Apr 17, 2019
Apr 17, 2019

Analysing the start of the 2019 MLB season: National League

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

Who are the biggest overachievers in the National League?

What betting trends have emerged in MLB this year?

Analysing the start of the 2019 MLB season: National League

Credit: Getty Images

While the first few weeks of the MLB isn’t near long enough to model performance, this small sample of data is still enough to help you make informed decision in the baseball betting markets over the next couple of weeks. Read on for an early assessment of the National League teams in the 2019 MLB season.

The information below is fairly simple and easily accessible. This article will not provide you with a profitable edge to take advantage of in the betting market. It will, however, provide a clear and concise breakdown for how the National League teams have performed in the opening weeks of the 2019 MLB season.

National League East

New York Mets

W-L record: 9-6

RS: 88 RA: 83 (+5 diff)

Home: 2-3 Road: 7-3

Favourite/Underdog: 8-6

Over/Under: 11-3-1

Key injuries: Jed Lowrie, Todd Frazier

The Mets have started off with 10 out of 15 games on the road (going 7-3 in that run). The interesting trend that has emerged with the Mets came from their games against the Nationals and the totals. 

The Mets made a lot of changes in the offseason to bolster their lineup. These changes, along with rookie Pete Alonso, mean their run totals marks have been relatively low like last year (mostly in the 6.5-7 range). Interestingly, they have blown past the totals in 11 out of 15 games.

Keep an eye on Mets and how the market reacts to the totals in their games because this is not the same lineup as 2018. There seems to be value on playing the Mets games over but this probably won’t be the case for much longer.

Philadelphia Phillies

W-L record: 9-5

RS: 79 RA: 73 (+6 diff)

Home: 6-3 Road: 3-2

Favourite/Underdog: 13-1

Over/Under: 9-5

The Phillies have been the favourite in 13 out of 14 games (nine of which have been at home). The only game the Phillies were not favoured by the market was on the road against Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals - a game that they won 8-2.

Analysing the run totals for the Phillies certainly throws up some interesting observations. Seven games have had a total between 7-8, and in those games, the Phillies went 6-1 to the over. Seven games had a total between 8.5 and 9.5 and they went 4-3 to the under. Phillies games with totals of 8 or under are landing at the moment and they may continue to do so (especially with their loaded lineup).

Atlanta Braves

W-L record: 9-6

RS: 75 RA: 64 (+11 diff)

Home: 7-3 Road: 2-3

Favourite/Underdog: 10-5

Over/Under: 7-6-2

Key injuries: Mike Foltynewicz, Arodys Vizcaino

The Braves have been the market favourite in 10 out of 15 games (they have played 10 games at home so that is to be expected). They are 5-2-1 to the over when the run total was set at 9 or higher and 4-2-1 to the under when the total was less than 9.

The Braves have been a bit of a mixed bag so far this season but one thing to note is that it’s worth keeping an eye on is Max Fried who is a rookie pitcher, but looked impressive so far.

Washington Nationals

W-L record: 7-7

RS: 83 RA: 72 (+11 diff)

Home: 3-5 Road: 4-2

Favourite/Underdog: 9-5

Over/Under: 9-5

Key injuries: Trea Turner

Early trends have the Nationals going over their totals when they are less than 9 (8-3). In the past, the starting pitching for the Nationals has always been able to keep the games under the totals, but their offense has exploded so far this season, and that has been pushing games over (especially when the run total is below 9 (they have a record of 8-3 to the over at this mark).

The Nationals have lost three games at home as favourites priced at -180 or greater, so it’s probably best to shy away from paying a high price at home on them right now as you can get them at a better price on the road where they still seem pretty strong.

Miami Marlins

W-L record: 4-12

RS: 46 RA: 80 (-34 diff)

Home: 3-7 Road: 1-5

Favourite/Underdog: 0-16

Over/Under: 8-7-1

Because the Marlins are so bad, it’s difficult to find any value betting on them (of course, every team for any given matchup has their price). Going against them obviously seems profitable but you’ll likely find that the favourite is listed higher than you might expect so it’s a case of trying to bet at the right odds.

