High Scoring MLB Teams and Situations
The Red Sox (59-29) and Yankees (56-28) continue their American League East battle as the two rivals boast the best records in baseball, winning at a greater than 66% clip. One of those teams is going to end up as a wild card and forced to play a 1-game sudden death playoff game. A flawed system? Last year New York won 91 games and beat the Twins 8-4 in the wild card playoff game after falling behind 3-0 in the first inning, and then New York clubbed Cleveland (102 wins) in the AL divisional series (ALDS). The Bronx Bombers lost to eventual World Series champion Houston Astros in the AL championship series (ALCS) after the Astros (101 wins) took out the Red Sox (93 wins) in the ALDS.
It’s clear that the Red Sox, Yankees and Astros will continue to be prohibitive favorites the second half of the season and following the July 17 All-Star game. But as I outlined in last year’s August article on the top-2 teams Astros and LA Dodgers, you need to be selective when supporting these top teams, as the bigger prices and motivational situations combined with injuries and personnel changes bring about added risk.
Recall last year that the Yankees (91 wins) and Cubs (92 wins) lost money overall for their betting backers despite having powerful offensive production ranking #2 and #8 in baseball in runs scored. In fact, New York went from 4.20 runs per game in 2016 to a full run higher at 5.19 in 2017.
Is the ball juiced?
This year, Boston (5.19 runs) and New York (5.17) are the highest-scoring teams in baseball, averaging more than 5 runs per game joined by Chicago Cubs (5.12), Cleveland (5.02) and Houston (5.02). New York leads the majors with 144 home runs (1.71 home runs per game), and a whopping 1.83 home runs per game at Yankee Stadium. The next closest home run hitting teams are the LA Dodgers (1.42), Red Sox (1.41) and Indians (1.40). It’s no wonder why these top teams take the most betting action, as they also score the most runs, whack the most home runs and hit for the highest team averages, as the Red Sox (.266), Cubs (.266) and Astros (.261) lead the Majors in hitting.
Fans and bettors love to bet on high-scoring teams, and those fabulous five fit the batting glove to a tee. Four of them are in the American League, including the Astros who failed us as a run line favorite last week. Now, add in that the Yankees (33-13) and Red Sox (28-12) also have the best home records in baseball, and you can see why those teams will be laying big prices the remainder of the season and especially at home. The parity is not as prominent this season especially in the American League, where four teams are playing better than .600 baseball (Boston, New York, Houston and Seattle) and three teams are below .400 (Baltimore, Kansas City, Chicago). No teams in the National League are playing greater than .600 baseball or less than .400 ball.
With run scoring in mind, I thought I would throw a curve ball and contrary situation regarding a high-scoring parameter. It happens to also involve the high-scoring NY Yankees. Perhaps when you review box scores or see the final scores come across your screen, device or favorite sports book, you perk up when you see a team win by a big margin.
How ‘bout when a team gets crushed by 10 runs or more, and then comes back the next game and beats the opponents brains out by 10 runs or more? This is a rare situation, but happened last week when the Red Sox rocked their rival Yankees 11-0 as Boston ace Chris Sale allowed just 1 hit with 11 strikeouts. The next day, Sunday, July 1, New York battered Boston 11-1 with their own ace Luis Severino surrendering just 2 hits. Top-tier pitching is still favorable over big hitting teams, and that’s something to keep in mind when betting on baseball and the best teams and high scoring teams.
So, since 2009, there has been just 14 situations where an MLB team loses by 10 runs or more and then comes back the next day and wins by 10 runs or more.
Those revenging teams that win the next game by 10 runs or more are 0-14 in the following game to an average line of -131.
After burying Boston 11-1, New York suffered a letdown as a big favorite, losing 5-3 at home to the Atlanta Braves as a -200 favorite. We took a small swing on the Braves that day, and it paid off with a hit and winning bet as 20-year-old rookie Ronald Acuna, Jr. hit a tie-breaking 2-run home run in the 11th inning to propel the Braves to their fourth straight victory and keep Atlanta in 1st place in the NL East. The surprising Braves are #2 in the NL in hitting, but have since suffered three straight losses.
So look for this rare high-scoring back-to-back situation in the future, and you will have the odds in your favor to cash-in on a proven parameter playing against an inflated favorite likely in letdown mode. You can bet on it.
FairwayJay is a leading national sports handicapper and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. Read more great insights from Jay here and follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay