One important aspect of betting 'totals' in baseball is knowing the various
ball parks/stadiums. Certainly starting pitchers, offensive and defensive stats
come into play when oddsmakers are making totals on games. The wind direction,
too, is a factor and you may have noticed that some Cubs games in Wrigley Field
arent posted until the day of the game. Its not called the Windy City for
nothing, and bookies dont want to get caught posting an overnight total of 7
for a Wrigley Field game with Carlos Zambrano pitching, then finding out the
next morning that the wind is blowing out 20 miles an hour to center.
The configuration of each park is also important to look at, especially with
so many parks having been built over the last decade. San Diegos relatively new
Petco Park is a pitchers paradise. The correlation is striking in two areas:
San Diego is the worst offensive team in baseball, plus they started 23-14 under
the total at home. Thats a solid winning percentage just wagering blindly on
the under. Not that I would recommend ever blindly wagering on anything
You may recall a few years ago when San Diego slugger Ryan Klesko became
frustrated, as he couldnt hit home runs at home anymore because the Padres new
park was so big. In short, its a great 'pitchers park' and a very difficult
home run park. Two years the Padres were 40-35 under the total at home averaging
3.7 runs. When they went on the road, however, the offense averaged 5.1 runs.
Not surprisingly, during the past few seasons, theyve been a solid 'under the
total team' at home.
Shea Stadium in New York, the home of the Mets, is another pitcher-friendly
park, along with Dodger stadium, (although not quite as much as it once was)
Oakland and Washington. Notice that this season the Nationals average 3.4 runs
at home, but 3.8 runs on the road. Certainly the park plays a key role in this
disparity, leading to a 28-21-1 start under the total at home. In their most
recent game here, the Nationals failed to score a single run. Conversely, in
their most recent road game, they put up a '5-spot.'
Due to playing in a pitcher friendly park, its essential that the Dodgers
have some kind of speed in the lineup, particularly atop the order. Thats why
the loss of Rafael Furcal in the first half of the season was such a huge blow.
Hes an outstanding leadoff hitter atop the order, one who can get on base and
jumpstart an offense by helping to manufacture runs. The Dodgers were 18-14 in
games started by Furcal, and then went 12-24 in games after he got hurt.
Parks don't always remain the same either. A few years back, Dodger Stadium
underwent some renovations which saw new seats added into areas which had
previously been on the field and part of 'foul ball terrritory.' This did have
an effect but not quite as much as some may have expected. At the time Dodger
catcher David Ross was quoted as saying that he expected the effect to be
relatively minimal. "It may be five or six balls in foul ground," he said. Ross
continued by saying: "I dont think theres that many outs made in that area.
The pitchers park is more because of the heavy air at night in L.A. During the
day, a ball flies. At night, it doesnt come close to going out."
How about Coors Field? Several years ago, it was common to see over/under
lines of 13, 14 or 15 in games played in the high altitude of Colorado. Those
numbers have gradually come down though and today we now routinely see
over/under numbers of 9, 9.5 or 10. Despite the lines being adjusted, 24 of 45
games (excluding one push) managed to stay below the total there.
Other offensive parks, besides Coors, include Philadelphia, Boston,
Cincinnati, Texas, Houston, Milwaukee, Minnesota and Toronto. Indoor parks like
the Metrodome can be tough on pitchers. Not only does the artificial turf cause
the ball to scoot faster making it tougher on infielders, but the lack of wind
can make indoor places easier home run parks. We may have to include Arizona
into this mix, another indoor facility. This season the Diamondbacks are
averaging roughly four runs per game on the road, but more than five per game at
home. They're hitting a healthy .277 at home but a dismal .220 on the road.
The Oakland As visited last month in an Interleague game and scored 15 runs,
most off of ace Brandon Webb. The next night Arizona returned the favor by
scoring 11 runs. The previous two days the weak hitting Royals came to Arizona
and scored 12 and 8 runs in consecutive games. Anyway, the point is that to be a
successful 'total' handicapper, one needs to know the parks and their various
Great stuff Ben - thanks for the info.