Apr 17, 2019
Apr 17, 2019

Analysing the start of the 2019 MLB season: American League

What have we learnt in the first few weeks of MLB?

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What betting trends have emerged in MLB this year?

Analysing the start of the 2019 MLB season: American League

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We are a little over two weeks into the baseball season and we can now begin to analyse how teams in MLB are performing from a betting perspective. If you’re planning on betting over the next week or two then the information in this article should be very useful. Read on for an early assessment of the American League teams in the 2019 MLB season.

This information may not be the most advanced but the teams’ current win/loss record, runs scored and allowed, their home/road splits, betting market position, Over/Under game totals record, and how their roster is shaping up can certainly help inform your decision making process when analysing the MLB odds.

American League East 

Tampa Bay Rays

W-L record: 12-4

RS: 78 RA: 40 (+38 diff)

Home: 5-2 Road: 7-2

Favourite/Underdog: 12-4

Over/Under: 5-10-1

The Rays started the season with a seven-game home stand against the Astros and Rockies. They were home dogs in all four games against the Astros and won three out of four (all went under). They were favoured in all three games against the Rockies and went 2-1.

After the home stand, the Rays embarked on a road trip against the Giants, White Sox, and Blue Jays. They have been favoured in all nine road games and went 7-2. The Rays started with seven straight games under the run total at home, and then went 5-3-1 to the over on the road.

The Rays seem to be a potential value option in the outright markets for the AL East and AL Pennant, but that will dry up in the next few weeks.

New York Yankees

W-L record: 6-9

RS: 73 RA: 63 (+10 diff)

Home: 3-6 Road: 3-3

Favourite/Underdog: 12-3

Over/Under: 9-6

Key injuries: Miguel Andujar, Aaron Hicks, Luis Severino, Dellin Betances, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez

The Yankees have had more key injuries than other team in the league, but there hasn’t been a great deal of movement in the betting market to account for this. Their first six games were at home against the Orioles and Tigers in which they were 2-4. They went on the road for six games sweeping the Tigers 3-0 before getting swept 3-0 by the Astros. They then came home for a home series against the White Sox going 1-2.

The Yankees have an average market position of -213 in their first 12 games, making them one of the biggest underperforming teams against market expectation. The injuries are too much for them to overcome right now, so playing against them is still a potential angle, at least until the odds adjust properly.

Boston Red Sox

W-L record: 6-10

RS: 73 RA: 98 (-25 diff)

Home: 3-2 Road: 3-8

Favourite/Underdog: 16-0

Over/Under: 10-5-1

The Red Sox started off the season with an 11-game road trip that saw them go 3-8. So far, their starting pitching has been some one of the worst in baseball. The market has had them at an average of -171 through 16 games so they have also been underperforming from a betting perspective. Much like the Yankees, the Red Sox will continue to be heavily backed in the market and until the odds begin to reflect their disappointing performances, bettors would be advised to steer clear and potentially oppose them.

Baltimore Orioles

W-L record: 6-11

RS: 71 RA: 105 (-34 diff)

Home: 1-6 Road: 5-4

Favourite/Underdog: 0-16

Over/Under: 11-5 

The Orioles started off the season as heavy underdogs on the road against the Yankees. They took two out of three from the Yankees and Blue Jays. They then went 2-9 in their next 11 games and were also 9-2 to the over for run totals in those games. The Orioles have one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball and the market will likely continue to push over.

Toronto Blue Jays

W-L record: 5-11

RS: 56 RA: 66 (-10 diff)

Home: 4-6 Road: 1-5

Favourite/Underdog: 7-9

Over/Under: 6-9 

The Blue Jays opened the season at home against the Tigers and Orioles and went 3-4 (they were the favourites in all seven games). They went 1-5 to the under in the six home games. After this, the Jays then went on the road against the Indians and Red Sox and went 1-5. In total, nine of their 11 games went under the run total (which is not surprising, given that they are one of the weakest hitting lineups in baseball). 

