Get the best handicapping articles and gambling advice throughout the football, basketball and baseball seasons from the world's top sports handicappers, as well as from Bovada (Bodog) Sportsbook and Casino.
by Ben Burns - 04/14/2009
Tired of getting burned by unders at San Diegoâ€™s Petco Park, oddmakers are fighting back with shockingly low totals.
But have they done enough to reverse a five-year trend that has produced significantly more unders than overs at the Padresâ€™ home?
Theyâ€™re certainly trying.
Last season, eight Padresâ€™ home games had totals of less than seven.
Already this season, three games at Petco have had totals of less than seven, with two of three going over the total.
Get used to it.
Oddsmakers have been slashing totals since Petco opened in 2004.
In the Padres first season at Petco, the average total was 7.95.
Four years later, the average dropped nearly a half a run to 7.51 in 2008.
But the oddmakersâ€™ adjustments didnâ€™t stop Petco from producing 210 unders compared to only 175 overs the past five seasons.
So what causes Petco Park to turn sluggers into singles hitters and turn journeyman pitchers into Cy Young candidates?
The San Diego humidity generally is blamed by hitters and credited by pitchers for Petcoâ€™s stifling ability. Wind, which generally blows from left out to right and never harder than 20 mph, doesnâ€™t play much of a role.
Its dimensions arenâ€™t overwhelming: 334 feet to left, 402 to left-center, 395 to center, 411 to right-center and 322 to right.
â€œItâ€™s a pitcherâ€™s park,â€쳌 right fielder Brian Giles told the San Diego Times-Union. â€œThere are going to be low-scoring games here. It's one of the tougher parks to score runs in.
"We have statistics that support our offense has a tough time getting it going here. But the ball hangs up here and normal base hits can be outs. Outfielders play deep here and shallower in other places.â€쳌
There are hundreds of stats that bolster Petcoâ€™s reputation as the premier pitcherâ€™s park in baseball.
Last year, the Padres averaged 3.56 runs at home and 4.29 runs on the road. They hit 22 more home runs on the road and 30 more doubles. San Diego was the only team to score less than 300 runs in its home park. You could go on and on.
What bettors have to decide is if the oddsmakers have lowered the totals enough to make the over a viable play at Petco Park?