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Betting Baseball Totals

   by Al McMordie - 06/30/2005

There are a lot of factors that go into betting totals in baseball. On base percentage, defense, strikeout/walk ratios, wind conditions, and of course, starting pitchers. One key element you should also always look at is the parks. Baseball stadiums can be home run friendly, like Coors Field, Philadelphia, Skydome, and Cincinnati. Other stadiums can have huge outfields and be far more difficult to score runs in, such as in Oakland, Safeco in Seattle and Shea Stadium in New York.

You can look at runs scored by a team at home and away to get an easy look at this. The Colorado Rockies average 6 runs per game at home, but 2.9 per game on the road. No wonder no one wants to pitch there! Even a team like the Houston Astros is decent at home offensively averaging 4.6 runs per game. But on the road, this club -- devoid of much of last year’s offensive talent -- averages just 2.9 runs per game. You can see why Houston has been a miserable team on the road.

The parks play a role in this, as Houston is an easy park to hit home runs in. Notice that the Rockies are an even 17-17 over/under the total this season both home AND on the road. Oddsmakers have been able to balance their numbers perfectly to get two-way action. However, have you seen the new park in Philadelphia? Home runs leave the place like the wind was blowing out all game. Notice the Phillies are 22-12 under the total on the road, but 25-13 over the total at home in their relatively new park. Sunday’s 12-8 shootout with the Red Sox was easily another 'over' game in the park as home runs were flying out.

The Blue Jays also have a hitter-friendly park. It appears Toronto forgets how to score runs on the road, as they are 26-11 under the total away from Skydome! Like Philadelphia, Cincinnati’s stadium is conducive to offense and the Reds are 27-15 over the total at home. A lousy pitching staff from top to bottom is a huge factor, as well.

Newer parks in San Diego and Seattlehappen to be very large, as if the designers didn’t care for home runs and understood the importance of pitching and defense. Both those teams have management that understands the importance of pitching and defense, too, as their teams are currently constructed that way. The Padres are 23-14 under the total at home, while the Mariners are 24-13 under the total at home. Both teams are more productive scoring runs on the road, too, so their parks play a significant factor in totals. Good luck, as always...Al McMordie. And don't miss my NL Totals Game of the Week on this Thursday.

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