For the year as a whole, scoring is up in Major League Baseball. Home runs are up by a large amount this year, and that has a lot to do with the jump in scoring. In fact, through games played on Sept. 11, there have been 4,990 home runs in the league as a whole. All of last year there were only 4,909 home runs. There have been 51,508 games played in Major League Baseball so far this year. Last year, there were a total of 70,535 games. The home run has played a big role. Overall, the average team was scoring 4.07 runs per game two years ago. Last year, the number was 4.25 runs per game. So far this year, it is 4.50 runs per game.
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Why do I point this out? It seems like "over" bettors should be dominating the books this season based on those statistics. Actually, 1,037 games have gone over the total and 1,005 games have gone "under" the posted total. That means the over has hit at a rate of 50.78 percent, which is not even close to a high enough percentage to beat the juice. This is just a great way of illustrating how good the oddsmakers are at adjusting their numbers.
Doc's Sports has done an MLB Totals Trends report in the past, and we're doing it again this year too. 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. The numbers listed are for games played between August 19 and September 11.
Top Over Teams (Over Listed First)
1. Minnesota Twins (16-5-1) If you had just bet every single Minnesota Twins game to go over the posted total this season, you would be sitting pretty right now. The over is a whopping 89-47-7 in the Twins games so far this year. The over is 68-28-4 in their last 100 games. They have essentially lived on this side of the report the entire season. It's only fitting that as the season winds down they are right back at the top.
2. Texas Rangers (16-5-1) It shouldn't be a big surprise to see Texas in this spot, either. The Rangers went out and got a ton of offensive help at the trade deadline, and it has paid off in a big way. Carlos Beltran and Jonathan Lucroy have been key to their success in the second half. The concern for Texas has to be whether they have enough starting pitching to make a deep run in the playoffs.
3. Atlanta Braves (16-5-1) The Atlanta Braves have hit the ball much better since the all-star break. The over is 22-6-1 in their last 29 games overall. The over is 9-1-1 in the Braves last 11 home games. Atlanta has nothing to play for late in the season, and there can definitely be some high-scoring games when you get contests between two teams who have nothing to play for at this time of the year, so keep an eye out for those matchups.
4. Tampa Bay Rays (17-6) It does surprise me to see the Rays at 17-6 to the over in their last 23 games. Tampa Bay's lineup looks so weak on paper, but they have been very good against left-handed pitching. Additionally, Tampa Bay has had all sorts of pitching issues in the past month. Here is another team that is playing out the string for the last three weeks of the season.
5. Seattle Mariners (16-7) Seattle is only 1.5 games back in the American League wild-card race. The Mariners offense has erupted as of late. Seattle has scored seven runs or more in five of their last 10 games. The over is 28-13 in their last 41 games vs. a team with a losing record. They start a series with the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night.
Top Five Under Teams (Under Listed First)
1. Oakland Athletics (15-6) When the Oakland Athletics traded away Josh Reddick, they got rid of their most consistent hitter. This is a lineup that doesn't worry opposing starting pitchers very much at all. The under is 18-7-1 in the A's last 26 road games. They are on the road to take on Kansas City and Texas this week.
2. Los Angeles Angels (14-6-1) Here's another surprise to me. The Angels have nothing to play for, and they have gotten some great production out of Albert Pujols in the last couple months. The difference of late has been their pitching staff. The Angels have allowed two runs or fewer in six of their last 10 games.
3. Philadelphia Phillies (13-6-2) On the last report, the Phillies were at the top of the over teams. I believe what happened here is the oddsmakers just adjusted the Phillies numbers too much to the upside. The Phillies still don't have a good lineup, and it is hard to justify taking the over with this team when the total is extremely high.
4. Miami Marlins (14-7-1) The Miami Marlins have fallen five games back in the National League wild-card race. Miami's offense has slumped badly of late. The Marlins have scored three runs or less in six of their last eight contests. Miami needs to take advantage of their weak schedule this week. They go to Atlanta to take on the Braves and then travel to Philadelphia to take on the Phillies.
5. San Francisco Giants (13-7-1) The Giants are a difficult team to figure out this year. Obviously, they are a World Series contender if they get into the playoffs. This team knows how to win in October. The offense has let them down for much of the second half. San Francisco just scored 23 runs in a three-game sweep of the Diamondbacks in Arizona this weekend, so we will see if their offense can keep that momentum going moving forward.
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