We're about 15 or 16 games into the Major League Baseball season for most teams. The biggest surprise of the season thus far is probably the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles were picked by many to finish last in the American League East. They sit at 10-4 so far this year thanks to a lot of close wins in the late innings. I see the biggest disappointment so far this year as the San Francisco Giants. There's plenty of time for things to change over the course of the season, though. Every team will have a slump at some time this year, but the best teams will bounce back without letting the damage get out of control.
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Doc's Sports has done an MLB Totals Trends report in the past, and we'll be doing it again this season. We'll highlight the Top Five 'Over' teams and the Top Five 'Under' teams in each article. Throughout the course of the long season, it can be very profitable to catch a team that is streaking in one direction or the other. This report will be offered on a bi-weekly basis throughout the Major League Baseball regular season.
Top Five Over Teams (Over Listed First)
1. Pittsburgh Pirates (11-5) The Pittsburgh Pirates are 8-8 so far on the year. The biggest reason the Pirates don't have a better record is that their bullpen has been a big disappointment. That's also the biggest reason the Pirates have been a great over team so far this season. Pittsburgh needs the left-handed pitchers in their bullpen to step up their production. I do think the bullpen will get better, but I also believe this Pirates lineup is underrated. Pittsburgh's totals might be too low for a little while longer.
2. Atlanta Braves (9-4-2) The Atlanta Braves are a terrible team. They lost their first nine games of the year. It won't surprise me a bit if Atlanta has the worst record in baseball this year. Julio Teheran is the ace for this starting rotation, and he has been extremely inconsistent in the past couple years. Atlanta's offense is one of the worst in baseball, so it's hard to call them an easy over team. Instead, I'll look for chances to fade the Braves this season.
3. Milwaukee Brewers (10-5-1) The Milwaukee Brewers have gone 6-2 to the over on the road so far this year. The Brewers pitching staff is second to last in the majors in ERA and dead last in the majors in WHIP. Wily Peralta has absolutely zero confidence or command right now, so I see him as a good pitcher to look to fade. Milwaukee still has some good bats in the middle of their order.
4. Detroit Tigers (9-5) No team can beat the Tigers when it comes to best lineup from the leadoff spot down through the No. 5 hole. Adding Justin Upton and putting him in the second spot in the order was a great move. Detroit's bullpen is much improved this year, but the starting rotation is still a question mark. Expect to see some very high totals in Detroit's games as the season moves along.
5. Cincinnati Reds (10-6) The Cincinnati Reds bullpen is flat out terrible. I say this as a fan of the team. It will get old for Reds fans like myself to sit and watch the bullpen get knocked around all year long, but that's exactly what we should expect. Cincinnati doesn't have anyone with any real defined role in the bullpen. When you are relying heavily on guys like Jumbo Diaz and J.J. Hoover you are in a lot of trouble.
Top Five Under Teams (Under Listed First)
1. Kansas City Royals (11-3-1) The Royals beginning in the top spot here shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. Kansas City has a shut-down bullpen and an elite defense. That's a great combination for under bettors. The Royals lineup has underperformed a bit so far this year, though, and this team's totals are being pushed lower and lower by the oddsmakers. There could be a correction coming soon.
2. Chicago White Sox (11-3-2) Chicago is 10-6 on the year despite their offense underachieving badly. That's a good sign for White Sox fans excited about the potential of this team. Jose Abreu is hitting a miserable .190, and Todd Frazier is hitting only .206. Both of those guys are a lot better than that, but Chicago is still getting the job done thanks to some terrific pitching. Mat Latos has been the biggest surprise starter in the majors. Latos has a 0.49 ERA through three starts. The White Sox bullpen is one of the best in the majors.
3. Toronto Blue Jays (12-4-1) It is a surprise to see the Blue Jays with this many unders early in the season. Toronto clearly has a stacked lineup, but they haven't clicked too well so far this year. The Blue Jays offense is better than they have shown, and if the oddsmakers adjust their totals down much more, I do expect a strong over run from Toronto at some point in the near future.
4. Oakland Athletics (11-4-1) Oakland's lineup is terrible, but the A's did upgrade their pitching staff and bullpen in the offseason. Oakland had one of the worst bullpens in the majors last year, but they are sixth in the majors in ERA so far this season. I have a feeling these Oakland totals are going to get extremely low soon, but I won't be looking to bet the over with this team, either. Oakland is a perfect 6-0 on the road so far this year, but that will be tested in a big way as their next seven games are in Toronto and Detroit.
5. Los Angeles Angels (11-5) The Los Angeles Angels have the best player in baseball in Mike Trout, but the rest of the lineup isn't anything special. Albert Pujols is clearly way past his peak, and the bottom of the Angels order is one of the worst in the American League. The Angels have already gotten nine quality starts from their rotation, but I'm not sure they'll be able to count on these results from their starters throughout the year.
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