We're now a month into the season. Some of the surprise teams from the first couple weeks have come back down to earth, but there are still some big surprises near the top of the standings. The Rockies and the Diamondbacks battling for the top spot in the NL West is my biggest surprise. It's also surprising that the Giants are in last place in a division that has the San Diego Padres in it. Profit from overreactions by the market in the next few weeks on the diamond!
Doc's Sports has done an MLB Totals Trends Report in the past, and we'll be doing it again this year. This will be a bi-weekly article here on the site. We'll highlight the Top Five 'Over' and the Top Five 'Under' teams of the past couple weeks in each article. Because the baseball season is a long grind, there can be some impressive streaks inside the season, and catching one of these can boost your bankroll. The statistics in this article are for games from April 20 through May 4.
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The 'under' was cashing early in the season, but lately it has been 'over' bettors who have been cashing in tickets. For the season, the over is now 210-194. Even more impressive, in the past seven days alone, the over is 58-35. We'll keep an eye on this going forward.
Top Five "Over" Teams (Over Listed First)
1. Chicago Cubs (11-2) The Cubs have been disappointing at least compared to their lofty expectations. The main reason for them being an early underachiever is the pitching staff. Chicago has only gotten ten quality starts in 28 games, which is one of the worst marks in the majors. The offense is fourth in the majors in runs scored per game. No need to panic about this team!
2. New York Mets (9-1-2) Who knew the Mets would be a hitting machine during a period where they don't have Yoenis Cespedes? Going into their game on Friday night, the Mets have scored a minimum of five runs in seven straight games. In their last three games, they have scored a grand total of 30 runs! How about looking at it from the other side, though? The Mets have allowed five runs or more in eight of their last nine games. They have allowed 42 runs in their last four games. Wow!
3. St. Louis Cardinals (10-2) It doesn't surprise me at all to see the Cardinals on this side of the report. St. Louis' offense started slowly, but this is one of the best offenses in the National League. The pitching staff is only mediocre, and the defense behind the pitchers has been downright abysmal. The Cardinals have lost several games because they can't field routine ground balls. It is becoming an epidemic. This is a team that is accustomed to having lots of success on a yearly basis. Let's see if they can turn it around.
4. Cincinnati Reds (10-3) The Reds rank seventh in the majors in weighted on base average. Cincinnati's Eugenio Suarez and Adam Duvall are the biggest keys to this offense. Joey Votto is always going to be great at getting on base, but the Reds need the guys around him to be good. Suarez and Duvall are doing an amazing job so far this year. The starting pitching has been bad, and it will likely continue to be bad, though I will note that this Reds bullpen is much better than it was last season.
5. Milwaukee Brewers (10-3) Eric Thames has a .444 on-base-percentage. Thames has jacked 11 home runs already this year. There is no doubt he has been the biggest surprise in baseball so far this season. Milwaukee has several other impressive young hitters as well. The potential of guys like Domingo Santana, Hernan Perez, and Jonathan Villar is exciting for Brewers fans to look forward to in the future. I think the Brewers will be a good over team on the season overall.
Top Five "Under" Teams (Under Listed First)
1. Cleveland Indians (10-2) While the league overall was filled with a bunch of overs lately, the Indians have been an under machine. Like the Cubs, the Indians are off to a slightly disappointing start. The offense has underachieved to this point. Cleveland needs more production out of Edwin Encarnacion and Carlos Santana. The pitching staff is probably the best in the majors. I'm not a bit concerned about this team. They should win the AL Central going away.
2. Boston Red Sox (9-3-1) Speaking of teams that haven't played up to their potential so far this year, the Boston Red Sox fit that description perfectly. The pitching staff has been good, but the offense, which many expected to be the best in baseball, hasn't been good at cashing in on scoring opportunities. Boston ranks fifth in the majors in batting average as a team, but they are 25th in the majors in runs scored per game. There should be good opportunities to take overs with Boston in the near future.
3. Texas Rangers (9-5) The Rangers bullpen that was awful in the first couple weeks of the season has been significantly better in the last couple weeks. Texas is still without Adrian Beltre, and that certainly hurts their offensive production. The Rangers were expected to be much better than they have been so far, but I'd be careful about getting too low on this team. The Rangers are in the middle of a long nine-game road trip right now.
4. Kansas City Royals (8-5) The Royals offense ranks as the worst in baseball by just about every statistic you can find. They won't continue to be as bad as they have been so far, but I do expect the Royals to finish as one of the three or four worst offenses in the majors. The numbers are getting really low on Royals games now, so be cautious playing the under. In the long run, though, this is a team I would avoid playing overs with unless the lines get even more extreme.
5. San Francisco Giants (7-6) It seems like about eight of the 10 teams on the list this week have been disappointing so far this year. The Giants may top the list of most disappointing. They do for me, at least. Bruce Bochy's team is a mess right now. Will it shock me if they turn it around? No, the Giants have a winning culture, and they have a great manager in Bochy. At the same time, this isn't a team I'll be rushing to back anytime soon. I'll take a wait-and-see approach here.
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