There were a quartet of MLB teams that crushed the "over" last week, but league-wide the "under" had a profitable strike rate of 56% (52-41). Cold weather tends to put a damper on offense, and there's been plenty of that the first two weeks of the campaign.
For the season, the "under" is 104-92 (53.1%). All statistics and betting information below are through Tuesday's games.
Top 5 "Over" Bets
(new) Atlanta Braves (4-9, Over Record: 9-3-1)
Detroit Tigers (7-5, Over Record: 9-3)
(new) Pittsburgh Pirates (7-7, Over Record: 9-5)
(new) Milwaukee Brewers (6-8, Over Record: 9-5)
(new) Texas Rangers (8-6, Over Record: 9-5)
The Atlanta Braves cashed five straight "overs" during the last seven days. This occurred in a three-game sweep of Miami in which they scored six runs in each game, and it continued with an 8-1 shellacking of the Dodgers on Tuesday.
The Braves bats have gotten hot after a slow start to the season, but they still rank only 20th in runs scored. This is an extremely young and/or inexperienced lineup that figures to struggle offensively most of the year. For example, the Braves leader in home runs is 31-year-old Cuban defector Adonis Garcia with a grand total of one. But fear not, "over" bettors. The pitching staff is also atrocious. Its 5.01 ERA ranks 28th in the majors. The pendulum figures to swing back towards the "under" at some point, though, given the lack of offense.
The "over" went 6-1 in the Pittsburgh Pirates last seven games. In that stretch they are just 2-5 straight up. The Pittsburgh offense has been productive as it ranks 10th in MLB in runs scored, but it has largely been the sub-par pitching that's helped causes for "over" bettors. The Pirates allowed a minimum of seven runs in each of its four consecutive losses last week, which included dropping three to Detroit and one to Milwaukee. On the season, Pittsburgh ranks 17th in the bigs with a 4.13 ERA.
The Milwaukee Brewers sported a 5-2 "over" record last week to push them into the top five in the category on the season. Interestingly, despite the stellar "over" record, Milwaukee is among the lowest-scoring teams in the league with just 3.5 runs per game. But much like Pittsburgh, the struggles on the mound have led to high run totals.
Milwaukee has the second-highest ERA in MLB with a mark of 5.37. The Brewers simply lack quality arms. This could lead to the "over" being a live option all season with Milwaukee.
Finally, the "over" has been red-hot with the Texas Rangers. They have gone "over" the posted total in four straight and six of the last seven. The Rangers boast one of the better lineups in baseball, and so far they have produced the fifth-most runs in the league. Shortstop Elvis Andrus (.375) and center fielder Delino DeShields (.319) are each batting over .300, while 37-year-old Adrian Beltre (.288, 2 HR, 11 RBI) shows no signs of slowing down at the plate.
Falling out of the top five was Boston (2-3-1 "over" record last week), Houston (2-4), Cleveland (2-4) and St. Louis (2-4).
Top Five "Under" Bets
Tampa Bay Rays (6-7, Over Record: 2-9-2)
Oakland A's (7-7, Over Record: 3-10-1)
(new) Chicago White Sox (9-5, Over Record: 3-9-2)
Kansas City Royals (9-4, Over Record: 3-9-1)
Minnesota Twins (4-10, Over Record: 4-10)
The only newcomer to the top five "under" teams is the White Sox, who replaced the first-place Baltimore Orioles. They were a major windfall for "under" bettors last week. The surprising South Siders, who sit just a half-game back of the Royals in the AL Central, went "under" in six of seven games last week. They were 4-3 straight up in that stretch.
The White Sox good start has been through excellent pitching and timely hitting, which is also the recipe for plenty of "unders." Chicago is hitting just .223 as a team and ranks 25th in runs scored. However, the pitching staff sports the league's third-lowest ERA (2.61). The top of the rotation has particularly been lights out. Chris Sale (3-0, 2.45 ERA) and Mat Latos (3-0, 0.49 ERA) have yet to be beaten, while Jose Quintana (1-1, 2.55 ERA) has been nearly as good.
There is little reason to think this can't continue for the White Sox. The three starters above are all proven top-of-the-rotation guys, while the offense is solid but certainly not a budding juggernaut. Though they do figure to finish higher than 25th in runs scored. Still, it's all about pitching with these White Sox. If the rotation stays healthy, they figure to be in plenty of tight, low-scoring games.
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