For years the prevailing logic has been that the American League was the high-scoring league, while the National League was a bit more reliant on pitching and didn’t score as much. That was due to the designated hitter and for a number of years that held true. In 2011, American League teams averaged 4.47 runs per game compared to 4.14 for National League teams and it was 4.42 for AL teams in 2012 and 4.22 for teams from the Senior Circuit.
In 2015, AL teams scored 4.39 runs compared to 4.11 for National League teams, but last season saw the gap close quite a bit, as American League teams scored 4.5 runs compared to 4.43 runs for National League teams.
So far in 2017, American League teams are averaging 4.69 runs per game compared to 4.63 for National League teams. While this doesn’t really help a handicapper in regards to picking sides, it does pay some dividends when it comes to totals, which is something we haven’t spent much time on.
So far this season, when a National League team is at home and playing a fellow National League team, totals are 234-199-25, which has yielded a profit of $1,960 and an ROI of 3.9%. When an NL team hosts an AL team, totals are 40-29-3 for a profit of +900 and an ROI of 11.7%.
When an American League team hosts another AL team, totals are 217-223-13, which has netted a flat-bet loss of almost $2,400. AL teams are 35-27-2 when hosting NL teams, which has been good for $550 profit and an ROI of 7.7%.
One thing we’ve seen so far this season is games with high totals going over the number at am impressive rate. All games, regardless of league, with a total of 9 or higher, have gone 218-150-25 for a profit of $5,600 and an ROI of 13%.
But we can break this down even more to see that when a National League team is at home with a total of 9 or greater, over/unders have gone 111-71-14 for a profit of $3,380 and a 15.7% ROI. When AL teams are at home, totals are 107-79-11 for a profit of $2,220 and a 10.3% ROI.
The highest-percentage play has been taking the over 9 (or greater) when an NL team is hosting another NL team, as these games have gone 100-55-11 for a profit of $3,963 and an ROI of 21.5%. When it’s two AL teams meeting, totals are 87-69-9 for a profit of $1,315 and a 7.3% ROI.
Taking all games with a total of 9 or higher would have yielded the slightest of profits last season, so it’s not unheard of, but those results are nothing like we’ve seen so far in 2017.