Expert MLB Betting Advice: Best and Worst Road Teams
The teams with the five best road records in the American League in 2017 all made the playoffs. In the National League it was five of the top six - Milwaukee had one more win than Arizona and Colorado but fell one game short of the wild card. It's ridiculous to think that one number can tell you everything you need to know about a baseball team - it's a much more complicated sport than that. But looking at road records is a good short cut to getting a sense of strong and weak teams. It's no surprise why this is - winning on the road is hard, so the better a team is at doing so the better they probably are. So, without further ado, let's look at what we have learned from road records this year:
Boston (21-11): It's an odd situation in the AL East. The Yankees actually have a better winning percentage than the Red Sox, but New York has played five fewer games than Boston, so they are a half game out of first. But Boston not only has the second-best winning percentage in the AL East but also in all of baseball. They are doing very well this year, and their dominance on the road, which mirrors their success at home, is a big reason for that. This Boston success doesn't come as a big surprise, and it isn't going anywhere in a hurry. This is not only a playoff team but a dangerous one. Incidentally, the Yankees at 16-8 have played fewer road games but have a slightly better winning percentage than the Red Sox. You can be confident, then, both that this race is going to last for a long while and that both teams are very likely to be playoff teams. Like, almost locks.
Washington (21-11): This is just plain odd. The Nationals match the Red Sox for road record. But they are two games below .500 at 12-14 at home. That's just bizarre - success at home is just assumed for top contenders. It explains why Atlanta and Philadelphia are making a race out of a division that really shouldn't be one. The Braves, leading the division, are at 19-12 on the road, while the Phillies are 12-17, so it is easier to trust the young Braves than the Phillies.
Houston (19-11): The Astros are the defending champs, and while they haven't yet been quite as good as they were last year they are still playing like a team that doesn't intend to go away easily. They are ahead of where the last couple of defending champs have been at this point in the season. And they are sound at home, too. This team will be dangerous. What makes it interesting in the AL West, though, is that the shockingly strong Mariners are 17-10 on the road, and the Angels are struggling at home and losing ground on the top two they are 18-10 on the road. Houston will not roll in their division, though I expect them to win it.
Cleveland (12-17): The Indians are in line to be one of the least-impressive division winners in a long time. Not in terms of talent - they are very talented. They are just playing like an underwhelming squad that can't get out of their own way. This road record is concerningly bad. The only saving grace for the Indians is that as bad as they have been away from home that they still have the best record in their truly lousy division. They are going to make the playoffs by default, but they need to figure out their road issues or it will be a short stay.
Arizona (12-14): The NL West is another very disappointing division right now - the NL's answer for the AL Central. And again the Diamondbacks are a division leader with a sub-.500 road record, which makes it hard to love them. Colorado is just a game and a half back, and they are a strong 19-13 on the road. At this point Arizona would not want to sleep on their nearest challenger. The Dodgers are only 2.5 games back as well, and as lousy as they have been this year they are still above .500 on the road at 15-13, so all is not lost. Well, it probably is, but not because of the road record.
St. Louis (14-13): The Cardinals sit third in the NL Central and third in the wild-card race. They are a talented and dangerous team, but they need to figure out their road play if they want to make the postseason. They are behind Milwaukee (19-12 on the road) and the Cubs (18-12), so their win rate at this point just isn't good enough. And in the wild card they are also following the Nationals (21-11). The Cardinals have been heavily discussed as a team that could be poised to make a strong move in the trade market. They might need to in order to shake things up and learn to win away from home.
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