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Betting Baseball Totals Over/Under Strategies

The numbers that books throw out are not by any means random, and I’d like to break down some of the components that I look at when betting a total.

The Parks

Most parks are notorious for being a hitters’ park or a pitchers’ park, and there aren’t many in between. Here is a list of the top five “over” parks in my book, and they happen to correlate to exactly the number of home runs hit in each park this season. What is also true is that not only is it THIS season, but this list doesn’t vary from year-to-year by much at all.

The most:

Park HR’S/Game
Great American/Res 54
Yankee Stadium/Yankees 53
Minute Maid/Astros 52
Miller Park/Brewers 48
Coors Field/Rockies 47


Granted, it’s early in the season and the amount of games played can vary a fair bit, but in the end these parks will all be there, perhaps in a different order.

The Starters

Yes of course, but it is much more than the name of the pitcher and what he’s done against the opposing lineup. There is the last few games and in particular the pitch count. If a pitcher doesn’t typically throw many 100+ pitch games and all of a sudden has two in a row, that’s a problem for betting an under, or on his team, really. There are also pitchers that are much more prone to giving up fly balls as opposed to inducing ground balls, and of course that matters. In Yankee Stadium a ball to RF is a home run whereas in Kauffman Stadium (Kansas City) it might be a routine out.

The Bullpen

And it is more than just looking at the closer and the setup man. Yes, we know the Yankees have Betances and Chapman for the 8th and 9th innings. But, if they’ve been used two or three games in a row, they may be unavailable. Another reason to look at fading the Yankees in that case, especially with a starter that might not pitch more than six innings. So, bullpen usage is key.

The Weather

Of course. We need to know which way the wind is blowing and how hard. Most know that. But, the temperature is as important, if not more so. The higher the temperature and humidity the more carry the ball has. Of course in Colorado there is the thin air, which also makes the ball carry. Checkout Stadium Weather here.

Recent Hitting

As I have said before, streaks are important. It is simple and takes but a minute to go on ESPN.com and sort hitting over “The Last 7 days”, which I use all the time. It’s an indicator as to what’s happening right now, not last month or last year, which is typically what people remember about a team. You can also sort that same sheet by hitting with runners in scoring position, which is also key. Most games offer opportunities, and we need to know what teams are currently taking advantage of them. You don’t have to be hitting .300 to score, just getting the timely hits will do it.

The Umpire

Whoever was at first base last night is going to be behind the plate tonight. Quite simple. And all umpires are not created equal. They all have their tendencies and many of them are pretty dramatic. Those numbers can also be sorted by NL or AL. And we can take that one step further. You may find an umpire that over the years had trended to the “over” but recently had a series of  “unders”. Well, look at who has pitched and where. He could have called games with Kershaw and Sale, and in big parks. Checkout the MLB Umpire Report Here!

And then of course there is the NUMBER. That matters, and that’s for the next article.

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