Looking for an edge when betting the MLB totals? I have taken the time to go over a number of factors that go into whether or not a game will go over or under.
To no surprise, the first thing you want to look for when betting totals in the MLB is who is starting for each team. The two starters will have arguably the biggest impact on whether or not a game goes over or under the total. The key statistics you want to look for when breaking down the starting pitching is ERA and WHIP. ERA gives you an idea of the average number of runs a starting pitcher will give up over nine innings of work. WHIP tells you the number of walks and hits a pitcher gives up on average in a given inning. One thing you want to keep in mind is that pitchers who have a low ERA and high WHIP are routinely finding themselves with runners on base, but manage to escape unharmed. Finding pitchers who have a high WHIP going up against a strong offense will likely lead to a lot of runs.
Because starters rarely go the distance these days, many times a total that looks great through seven innings will end up going over late because of poor bullpen performance. The key is finding bullpens that have been overused. A tired bullpen will more times than not lead to late scoring by the opposing team. Well-rested bullpens, on the other hand, tend to get the job done and keep the total from going over.
If you are betting totals in baseball, I can’t stress enough the importance of looking at the expected weather. The biggest thing to look for is which way the wind is blowing. Chances are if the wind is blowing out, the total is going to go over. If the wind is blowing in, the under instantly becomes a strong play.
Some stadiums are more hitter-friendly than others, and not understanding which stadiums produce more runs on average will come back to haunt you when betting totals in the MLB. The number of home runs in a given game probably has the biggest impact outside of pitching on whether or not a game goes over the total. If you were to simply bet the over on two starters who have really struggled in their last three starts, and not take into account that they are playing in very pitcher-friendly stadium, chances are you are going to end up losing your bet and find yourself wondering what happened.
This is another key aspect of the game that more times than not gets overlooked by the average bettor. Who is behind the plate can have a huge impact on the total amount of runs scored. Totals are more likely to go under with an umpire who has a large strike zone, and over when they have a small strike zone.
When betting the under, it is always better to have the home team as the favorite. Chances are the home team will be leading in the ninth inning and will not have to come up to bat. Avoiding these three outs can easily make a difference in which side a total falls on. With that, you also want to look for overs where the away team is favored.
The under tends to be a strong play when you have two teams who really get fired up to play an opposing team. Hitters struggle to stay relaxed at the plate, managers tend to take less risks, and pitchers really seem to focus in on the task at hand.
Pitchers tend to be at their best at the beginning of the season, which should have you looking for unders early. The opposite tends to happen at the end of the season. Pitchers tend to wear down and you have more and more teams who bring up young pitchers to face contenders. I suggest looking for unders before the All-Star break and overs after. Cold weather early favors unders, while warmer weather throughout the rest of the season favors overs. Also look to get back on the unders when the temperatures start to fall in the postseason.
The last thing I want to mention is making sure you take the time to get the best total for your play. If you really want to be successful at betting totals, you need more than one sportsbook at your disposal. Having the option of getting an under at 8.5 compared to 9 or an over at 9 compared to 9.5 over the course of a season will make a big difference in whether or not you come out ahead.