Marlins Park is known to be a pitchers’ park so the totals are always going to be lower than the average. Coupled with the fact that the Marlins offence is one of the worst in the league, bettors will likely to be drawn to the under but the overs have gone 7-2-1 in this scenario, suggesting that maybe the market is overcompensating.

National League Central

Milwaukee Brewers

W-L record: 10-6

RS: 78 RA: 84 (-6 diff)

Home: 5-2 Road: 5-4

Favourite/Underdog: 12-4

Over/Under: 6-9-1

Key injuries: Corey Knebel 

The Brewers totals have been highly concentrated in the 8.5 or 9 bucket with significant trends early on. On games with a total of 8 or 8.5 they went 6-3 to the over. In the games with a total of 9, six went under and there was one push.

One thing that jumps out from the Brewers’ games so far this season is the number of one run games. They might be a good team but taking them on the -1.5 Run Line hasn’t been working out well so far.

St. Louis Cardinals

W-L record: 9-6

RS: 78 RA: 62 (+16 diff)

Home: 5-2 Road: 4-4

Favourite/Underdog: 9-6

Over/Under: 10-5-1

Key injuries: Carlos Martinez 

The Cardinals swept the Dodgers at home in four straight games (they closed as underdogs in three of those). The trends on the road games show 5-2-1 to the overs. Another interesting trend is when the total was less than 9, they went 8-2 to the over.

By looking at the game logs, you can see why the Cardinals tend to go over on the lower totals. They rarely score less than four runs in a game (it’s only happened twice) which means to market is moving towards them in a game with a total under 9 (this applies to both the team total or the game total).

Pittsburgh Pirates

W-L record: 8-6

RS: 51 RA: 49 (+2 diff)

Home: 4-2 Road: 4-4

Favourite/Underdog: 6-8

Over/Under: 6-8

Key injuries: Corey Dickerson

The one obvious thing to emerge from Pirates’ games early in the season is the lack of scoring - this is why there’s a lot of action on the team total and game totals for Pirates games where the market will continuously move.

When you look at the Money Line odds for these games, it also backs up the lower scoring. There were only three games in which the pre-game favourite was -170 or higher. Judging by the opening few weeks of the season, we can expect a lot of lower-scoring close games. 

Cincinnati Reds

W-L record: 5-9

RS: 52 RA: 46 (+6 diff)

Home: 5-5 Road: 0-4

Favourite/Underdog: 7-7

Over/Under: 4-10

The Reds started off with one of the worst offensive stretches in baseball (their first seven games went under the total) but then they seem to have snapped out of it over the last seven games. This inconsistency will probably come as a surprise to bettors because if you look at their lineup on paper, it should score runs. This should be a concern as it looks like this team could be streaky all year, so if you’re betting on the Reds you’re going to have to pick your spots. 

In spite of the breakout recently, if you look at the games with totals of 8.5 or higher, the Reds were 7-2 to the under (all of the games at home). Luis Castillo has looked like one of the best pitchers in in the league so it could pay to play on him, especially in a first five innings situation. 

Chicago Cubs

W-L record: 5-9

RS: 86 RA: 83 (+3 diff)

Home: 3-2 Road: 2-7

Favourite/Underdog: 10-4

Over/Under: 9-4-1

Key injuries: Jon Lester 

The Cubs bad start seems very similar to the Red Sox in that they had a nine-game road trip that saw them go 2-7. They were the pre-game favourites in five out of those nine games and only won once. Seven out of the first games went over the run total and their starting pitching was really getting knocked around.

The Cubs offence is not an issue as they have scored at least 10 runs in five games so far this season. When the total is less than 9 for Cubs games, they are 4-1-1 to the over. Keep an eye on the market for over-adjustment on the totals when the Cubs are on the road as when they hit the 9 mark there could be value on offer depending on the matchup.

