We're now a month into the Major League Baseball season. We still have more than five months left, so remember this is a really long grind. The Houston Astros have been the biggest surprise of the season thus far. They are an improved team, but time will tell if they are really the best team in the AL West. It's no big surprise that the St. Louis Cardinals have the best record in baseball at this stage. The Nationals and Indians have been the biggest disappointments in my book, but they both have a lot of time to get things turned around. Don't write anyone off this time of the year.
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The Major League Baseball regular season is a marathon, and over the course of the season you'll want to latch onto certain trends that could make your season a profitable one. Doc's Sports will be doing a bi-weekly totals trends report to keep tabs on which teams are trending in one direction or the other. Statistics in this report are for games played between April 22 and May 5.
Top Five "Over" Teams (Number of Overs Listed First)
1. Oakland Athletics (10-2-1) How do they do it? On paper, this Oakland Athletics offense isn't any good. They continue to pile up the runs, though. This is a team that always seems to overachieve offensively. For that, I have to give the credit to the Moneyball strategy of Billy Beane. The problem for Oakland is they are giving up too many runs. They have committed 24 errors already this year in only 28 games. The starting rotation has only been decent, and the bullpen isn't as good as they have been in the past.
2. Cleveland Indians (9-3) This is a team that has disappointed me in a big way. I expected a lot from Cleveland this year. I still think they are far better than their record, but the Indians have been a mess early in the season. The offense has picked it up in the past week, but the pitching staff is underperforming. Corey Kluber doesn't look like the same guy as last year's Cy Young winner. This is a team that could continue to see some high-scoring games with a poor defense and an offense that is getting healthy.
3. Houston Astros (8-5) The Houston Astros have been slugging home runs like it's nothing in the past couple weeks. Houston has an interesting combination right now. They are second in the majors in home runs with 41. They are also first in the league in stolen bases with 33. George Springer suffered a concussion on Tuesday night, and he's the star of this offense, so that will slow this team down. Luis Valbuena has seven homers already this year, and that's definitely an outlier. Totals will likely be too inflated on the Astros games in the near future.
4. Toronto Blue Jays (8-6) Here's a team that has the makeup of an over team all the way around. Toronto's offense is tremendous at least through the No. 5 spot in the order. The Blue Jays rotation isn't very good, and their bullpen is one of the worst in baseball. Look for Toronto to continue to have a bunch of slugfests throughout the season.
5. Washington Nationals (8-6) I'm surprised to see Washington show up on this side of the report, and I see this as an opportunity to look for unders in the next few weeks. Washington's offense is only mediocre, while their pitching staff is the best in baseball. The defense was bad early in the year, but they are slowly improving. Look for a lot of low-scoring games from the Nationals this season.
Top Five "Under" Teams (Unders Listed First)
1. Tampa Bay Rays (11-2) The type of run that Tampa Bay is on right now to the under is the reason that following trends in baseball can be so profitable. Here we have a scuffling offense and a pitching staff that is pitching brilliantly. That combination can lead to a ton of 1-0 or 2-1 games in a short period of time. The oddsmakers will try to catch up to this team soon, so be careful.
2. San Francisco Giants (3-8-1) In the first report, I talked about how disappointing the reigning World Series Champions had been. Their pitching staff decided to go out and dominate for two weeks, and now the Giants are back above .500 and playing terrific baseball. Madison Bumgarner dominating should surprise absolutely no one. The terrific efforts of late from Chris Heston and Tim Lincecum are surprising, though. The bullpen is still one of the best in baseball.
3. Pittsburgh Pirates (7-3-2) The primary reason for the Pirates having a spot on this side of the report is their disappointing offense. I still expect the Pirates to be a pretty good team this year, and the offense should be better than they have shown. Andrew McCutchen is having a down year by his standards, but I'm confident that will change. Josh Harrison and Starling Marte will be better as well.
4. Seattle Mariners (9-4) Nelson Cruz is hitting the cover off the ball, but he needs some help. The rest of the Mariners offense isn't doing enough right now. Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager are generally reliable contributors, but they haven't been hitting the ball this season. Seattle has been another big disappointment thus far. The under is 7-3 in the Mariners last 10 road games.
5. Texas Rangers (7-4-1) I feel like everyone keeps waiting for the Texas Rangers from 2012 or 2013 to come back. They aren't coming back this year! This isn't the type of team that is going to play in a bunch of high-scoring games. The Rangers offense isn't awful, but it certainly isn't good. The oddsmakers set some very high totals on Texas' home games, so I think looking for opportunities to take the under on Rangers home games could be a profitable strategy this season.
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Read more articles by Aaron Smith
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