With the 2012 MLB season put on hold to see which league will ridiculously hold home field advantage in the upcoming World Series, we thought it would be a great idea to dig into the season long stats and determine which teams have been kind to both ‘over’ and ‘under’ bettors throughout the first three months of the campaign. Here’s a look at the Top 3 in both categories.
Philadelphia Phillies (53-31-3): It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to see the struggling Phillies as the best ‘over’ bet in the league heading into the All-Star break. Philly currently sits in last place within the NL East and does so on the back of an offense that’s middle of the pack in terms of runs scored (4.2 RPG), batting average (.262), and home runs (84), but it’s the pitching staff that’s seen all games played go ‘over’ the closing number at a 61 percent frequency. While the Phillies starters rank 8th with 51 overall quality starts, Cole Hamels is the only starter that’s earned double-digit wins and that has everything to do with a bullpen that checks in second to last in the league with a collective 4.76 ERA. Jonathan Papelbon’s only blown two saves through 20 tries, but the bridge to get to him has been blown up numerous times due to the Phillies wretched middle and late relief. Until a trade is made to help bolster this unit, look for Philadelphia to continue partaking in high scoring games.
New York Mets (49-33-4): Like their hated division rivals up above, the Mets have a better than average offense paired with a starting staff that gets the job done more times than not. Manager Terry Collins’s squad doesn’t hit for the power the Phillies do evidenced by their 74 overall home runs launched, but David Wright and his mates have scored an average of 4.6 runs per game and hit for a .259 batting average. Again, the main reason the Mets have been one of the best ‘over’ investments in the league is because of a bullpen that can’t seem to get out of its own way. It checks in as the worst overall unit with a collective 4.94 ERA and has allowed the opposition to light them up for a .267 batting average against. Though Frank Francisco has converted 18 of his 21 overall save opportunities, he normally made the close out inning very interesting before going on the DL. It also hasn’t helped matters that the defense has committed 64 errors which have allowed for the opposition to get multiple extra chances at pushing runs across the plate.
Milwaukee Brewers (48-34-3): Led by Ryan Braun’s big bat (24 home runs), the Brew Crew’s offense has proven to be one of the most potent the league has to offer. It wrapped up the first-half of the season scoring an average of 4.5 runs per game, launched 101 bombs out of the park, and swiped a total of 63 bases. While the consistency hasn’t been there evidenced by the team’s .245 batting average, Milwaukee has shown a penchant for getting back into games with big strikes making it easier for ‘over’ bettors to cash tickets more times than not. That quick strike attack paired with yet another bullpen that has underperformed finds the Brewers checking in as the third best ‘over’ bet to date. John Axford has struggled mightily blowing five of his 20 overall save opportunities, and the rest of his bullpen mates haven’t been up to task of shutting the opposition down evidenced by their 4.60 collective ERA and .277 BAA; the latter tally being the worst mark in the league!
Oakland A’s (31-52-3): This should come as no surprise whatsoever since the Athletics have been one of the best ‘under’ bets available for MLB bettors over the course of Billy Beane’s reign as the franchise’s general manager. Oakland has failed to put a feared offense on the field ever since Jason Giambi and Miguel Tejada manned their positions as future cornerstones. While this year’s squad has gotten a standout performance from Josh Reddick, the lack of power is still there with the team hitting just 83 overall home runs collectively. The offense also finds itself in the bottom third of the league in runs scored (3.7 RPG), batting average (.225), OPS (.667), and OBP (.301). When you pair those unintimidating hitting stats with a starting staff that’s churned out 50 quality starts and owns a 3.67 ERA along with a bullpen ranked in the Top 5 of the league in both ERA (2.81) & BAA (.204), it hardly comes as a surprise to find the Athletics finishing up the first half of the season as the best overall ‘under’ wager on the betting board.
Los Angeles Angels (35-49-2): With a lineup boasting names like Pujols, Trumbo, Hunter, and Morales, the Angels were hardly a team pegged by many to be one of the more lucrative ‘under’ bets at the outset of the season. When you add Mike Trout’s unbelievable effort since getting called up to the “Bigs”, the likelihood of the Halos still being a money maker for ‘under’ bettors seems even less likely. Regardless, Los Angeles checks in as the second best ‘under’ investment at the halfway point of the season largely in part to its overall pitching staff’s efforts. Jered Weaver has been exceptional atop the Angels starting staff lending a hand in leading the unit to a 3.81 ERA & .241 BAA; Manager Mike Scioscia has received a total of 51 quality starts from his starting staff! The Halos have also been lights out in the back end of the bullpen with Scott Downs and Ernesto Frieri converting 19 of their 21 overall save opportunities. The latter is yet to give up an earned run since coming over from San Diego in early May!
Cincinnati Reds (34-48-3): The only National League representative on this list comes in the form of manager Dusty Baker’s Reds, who entered the break trailing the Pittsburgh Pirates by just one game in the NL Central and led the Atlanta Braves by a single game in the NL Wild Card race. Aiding ‘under’ bettors has been what’s proven to be a station-to-station offense evidenced by Cincy’s 43 overall stolen bases; a mark that finds them 36 swipes in back of the #1 ranked Miami Marlins. That, along with a Joey Votto led offense only hitting at a .248 clip has turned the Reds into a below average team in terms of run production (4.2 RPG). With the starting staff holding up their end of the bargain dishing out 53 quality starts to go with a unit ERA of 3.65, it’s made the bullpen’s job that much easier. Having said that, the pen has been flat out nasty with the likes of Logan Ondrusek, Sean Marshall, Jose Arredondo, Alfredo Simon and Aroldis Chapman more than holding up their ends of the bargain. The unit’s 2.77 ERA & .215 BAA are both ranked in the league’s overall Top 3!