Sharp Action Causing MLB Totals to Drop
DIRECT FROM NEVADA WITH NICK BOGDANOVICH
BOTH AL AND NL SHADING TOWARD UNDER,
AS MARKET SLOWLY ADJUSTS
You don't hear betting sharps pounding their chests about too much these days. They haven't performed to their normal expectations so far in the NBA playoffs. Major League Baseball has been choppy as underdogs have blown hot and cold. The one thing sharps are pleased with is baseball totals.
*Sharps generally play Unders
*We've had a lot of Unders!
I've heard a lot of people commenting on all the low totals on the board of late. During the steroid years it became relatively uncommon to see numbers around 7 except in the very best pitcher's parks. Now, we're seeing 7's and 7.5's all over the place. We've even had a few 6.5's. Squares loved the Over in Houston/San Francisco this past Saturday afternoon in the TV game. They figured a game with a total that low just HAD to go Over. It ended 2-1 when Roy Oswalt and Tim Lincecum had their expected pitcher's duel.
A lot of projected pitcher's duels are going Under, even with the low totals.
I was looking through the team Over/Under performances just before writing this article. For the season, the National League was about 15 games toward the Under for the season (through Sunday). The American League was closer to 25-30 games toward the Under. If you're trying to force Overs right now, LOTSA LUCK!
Why so many Unders?
*Things have been trending away from scoring since the steroid era ended, and the markets have been slow to properly capture the way baseball is being played...particularly with certain sets of teams.
*We had unseasonably warm temperatures very early in the season that helped scoring. That brought out the Over players. Things cooled back off to normal, or below normal...and scoring went down with the temperatures.
*There are some bad offenses playing in the pitcher's parks (offenses that would struggle wherever they played), which has led to some games where the 'right' total may have been more like 4.5 or 5.
*The St. Louis Cardinals have done a lot of this damage themselves. Everyone thinks of them as a high scoring team because of Albert Pujols. They've actually struggled badly on offense this year, keeping themselves in the divisional race with great pitching. Typically, stuff that looks like 'league-wide' or 'sport-wide' trends are just a few extreme individual team trends.
Is the edge about gone now that totals have dropped so low?
Some sharps would tell you yes. Others would say to let the scoreboard tell you. If Oswalt/Lincecum is going to end 2-1, there's still some room for the lines to move!
I would definitely focus on the best situations and the best stadiums for pitching. You know, some of the teams in hitter's parks are still seeing Overs (Arizona jumps to mind). Ideally you're looking at effective starting pitchers, good bullpens, mediocre or worse offenses, and a good pitcher's park (some guys would throw umpires in the mix too). Right now, you only need about half of those to get Unders! As the lines drop, you'll need the full mix.
Also keep an eye on temperatures across the country. It's not that uncommon to hear people complaining about dead offenses in the first part of the season, then bad pitching once the weather warms up in the summer months. There may be a good whipsaw effect coming up where you can win with Overs before the lines adjust to warmer temperatures.
In handicapping, all sports present unique challenges. Sharps find a way to stay ahead of the curve. Squares are usually way behind the curve. Oddsmakers try to stay ahead of the squares and limit the damage sharps can do. My position right in the middle of the legal sports betting markets lets me see things from every perspective. That's how I help my clients win. I put them on the right legal bets, at the right prices.
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