No place like betting home team so far in MLB

Jun 2, 2009 5:01 PM
The 3-2 Pitch by Andy Iskoe |

By the end of next week the 2009 season will be one third complete as almost all 30 teams will have played at least 54 of their 162 games.

So far home teams are winning nearly 56 percent of all games, going 419-332 through this past Sunday. The average total runs scored per game has been 9.5, resulting in nearly an identical number of overs (356) as unders (359) with 32 landing exactly on the closing total, using the Las Vegas Hilton as our source.

Not surprisingly, the team with the best record in all of baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers (35-17) has also been the most profitable. The Dodgers have turned a $1,691 profit based on $100 wagers. Two other teams have also shown profits of more than a grand, Texas ($1,102) and Milwaukee ($1,037). Overall 13 of MLB’s 30 teams have shown at least a minimal profit.

If you’ve been wagering steadily on the Washington Nationals you are probably in the wrong line of work. The Nats have shown by a huge margin the greatest losses, down $2,146. The second most expensive team is Colorado, down $984 through 49 games. Their start was disappointing enough that Colorado fired Clint Hurdle and replaced him with former Dodger and Pirate skipper, Jim Tracy.

It seems like a very long time ago that the Rockies had that wonderful September ride that carried them into the playoffs and ultimately the World Series. Actually it was just two seasons ago. Need any more proof that the old adage "What have you done for me lately?" still applies?

There are also some dramatic differences between teams’ profitability at home versus on the road. Normally we’d expect teams to fare better at home than when playing away. And this is true for 19 of the 30 teams with the greatest disparity in San Diego.

The Padres have turned a healthy profit of $1,009 at home while losing $813 on the road, a disparity of 1,822. San Francisco, Toronto, Minnesota and Boston have also shown more than a $1,000 difference favoring home results over road play. Baltimore ($992) is very close to joining them.

Perhaps the most startling performance of all has been the defending world champion Philadelphia. The Phillies are just 12-14 at home, costing their backers $813. Yet on the road the Phils are a rather sensational 16-6, giving their backers profits of $1,171. That’s a difference of $1,984! Arizona (1,311) and Florida (986) also have been significantly better bets on the road than at home.

For some of these teams the trends will reverse and by season’s end their home vs road profitability will be nearly even.

Here’s a look at four series to be played this weekend.

Cubs at Reds: Cincinnati took 2 of 3 from the Cubs at Wrigley Field when the teams met in April. When healthy the Cubs have both a formidable lineup and pitching staff and are the much better team. But right now these teams are pretty even overall which suggests a competitive series.

Preferred plays:

Cubs as underdogs in any series matchup.

Reds as underdogs in starts by Johnny Cueto or Edinson Volquez.

Under 8 or higher if the Cubs’ pitch Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly or rookie Randy Wells against Cueto or Volquez.

Over 9 or lower if other than Dempster, Lilly or Wells faces the Reds’ Bronson Arroyo or Aaron Harang.

Phillies at Dodgers: The Phillies defeated the Dodgers in the NLCS last season en route to the World Series. Based on both teams’ early season play we could see a rematch come autumn. The teams have already played a series this season with the Dodgers taking 2 of 3 in Philly in mid-May. The Dodgers have the overall edge in pitching with Phils closer Brad Lidge not being nearly as effective as in 2008’s perfect save season. Still he and Jonathan Broxton are elite closers.

Preferred plays:

Under 7½ or higher if Dodgers’ Chad Billingsley or Randy Wolf face the Phillies’ Cole Hamels.

Under 9 or more if the matchup involves any other starters.

• Phils as underdogs vs Clayton Kershaw or Eric Milton.

• Dodgers -130 favorites or less against Jamie Moyer or Joe Blanton.

Angels at Tigers: The Angels took 2 of 3 at home when the teams met in April. LAA has gotten healthy with the return a couple of weeks ago of Ervin Santana and John Lackey who each missed the first month and a half of the season. Detroit has also benefitted from some outstanding starting pitching from both Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson. Both teams are stronger in pitching than in producing runs.

Preferred plays:

• Tigers up to -125 favorite in starts by Verlander or Jackson against any Angels’ starter.

• Angels as underdogs or no more than -120 favorites not facing Verlander or Jackson.

Under 8 or higher if Verlander or Jackson opposes Lackey, Santana or Jered Weaver.

Over 9 or lower if the matchup involves a pair of pitchers not named above.

Rangers at Red Sox: Both teams have been playing solid baseball of late, have plenty of offense but questionable pitching with the exception of Boston’s bullpen. The RedSox relief corps has performed very well, especially closer Jonathan Papelbon. Texas has gotten surprisingly solid starting pitching from Kevin Millwood and young Scott Feldman. Boston’s Josh Beckett and Jon Lester are coming around based on recent efforts.

Preferred plays:

Over 9 or lower in any matchup except in a start by Feldman (whose 7 starts have all stayed under).

• Rangers +150 or higher in starts by Feldman or Millwood if opposed by either Beckett or Lester.

• Red Sox -150 favorite or less not facing either Feldman or Millwood.

Over 10 or lower in matchups not involving Beckett, Lester, Feldman or Millwood.

Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Andy Iskoe