National League West

San Diego Padres

W-L record: 11-6

RS: 64 RA: 67 (-3 diff)

Home: 4-3 Road: 7-3

Favourite/Underdog: 11-6

Over/Under: 8-8-1

When you look at the Padres 11-6 record and in first place, it might appear at first that they are playing strongly. Anyone who has bet on MLB before will be aware of the importance of strength of schedule and this certainly applies to the Padres (they have played the Giants and Diamondbacks in 14 of 17).

If you look at their negative run differential, it comes from a 10-3 loss to the Diamondbacks but apart from that, they play a lot of close games - 10 games have been within two runs of each other and their largest win has only been by three runs.

As far as totals are concerned, 11 out of 17 games have had a total of 7 or 7.5, with six being settled as an over. Their record at home is more weighted to the under which is currently 5-2.

Chris Paddack is certainly one to watch for the Padres, as he’s 3-0 and a strong candidate for NL Rookie of the Year.

Los Angeles Dodgers

W-L record: 9-8

RS: 109 RA: 87 (+22 diff)

Home: 6-4 Road: 3-4

Favourite/Underdog: 16-1

Over/Under: 10-6

Key injuries: Hyun-Jin Ryu

The Dodgers opened the season on fire going 8-2 and winning by large margins behind a potent offence. They beat up on the Diamondbacks, Giants, and Rockies but then lost the next six in a row on the road against the Cardinals and Brewers. It’s still early in the season but we can expect to see the Dodgers take advantage of the weak NL West teams, but struggle a bit more against the better teams outside the division.

Given some of the disparity in quality in a lot of matchups, bettors might look more towards the -1.5 Run Line markets for some Dodgers games as it could offer a bit more value than the Money Line. 

Arizona Diamondbacks

W-L record: 7-9

RS: 87 RA: 94 (-7 diff)

Home: 4-5 Road: 3-4

Favourite/Underdog: 6-10

Over/Under: 10-4-2

Key injuries: Steven Souza, Jake Lamb

The early surprise for the Diamondbacks this season has been their offensive output. After losing Paul Goldschmidt, it was expected that they would be a lower-scoring team, but that has not been the case so far.

The Diamondbacks bullpen is one of the worst in baseball and is mainly responsible for the 10 out of 16 overs in run totals for their games. Six out of seven games with a total of 7 or 7.5 have gone over the total and they were all on the road with the totals jumping back up to the 8-9.5 range when they were at home. 

San Francisco Giants

W-L record: 7-10

RS: 47 RA: 55 (-8 diff)

Home: 5-5 Road: 2-5

Favourite/Underdog: 6-11

Over/Under: 5-11-2

The Giants are one of the worst offensive teams in baseball and they play in the most extreme pitchers’ park so you will rarely see their totals above 7.5 (they have only had one game this year with a total of 8). They have also managed to limit their opponents in run scoring, as no team has scored more than seven runs in any of their games.

The lineup for the game will be crucial as it always is but the play that most bettors will be looking at is the under when the Giants are at home and there are two good pitchers in the game.

Colorado Rockies

W-L record: 4-12

RS: 46 RA: 78 (-32 diff)

Home: 0-6 Road: 4-6

Favourite/Underdog: 8-8

Over/Under: 5-9-2

Key injuries: Daniel Murphy, David Dahl 

The Rockies have been one of the worst teams in baseball, especially against left-handed pitching. They started off 3-4 on the road with four of those games going under the run total (with one push). After winning the first two games at Miami, they have gone 2-12 since and look like they will continue to struggle.

To be fair, they have also played 11 games at Miami, San Francisco, and Tampa Bay - three of the toughest parks to score runs in (seven of those 11 games results in an under in the run total market).

German Marquez is 3-0 in road games and the market continues to lean towards him in that scenario. The bottom line is that the Rockies are an offensively-challenged team and their defence will also struggle against any opposition with a half-decent run scoring ability.

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