Expert MLB Betting Advice: Home and Road Splits
In a perfect world, teams in baseball would be just as good on the road as they are at home. Location wouldn't matter. That very often isn't the case, though, of course. The ability to bat last at home has something to do with it, and when you factor in sleeping at home, enjoying crowd support, and the more comfortable facilities, it is no mystery why teams are better at home in most cases. Where we have a concern, though, is when a team's performance is dramatically different between home and away - like they are two different teams. This can be very frustrating for fans. The best we can hope for, though, is that they are profitable for bettors. Here is a look at the six biggest home-road splits in baseball through the first quarter of the season:
Texas Rangers (12-7 home, 5-15 road): If the Rangers were winning overall at the rate that they have won at home this year, they would be running away from the field in the wild card race and would be tucked in right behind the Astros in the AL West. But their truly awful road performance - only Miami is worse - has them nine games back in the division, way under .500, and just waiting for this season to end mercifully. The impact this has had on bettors is dramatic - and highly profitable for those who have been on top of the team. They are the most profitable team in all of baseball at home this season, often winning as solid underdogs. And they are the second biggest betting losers on the road - only Oakland has burned more cash. So, if you have been lucky enough to bet this team regularly at home, and against them regularly on the road, you are sitting pretty.
Oakland Athletics (14-10 home, 5-15 road): As we just said, Oakland has burned more money on the road than any team in the majors, and that's because they are right there beside Texas, and ahead of only Miami, for road futility. What's most amazing about Oakland's lousy play is that four of their five road wins came on consecutive days. They won three straight in Baltimore and then their first in Texas. That win in Texas was on April 12, so they have just one road win in more than a month - and 12 losses. It doesn't help both Texas and Oakland that, being in the AL West, they have to play Houston a lot - the teams have a combined seven losses in Houston so far, with several more sure to come. But that is just part of their road woes. The real problems obviously run deeper.
Milwaukee Brewers (16-8 home, 9-11 road): When the Brewers won the NL Central last year, they had 51-30 at home and 45-37 on the road, so they are pretty much as balanced as you can hope for anything other than a freakishly elite team. But things have been different this year. Their win percentage has only been slightly worse than last year, but they have gotten there by being solidly better at home and significantly worse on the road. They started things off by sweeping the Reds in a three-game set in Cincinnati, so things have been significantly worse since then. They have been swept on the road twice and have just lost two of three at the Cubs - the team they are chasing in the division. They are leading the wild card race right now, but these kinds of struggles could really haunt them the rest of the way if they don't sharpen up.
St. Louis Cardinals (14-9 home, 9-10 road): The Cardinals are chasing the Brewers and dealing with a similar problem. The biggest concern for St. Louis when you dig a little deeper is that they are not just losing on the road, but losing all the wrong games - they have dropped five of seven in Milwaukee and all three played in Wrigley Field. That is the wrong approach to take playing at the two teams you are trying to catch.
Philadelphia Phillies (15-8 home, 9-9 road): The Phillies have a strong 3.5-game lead in the NL East, and they are doing it despite being much weaker on the road than at home. It would be tempting to blame this on Bryce Harper and his failures to live up to his huge contract so far. The truth, though, is a little different. In fact, away from home is the only place he is earning his money. In 23 home games, he is hitting a dismal .169 with a .743 OPS. Ouch. I would hit worse than that for the Phillies, but not $330 million worse. But in 18 road games, his average is a dramatically healthier .275, and his OPS jumps to .869. The truth is obvious - Bryce Harper hates Philadelphia. It's going to be a long 13 years.
Arizona Diamondbacks (9-11 home, 14-9 road): We might as well touch on the one oddity in it all. Arizona has by far the biggest negative split in the league. In an odd quirk, there are five teams in the league that only have winning records on the road, and three of them are in the NL West. In a shorter time frame, though, the team has lost three of their last four on the road, and four of their last six at home, so they just aren't very good right now wherever they play.
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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