MLB Totals Betting Analysis and Wagering Tips
by Indian Cowboy - 6/10/2013
Some baseball teams are involved in a lot of high-scoring games. Other teams play a lot of low-scoring affairs.
But scoring a lot of runs, and/or giving up a lot of runs, doesn't necessarily mean a team will play a lot of “overs”. Reversely, teams that have trouble scoring but also possess strong pitching don't necessarily play mostly “unders”.
Oddsmakers are pretty darn good at reading teams and posting baseball totals, and it's their numbers we're trying to beat when betting those totals.
Here's a quick look at some teams that have leaned significantly one way or the other on the MLB betting totals so far this season and some possible reasons why.
One preliminary note: so far this season (through Saturday, June 8) MLB betting totals have leaned toward the over by a 466-433 margin (52 percent).
Best Over Teams
LA Angels, 38-25 – Probably better known at the moment for their disappointing W/L record, the Anaheimers have played more overs so far this year than anybody else.
Offensively, even with all those boppers in the lineup, the Halos rank only 13th in the Majors in scoring at 4.4 runs per game. But Angels pitching ranks 26th with a 4.41 ERA.
Jered Weaver has started only four games this season because of that elbow injury, CJ Wilson owns an ERA above four, and Joe Blanton has been a disaster. And the Angels bullpen hasn't helped, ranking 24th among all pens with a 4.25 ERA.
Also, the Angels have gone 20-13 on the totals in home games, in part because the Big A is generally regarded as pitchers' park. Consequently, oddsmakers have generally been a little low in their posting of totals on Angels home games.
Tampa Bay Rays, 34-23 – Tampa, with three guys with double-digit homers, ranks fifth in scoring at 4.9 RPG; but after trading James Shields, and with David Price going through a post-Cy Young slump, the Rays also rank 21st in team ERA at 4.26. And their bullpen ranks 23rd with a 4.11 ERA.
Also, like the Angels, the Rays play their home games in a park that oddsmakers seem to be underestimating on the totals; games played at the Trop this year have gone 19-10 on the over/unders.
Houston Astros, 36-26 – Houston's offense ranks 23rd in scoring at 3.8 RPG, and we're surprised they're doing that well. But the pitching staff ranks dead last in the Majors with an ERA of 5.00, and they own maybe the worst bullpen in baseball, considering it ranks last with a 4.88 ERA. So no under is safe as long as the Astros pen has a chance to throw some gas on the fire.
Other top over teams so far this year include the Detroit Tigers, with a lineup that averages 5.2 RPG, at 35-25 and the Baltimore Orioles, with their fifth-ranked offense and 29th-ranked pitching staff, also at 35-25.
Bettors should note that four of the Top-5 over teams rank in the Bottom 10 in bullpen ERA.
Also, as sports bettors well know, trends like these are apt to reverse themselves over the course of a full season, and that fact should be considered before wagering. For instance, the Oakland A's began this season by playing 24 overs through their first 29 games; since then the A's have gone 12-24 on the totals.
Best Under Teams
Kansas City Royals, 22-36 – No team in baseball has played more unders so far than Kansas City, thanks to the simple combination of an offense that ranks 22nd in scoring at 3.9 RPG and a pitching staff that ranks fifth with a 3.52 ERA. Through Saturday, not one Royals hitter had more than six home runs, while the top three in their starting rotation owned a collective ERA of 3.12. And the KC bullpen ranks fourth in the Majors with a 2.84 ERA.
Chicago White Sox, 21-34 – The Southsiders rank just 27th in scoring at 3.5 RPG but 11th in ERA at 3.76. Offensively, the Sox don't have one regular hitting .300, they don't walk much, and they strike out too much. But on the “good news” side of the board, their starting pitching has been pretty good, and their bullpen is 19-for-23 on save opportunities.
Texas Rangers, 24-35 – Texas ranks 10th in scoring at 4.6 runs per game but also seventh in team ERA at 3.57. Much of the Rangers' lean toward the under this season might be attributed to their reputation as bombers with the bats, which helps keep their totals among the highest on the daily MLB betting boards. Also, the Ballpark in Arlington carries a reputation of hosting high-scoring affairs. However, this year Texas home games have gone 8-17 on the over/under.
New York Yankees, 24-34 – New York has played most of this season so far without half its starting lineup, and that's had an obvious effect. Last year New York averaged just under five RPG; so far this year the Yanks have averaged 4.0 RPG. That might change, though, with the recent return of Mark Teixeira and possibly the eventual return of Curtis Granderson.
Also, Yankees pitching ranks ninth in ERA at 3.62, and the bullpen has been the best in the majors at closing games out in going 25-for-28 on save opportunities.
Also, Yankee Stadium might not be the hitters' ballpark many think it to be. So far this season Yanks home games have averaged just 7.8 RPG.
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