After stumbling from the starting gate this baseball season, Wednesday became a research day and a day to sit out the games, which is when you sometimes come up with some good discoveries. Sometimes you’ll be required to a fair amount of digging, while other times, something will smack you in the head due to its simplicity, which is the case with baseball totals and favorites.
Between 2015 and 2017 the average total was 8.9 runs, which if we break down to 9 innings is .988 runs per inning or .491 runs every half inning or nearly .5 runs every half inning. Using that as a barometer, if you’re betting the over, it makes sense to look for games where you will have the best opportunity to receive your full compliments of at bats, meaning the away team is favored and the home team will bat in the bottom of the ninth. That’s worth approximately half a run.
Likewise, if you’re looking to bet the under, it makes more sense to look for those games where the home team won’t bat in the bottom of the ninth, or those games where they’re favored.
Looking at those games between 2015 and 2017 where the home team was favored, totals were 2233-2344-214, which is 48.8% over with an average of 8.82 runs. Games where the home team was favored by at least -150 were 1001-1010-99, which is 49.8% over. Games with a higher total were more prone to land over the number, as games with a total of 9.5 or higher were 405-409-15.
Looking at games where the road team was favored, we’d see these games were 1158-1065-121, which is 52.1% over and an average of 9.07 runs, which isn’t quite a half run, but it is noticably higher. Games whre the road team was -150 or higher were 318-260-27 (55%) and games with a total of 9.5 over higher were 237-186-12, which is 56%.
Essentially, games where the road team was favored were 3.3% more likely to go over the total, which may not sound like much, but a $100 flat-bet wager on overs with a home favorite would have yielded a loss of $32,535, while a flat-bet on the over when the road team was favored would have yielded a loss of less than $200.
While you’re not going to make a profit betting either way in regards to home or away favorites, you can boost your winning percentage a bit by taking overs when the away team is favored and unders when the home team is expected to win. It’s a slight advantage, but bettors need every one they can get as today’s oddsmakers are sharper than ever.