The big take away from the opening few weeks of the Blue Jays season is a fairly obvious one: they will continue to struggle with scoring runs, especially on the road against better pitching.

American League Central

Minnesota Twins

W-L record: 8-4

RS: 65 RA: 53 (+12 diff)

Home: 4-1 Road: 4-3

Favourite/Underdog: 5-7

Over/Under: 7-5

The Twins opened the season by taking two out of thee at home against the Indians. They followed that up with a seven-game road trip against the Royals, Phillies, and Mets and went 4-3. The Twins have since won two in a row against the Tigers in Minnesota with a record of 11 consecutive wins when listed as a pre-game favourite (this dates back to last year and includes a 5-0 in 2019).

Anyone who has analysed the Twins in any great detail will know they look to be their strongest when Jose Berrios is at home. They are at 21-1 in the last 22 home games in which he was favoured, and they allowed four runs or less. The market will obviously adapt to this kind of information but it could pay to make the early play in this kind of situation.

Cleveland Indians

W-L record: 8-7

RS: 52 RA: 55 (-3 diff)

Home: 5-1 Road: 3-6

Favourite/Underdog: 14-1

Over/Under: 7-8

Key injuries: Francisco Lindor, Mike Clevinger.

Outside of a three-game series against the Twins on the road, the Indians have faced the White Sox, Royals, Blue Jays, Tigers, and Royals. Somewhat surprisingly, they are still only 8-7 overall.

The injuries to Francisco Lindor and Mike Clevinger are taking their toll on this team and their offence is struggling (averaging only 3.4 runs per game). Three out of four Corey Kluber starts have gone over the total which is uncharacteristic of him. Anyone interested in following trends will likely bet against the Indians on the road, especially when they are favoured.

Detroit Tigers

W-L record: 8-7

RS: 40 RA: 49 (-9 diff)

Home: 4-2 Road: 4-5

Favourite/Underdog: 2-13

Over/Under: 4-11

The Tigers opened the season on the road for seven games at the Blue Jays and Yankees. All seven games went under the total and they went 4-3 as road dogs. In six home games against the Royals and Indians they went 4-2 and after the seven-straight under run in game totals, they went 4-4.

It’s clear to see that the Tigers lineup is not very good and while they might outperform expectations for some matchups, the under on game totals seems like the easiest route to finding a value play. It’s worth paying particular attention to when Matt Boyd is on the field as he has been one of the best pitchers in baseball.

Chicago White Sox

W-L record: 5-9

RS: 64 RA: 89 (-25 diff)

Home: 1-5 Road: 4-4

Favourite/Underdog: 2-12

Over/Under: 10-4 

The White Sox opened the season with five games on the road against the Royals and Indians going 2-3 and 4-1 to the over in run totals. They then had a six-game home run against the Mariners and Rays (two of the hottest teams in baseball) and were actually favoured in two games against Seattle - their record over those six games ended up being 1-5 at home and 5-1 to the over. Next, the White Sox travelled to play the Yankees and took two out of three as +180 dogs.

The White Sox are in the bottom half of the league, and the lack of quality within their lineup is evidenced by their poor runs against record - White Sox games will probably continue to hit the over in total runs but it’s up to the bettor to work out if there’s still value in those odds.

Kansas City Royals

W-L record: 5-10

RS: 74 RA: 83 (-9 diff)

Home: 5-7 Road: 0-3

Favourite/Underdog: 7-8

Over/Under: 11-3-1

Key injuries: Billy Hamilton, Danny Duffy

When you see a team with a 5-10 record, you don’t expect they would have been the favourite for seven of those games, but the Royals have (thanks in part to the fact that they have already played 12 games at home). The Royals have been stop-start to say the least. They started off winning three in a row, then lost 10 on the spin before winning the next two.

There have not been any significant trends with the Rangers so far, but their pitching staff is one of the worst in the league, so expect them to always have high totals (especially at home) to adjust for their main weakness. Bettors will likely be looking for value on the totals but there will be plenty of adjustments made.

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