Everyone, and to a large extent myself, likes playing "overs". That's probably in large part because we can win the game well before it's over. There are some things to consider that are very fundamental and well beyond the teams and the pitchers, which coincides nicely with our article yesterday on streaks.
Many people would look at the Blue Jays and bet every game "over" last season and have been right last season - 39.6% of the time. Clearly that's a losing proposition, but the knee-jerk assumption would have been that they've got a ton of bats. Well, this season people are probably doing much the same and that's with Encarcion gone. The key there is that it wasn't just his offensive production that they lost, but they lost him in the middle so they couldn't pitch around Donaldson and Bautista. With that in mind and this early in the season, the Blue Jays' games are going "over" at only 27%. That's ugly, and an expensive proposition to be betting on a regular basis.
There's also their ballpark, which one assumes is also a hitters' park, and at times it is. What do we mean by "at times" - well, when the roof is open it IS an over park since the ball travels much better.
oe National League there is no designated hitter. Last year the Dodger s at home were an "over" team less than 40% of the time.
g ut, this is not the "Big Red Machine" anymore.
Colorado: It's tiny and the air is thin so the ball carries. But, it's common for totals to be 12 or more!
Texas: However, it's far more of an "over" venue when it's super hot.
Some parks that are big-time under venues:
Oakland: Aside from being big - they've got massive amounts of foul territory.
Tampa Bay: Not only is it fairly big, but the roof (which is always closed) prohibits the air flow and balls from carrying.
Minnesota: It's just big!
Seattle: Either the roof is closed or the Pacific Northwest moist air keeps balls from carrying.
There are tons of other factors, but the big one is UMPIRES. There are many that have large strike zones and simply make batters swing at tough pitches, which of course both teams know going in. Some have small strike zones and there are more walks, baserunners, and better pitches to hit. Those umpire stats are out there.
The umpire stat is one that books DON'T often factor in, so that's one where you can get an edge.
It's an endless list of variables, and one more that is isolated and of course no longer an issue is David Ross. He caught every game Jon Lester pitched, and that of course takes a bigger stick out of the lineup. No disrespect to David Ross, but he's not Yadier Molina at the plate.
Where I DO think there are edges to be found in in inter-league play. For example a National League team playing in Yankee Stadium is going to get a DH, so one with a fair amount of left handed hitters to look at that short porch is almost always going to get a good look. And an AL team, like the Tigers, are going to lose Victor Martinez because he can't play first base anymore! Things to think about well beyond the starters, the bullpens, and the weather. It's time consuming and often times it's critical to wait for lineups, but betting totals can be quite profitable, and not just "overs".
I'll look at why we'd bet an "under" tomorrow.