For those Major League Baseball total bettors out there, this is for you. Each week throughout the season, Doc Sport's will provide a breakdown of over/under trends throughout baseball. Which teams are trending to the "over" and which teams the "under"? As the cliché goes, hitting is contagious. A team can struggle to score runs for a week then break out with an offensive explosion. Identifying these emerging streaks can go a long way for total bettors.
All statistics and wagering information are through Tuesday's games. So far this season, the over has gone 51-52 (49.5%).
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Boston Red Sox (Over Record: 6-1)
The Red Sox have been a gold mine for over bettors so far thanks to an underachieving pitching staff and high-powered lineup. Even with the additions of former Cy Young winner David Price in the rotation and shutdown closer Craig Kimbrel in the bullpen, Boston has allowed 5.9 runs per game-the fourth most in the majors. Price, who signed a $217 million free agent contract in the offseason, has the worst ERA in the majors (7.32) as does the combined starting staff ( 7.92).
Conversely, the Red Sox offense has largely lived up to expectations by averaging 5.7 runs per game. Five of the eight Boston everyday players are batting at least .300, including a resurgent Hanley Ramirez at .379. Additionally, David Ortiz (.346, 3 HR, 9 RBI) still shows no signs of slowing down. Even scarier is No. 3 hitter Xander Bogaerts and leadoff man Mookie Betts-who many are expecting to have a breakout season-have yet to do much at the plate.
The Red Sox had lost three straight entering Wednesday's action. They finish a three-game series with the Orioles on Wednesday and then host high-powered Toronto for a four-game set.
Detroit Tigers (Over Record: 5-1)
The Tigers boast MLB's highest team batting average (.298) and their average of 5.8 runs per games ranks fifth. Free-agent signee Justin Upton (.333 BA) has paid early dividends while J.D. Martinez, coming off a 38 homer season, continues to be one of the league's most under-appreciated stars. He's hitting .440 with a lofty 1.121 OPS.
As for Tigers pitching, it's been a completely different story. Opponents have hit .286 while averaging 4.5 runs per game. Former Cy Young winner Justin Verlander was just torched for seven runs
Oddsmakers have invariably noted the Tigers ways and have adjusted accordingly. The totals posted on Detroit games have risen to typically the 8.5 to 9 range. However, note that the Tigers have scored fewer than seven runs just once so far this season, which resulted in the lone under.
Detroit will continue a four-game series with Pittsburgh on Wednesday and Thursday, followed by a three-game set on the road at hitter-friendly Houston.
Houston Astros (Over Record: 6-2)
The Astros boast a boatload of high-end talent in the everyday lineup, but it's the pitching staff that's led them to a disappointing 3-5 start. Houston has posted a 5.82 ERA to open the season, and the 5.6 runs allowed per game the Astros have allowed is the fifth-most in MLB. Reigning Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel has been OK but is struggling to find the plate consistently. Through two starts, he's walked a combined 10 batters in 12.2 innings pitched.
The Astros, who rank fourth in MLB in slugging percentage (.478), are scoring above the league average with 4.8 runs per game. Rookie first baseman Tyler White has been a revelation for Houston. A former 33rd-round pick, he surprisingly won the starting job in spring training and has proceeded to hit .520 with three home runs and 10 RBIs.
Houston continues a four-game series with Kansas City on Wednesday and then hosts Detroit for three over the weekend.
Other hot "over" teams: Cleveland Indians (Over Record: 3-1-1), St. Louis Cardinals (Over Record: 5-2)
Minnesota Twins (Over Record: 0-7)
It's been a miserable start for the Twins. They have averaged a league-low 1.9 runs per game to open the season with a record of 0-7. They are batting just .219 as a team. How bad is it in Minnesota? Seven of the nine everyday players are batting under .200. The lone exceptions are Joe Mauer and shortstop Eduardo Escobar. Minnesota also leads the league in strikeouts.
The Twins are counting on youngsters Bryon Buxton and Miguel Sano to help carry the offensive load, but to this point they have been a complete bust. Both are batting under .200 and neither has hit a home run. Buxton's struggles have been so bad that Molitor recently benched him to regroup. The Twins simply lack the firepower on offense. However, history does tell us this poor of production won't last forever. Keep an eye out for signs of Minnesota getting it together at the plate. A few overs could be in the offing.
The Twins continue a three-game series with the White Sox on Wednesday and then host the Angels for three over the weekend.
Kansas City Royals (Over Record: 1-6)
The defending World Series champs got to be that because of pitching and defense and that has continued through a 5-2 start to the season. The Royals rank 21st in runs scored with just 3.4 per game and their .240 team batting average is in the bottom half of the league. Thankfully, the pitching has been up to the task and hence the slew of unders. Edinson Volquez (1.54 ERA) and Yordano Ventura (3.60 ERA) form an excellent top of the rotation and, once again, the Royals have perhaps the league's best bullpen.
This Kansas City team will never be an offensive juggernaut. But the lineup is littered with professional hitters are certain to break out at some point.
The Royals will continue a three-game series with Houston on Wednesday and travel to Oakland for a three-game on Friday.
Other cold "over" teams: Tampa Bay Rays (Over Record: 1-4-2), Oakland Athletics (Over Record: 2-6-1), Baltimore (Over Record: 1-4-1).
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