over run for quite some time, and the oddsmakers bumped up the posted totals on Astros games a little too far. This is still a team that can’t hit right-handed pitching at all. As a team, the Astros are batting only .224 against right-handed pitchers.
Cleveland Indians (13-6) - The Cleveland Indians have jumped back into a tie with the Detroit Tigers largely due to much improved pitching over the last few weeks. Justin Masterson leads all of baseball with three complete game shutouts already this year. He is turning into a true number one starter for the Indians. Vinnie Pestano seems to be settling into his new role as the team’s closer. Cleveland has been consistently winning close games. The Indians have won six games by a single run in the past 16 days.
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