Here at Bang the Book, we're locked and loaded for the second half of the MLB betting campaign, and we're taking a comprehensive look at the first half of the season that was and what we can expect as we come down the stretch of this year!
The team with the best record in baseball in the first half of the season was the Philadelphia Phillies at 57-34. That's all fine and dandy, but when push came to shove this year, they were only the second best MLB betting team in the first half of the season, and the margin wasn't even close. By $239 worth of profits, the Pittsburgh Pirates accounted for $1,415 of profits in the first half of the season and were clearly the most lucrative team in the league.
When you're talking about the best home team in baseball, you clearly have to look at the Milwaukee Brewers. They went 33-14, the best SU record in the league at home, and the end result was +$1,458 in profit. On the road, the Boston Red Sox had the best record at 27-18, but even though the only went 27-23, the New York Mets stole the show for baseball bettors by earning $1,229 in the first half of the year.
If you were betting run lines in the first half of the season, the Cincinnati Reds had a fantastic mark at 52-40, and they ran away from the rest of the field in profits at $1,337.
There aren't that many teams that we are going to have to speak about when we're discussing the worst in the game. The Houston Astros take a ton of those negative accolades. They only won 30 games in the first half of the year and are on pace for just 53 'W's for the season, and they finished eight units behind the rest of the field in terms of MLB betting action at -$2,640. Houston was the worst home team in baseball as well at 14-33, five games worse than anyone else, and it should come as no surprise that that was poor enough to cost us $1,910 in profits.
Going 16-29 on the road is awfully bad, but fortunately for Houston, it doesn't have the worst road record in the league. That distinction goes to the Oakland Athletics, who went 16-32 in the first half and cost the MLB betting public $1,348 in those games. On the run lines, there were a number of horrifying teams that lost over $2,000 in this area, but none were worse than the 36-52 Baltimore Orioles at -$2,780.
The best 'over' team in the land thus far in 2011 has been the St. Louis Cardinals at 51-38-3. Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised though, considering the fact that 'totals' came down dramatically with 1B Albert Pujols out of the lineup and that the pitching staff was decimated this season with the loss of Adam Wainwright and the ineffectiveness for most of the year of Chris Carpenter.
On the other end of the spectrum, both the Tampa Bay Rays and San Francisco Giants had 35 wins against 51 losses for 'over' bettors in the first half. Both teams have lineups that were beaten up, as men who were in the lineup last season like C Buster Posey, 1B Carlos Pena, and OF Carl Crawford are no longer around on their respective teams. However, both squads have not just one, but multiple pitchers that could qualify as aces on most staffs in the game that are leading the way for all of these low scoring affairs.
All About the O
The Boston Red Sox have the No. 1 rated offense in the league in a ton of different categories. They're tops in the bigs in runs per game at 5.36, batting average at .278, and team OPS at .810. The only category that they don't lead in is home runs, a distinction left for their hated rivals, the New York Yankees, who already have a whopping 123 big flies on the campaign.
On an individual basis, we all know that Jose Bautista is the man of the hour in terms of home runs. He already has 31 in the first half, and he very well could approach the 60 mark by the time the campaign is over with.
Both Jose Reyes and Adrian Gonzalez are leading baseball with .354 batting averages, and both are really just playing stellar ball this year. Gonzalez has proven to be a viable pickup for the Red Sox, as he also leads the majors in RBIs with 77.
Of course, no analysis of offense would be complete without mentioning Derek Jeter, who became the 28th player to reach the 3,000 hit mark in his career last weekend against Tampa Bay at home thanks to a five hit day.
When you're looking at the team with the perfect pitching staff, you know that you're looking at the Philadelphia Phillies. Even with Roy Oswalt sitting out potentially the rest of the season, the Phils still clearly have the best staff that money can buy. Three starters had at least 10 wins in the first half, and the end result was a 3.02 team ERA, the best in the league. Philly also has a team WHIP of 1.16 and 61 quality starts in 91 games, both of which are No. 1.
CC Sabathia is well on his way to contending for another Cy Young Award this year. He already has 13 wins on the campaign. However, both Jair Jurrjens and Justin Verlander have a dozen wins and really could get in line for 20+ win seasons to boot. Roy Halladay has 11 victories to show for his work, and he has led the Phillies to an MLB best 16-3 record in his starts this year.
Two pitchers have ERAs below 2.00 this year, and it is going to be a real fight between Jair Jurrjens and Jered Weaver to see which one is going to lead baseball. Right now, Weaver has the slight nod at 1.86, but Jurrjens is the slightest margin behind at 1.87.
There are three pitchers in the league with at least 140 strikeouts going into the second half of the year, all of which should at least threaten the 250 mark. Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander both have 147 whiffs on the campaign, while Felix Hernandez has 140.
When it comes to shutting the door, there are a number of closers that have done a remarkable job this season. Five have at least 26 saves on the campaign, and though some might ultimately only be setup men for other teams in the near future, others could find themselves over the 50 save mark by season's end. Craig Kimbrel leads them all with 28 saves, while Heath Bell, Joel Hanrahan, Huston Street, and Brian Wilson all have 26 saves.