Sports Betting Insights: MLB Totals Betting Trends
by Dave Schwab - 6/24/2014
When the summer rolls around and Major League Baseball becomes a big part of the pie as far as wagering on sports, it is important that you are taking advantage of all the opportunities the sportsbooks provide to cash in on the games.
One of my personal favorites is betting on MLB total lines. Analyzing matchups is a big part of handicapping any sport, and when it comes to baseball the primary matchup that you really need to study is between the pitcher on the mound and the batter at the plate. Starting pitchers are normally scheduled well in advance of the actual game, and there is a wealth of information you can gather on a team's remaining pitching staff that comprises its bullpen. When it comes to hitting, most teams' lineups remain fairly stable from game to game barring any injuries, so it is fairly easy to get a solid handle on what a team can do at the plate.
This leaves you with a fairly simple equation for plays on a MLB total line. When betting on the "under" you want to focus on matchups between teams that feature two quality starters facing lineups that normally do not hit the ball all over the park. Off the top of my head, two teams that fit the bill are Atlanta and San Diego. Both teams are known for quality pitching throughout the entire staff, and both have their issues scoring runs. When it comes to betting the "over" in MLB games, you want to go in the opposite direction with teams that have shaky bullpens and a power lineup that can score runs in bunches. A good example of two teams that fall into this category would be Colorado and Miami.
Each MLB matchup still has to be broken down on a number of different levels as the oddsmakers consistently do a good job at setting total lines based on these types of scoring tendencies, but more often than not you can find some solid value in one or two betting lines on any given day.
Current form is another important factor to take into consideration when betting totals. A pitcher's ERA on the year may be a solid 3.00. However, more important is their average over their last couple of starts. You may find that it is much higher or possibly even lower than the season ERA. The same goes for a team's average runs per game. Over the course of a 162-game season there are bound to be several peaks and valleys for all 30 MLB teams. Even the worst hitting teams in the league can go on a hot streak as far as scoring runs, and the top scoring teams are all going to suffer through a few scoring droughts. This is where you might be able to catch the oddsmakers sleeping if they fail to adjust accordingly for these roller-coaster rides.
Another important factor in betting MLB totals is the home plate umpire. Every MLB umpire has some specific tendencies when they are calling balls and strikes, and there are always a few at either end of the spectrum when it comes to setting strike zones.
The umpires with the smallest strike zones tend to have a good majority of their games go over the total, while the ones with a generous zone will keep most of their called games low-scoring affairs that tend to stay under. There is a very valid reason why sports betting sites such as Doc's Sports keeps a wealth of information on MLB umpires and betting trends. While a certain home plate umpire should never be the only reason that you bet one way or the other when it comes to game totals, they should be factored into the equation as having a fairly heavy influence on the outcome.
A few other factors that need to be taken into consideration when breaking down a possible total line bet on a MLB game are things such as where the game is being played and the wind and weather conditions if the game is being played outside. This can often time mean the difference between balls carrying over an outfield fence for a home run or falling just short as another long out.
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Read more articles by Dave Schwab
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