Baseball's Best Over Bets
by Robert Ferringo - 07/25/2006
Last week we took an in-depth look at totals betting in Major League Baseball. We analyzed the top Under plays and certain teams that defy conventional wisdom when it comes to scoring runs. Today we're going to look at the top Over teams in the Major Leagues this season, and my opinion on whether their trend will continue or be curbed by adjusted lines for the rest of the season:
Cleveland Indians (57-38-3, 60 percent): The Indians are one of the few teams that people expect to go Over a lot and actually do. The reason for the scoring bonanzas is the same reason why the Tribe is out of the playoff hunt: poor pitching. Cliff Lee has been awful and C.C. Sabathia has been laboring since opening night.
The Indians still mash - they are second in batting, second in runs (5.5 per game) and seventh in home runs - but the pitching is atrocious (21st in ERA at 4.72). That's a recipe for runs. Cleveland is 15-6-1 against the number since June 28 and shows no signs of slowing.
Atlanta Braves (56-39-3, 59 percent): The Braves offense has been off the chain over the past month. They are 16-2 against the total in their last 18 games and most of those games haven't been close. For instance, they've had five games posted at 10.0 or more during that stretch and seen an average of 17 combined runs in those outings.
A big reason for the Braves' offensive burst has been that they are fourth in the league in home runs (138) and 20th in ERA. However, both Chipper and Andruw Jones are still nursing injuries and you need to keep an eye on them as late scratches before you make too big of a move.
Los Angeles Dodgers (55-39-5, 59 percent): The Dodgers made the list despite an incredible 2-10 record against the number over the past few weeks. The power outage has a lot to do with the fact that they have a lot of young, inexperienced players on the roster. Those newbies aren't making adjustments.
I would continue to fade them on the Over. They do see 10.02 runs per game in Chavez Ravine, but are 13th in runs (4.9 per) and 29th in homers. Also, the Dodgers' remaining schedule is full of interdivisional tussles, and the NL West features Under clubs like San Diego (18th in the league vs. the total), Arizona (21st) and Colorado (30th).
New York Mets (55-40-4, 58 percent): Incredibly, the Mets are 21st in hitting (.264) but fifth in runs (5.4 per). That's clutch. It also helps being fifth in the Majors in home runs.
New York's pitching has been outstanding. They're third in ERA (4.10) and second in bullpen ERA, but they have still managed an 18-8 mark versus the total since June 24, and are 8-4 recently. I really can't explain how, other than they hit astoundingly well with runners in scoring position and they are more of a power hitting team than in year's past. But the oddsmakers are starting to catch on. Six of the Mets last 10 totals have been posted at 9.5 or more. That should help even things out.
Milwaukee Brewers (54-41-4, 57 percent): The Brewers are 7-3 in their last ten, yet only two of their last 24 outings have seen a total posted at 10 or more. The Brew Crew don't hit particularly well (22nd in batting, 17th in runs) but their Over case is boosted by their horrid pitching. The Brewers have the fourth-worst starter's ERA (5.03) and the second-worst bullpen ERA in the league.
One thing to consider though: the Brewers have only had a four-game Over streak twice this year, and haven't seen such a run since mid-May. That means that they aren't really a streaky Over team, and if you're going to play them you may have to be willing to ride them Over for the duration.
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