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by Al McMordie - 06/17/2006
Baseball is unique for sports bettors because teams play in very different parks. Some parks are huge, perfect for pitchers (Seattle, Oakland, NY Mets) with large outfields and plenty of foul ground for extra pop outs. Other parks (many more so these days) are small, hitter-friendly places (Fenway, Philly, Pittsburgh, Skydome, Jacobs Field, Houston).
Stats and parks can help some trends stand out in baseball. The Minnesota Twins play in the Metrodome, an easy home run park on artificial turf. This is a hitter's paradise and a pitcher's graveyard. Notice the Twins are the fourth worst in pitching in the American League this season. Minnesota averages 5.3 runs per game at home, but just 3.9 on the road. This explains why the Twinkies are 20-11 over the total at home! They are also 12-24 SU on the road. Let's look at some other identifiable trends.
Brewers: Milwaukee has the worst pitching in the National League. The Brewers really struggle on the road where they are 19-10 over the total.
Braves: Turner Field in Atlanta is a very good pitcher's park. Atlanta averages 4.6 runs per game at home, 5.28 on the road. Notice that the Braves are 24-15 over the total on the road.
Astros: Houston continues to be a team that plays well at home, but is a very different team on the road. Houston is 25-15 at home, 11-18 on the road.
Dodgers: Dodger Stadium is a great pitcher's park, but this season the Dodgers happen to have a terrific offense. They lead the NL in team batting (.282) with newcomers like Nomar Garciaparra (.367) tearing it up. The Dodgers average a sizzling 5.76 runs per game at home, which explains why they are 21-10 over the total in Dodger Stadium.
Rockies: Perhaps you've heard that the Rockies put baseballs in a humidor to make them a bit more damp and heavy before home games. They are trying to make it more like normal parks. It is working, as no one can hit in Coors Field like they used to. Colorado is 22-9 under the total at home!
Pirates: Like the Astros, the Pirates are better at home (18-19) where they average 5.2 runs per game. But on the road they average only 3.9 runs, which is why Pittsburgh is 8-25 SU away from home.
Blue Jays and Indians: Both these American League teams have powerful, deep offensive lineups and suspect pitching staffs. They also play their home games in hitter-friendly parks. At home, the Blue Jays average 5.96 runs (20-12 over the total), while the Indians average 5.77 runs at Jacobs Field (20-12 over the total).
Orioles: Baltimore has a decent offense, #4 in the AL in runs scored, but the pitching is a mess with a 5.40 staff ERA, second worst. The Birds are 41-26 over the total! They are also 17-4 SU as a favorite, 15-34 as a dog, so they are somewhat predictable: They score a lot, give up a lot, win when they are supposed to, and lose when they are supposed to! Good luck, as always...Al McMordie.