As many of you guys who follow me on Twitter, one of the things I have hit in a more consistent way when talking about baseball picks (MLB) are totals. Totals are a great way to make your bookie pay for lines mistakes. There is no huge science behind it but you have to be very careful and dig for information to make an educated selection. In this post I will be sharing with you a little bit of what I look for when betting an MLB total, either an over or under. Now there are systems behind these plays as I am the recent creator of both, Master Over and Master Under MLB Systems. So there is a lot, A LOT of data behind these plays, but since you have to start somewhere here are a few tips for betting MLB Totals:
Starting Pitching and Bullpens – Almost every game whether you are selecting a moneyline, runline a total for a potential play to bet, it must start with the pitching. It is one of the keys in baseball, if you have a solid established pitcher that can go deep in a game or at least give you 5, 6 or 7 quality innings, your team or total under play will definitely have better chances to hit. Offense is important too but top class pitchers won’t get hit so many times by the same player in one game so you can expect him to be tagged with a few runs but still give you a quality start. Since we are talking about totals here, if you are considering an Under you have to definitely look for quality pitchers on both sides, good ERA and WHIP numbers on those pitchers stats as you don’t want many runs or runners on base that might put in danger your play. Bullpens are also important, you don’t want your starting pitcher to throw 7 Full beautiful inning, reach a high pitch count and have his team’s bullpen mess up the good work he made. So you are also looking for decent bullpen numbers, when having a great starter probably not so much but make sure those bullpen numbers are not so dramatic.
Meanwhile, if you are betting an over you will be obviously looking for the opposite of those things. You can still make a bet on the Over even if you have quality pitchers if the lines and price are favorable. But the perfect Over has at least one of the two pitchers struggling, with high ERA and WHIP. Someone who been struggling during the season to keep his bases empty, always with traffic on bases because at the end those are potential runs. Shaky bullpens are also good if you don’t have a top class pitcher, it is likely he won’t last long, but whenever he is out you might still need a few runs so a shaky bullpen that can get tagged with a couple more is welcome and ideal.
Pitcher vs Batter Matchups – This will be quick to explain, what are the numbers of that pitcher against that particular team? Does he dominates that lineup historically? does he struggles? Or does he just have that 1 or 2 players that always give him a hard time but he ends up winning most of the games? This one is subject to be ignored at times if the pitcher is rolling, sometimes a pitcher in form might struggle with a couple specific batters but is still able to get through the game with less than 3-4 runs and give a quality start. That for a potential under, you will avoid that play if that pitcher has terrible numbers against the opposition with a good sample size. Go for the Over if those numbers are terrible, you will have better chances, but make sure every other detail discussed here match with the requirements to make it a complete play.
Now I guess you can say those are the obvious things we look at, now we will get into things you probably never thought about. One of them being weather and the other one umpires. Let’s start with weather…
Weather – Believe it or not it is important. For example in Chicago, Wrigley field you don’t want to be on an Under when the wind is viciously blowing out at 20mph, every ball in the air will carry, routine fly balls become doubles and doubles will likely be home runs. So you make sure the wind is, FIRST not blowing abnormally in one of those ballparks known for winds blowing a lot, and second if so, make sure the direction of that crazy wind is favorable to your play. That kind of wind but blowing in would be nice for an Under with decent pitchers on the mound. Ideal for an over if it is blowing out even with decent pitchers, conditions will make it complicated for them to keep it a low scoring game so you have a better chance at taking the over. Like that I can give you a bunch of examples of ballparks, wind speed, and their direction… You get the basics of it, almost common sense but sometimes, common bettors forget there is a reason why a line is so high or low on a game.
Umpires – You would think that in baseball, unlike the NBA, refs wouldn’t have that much impact on the game as everything seems pretty straight forward to call and the calls that are important like safe or outs, home run or not can now be reviewed. But when you are betting on MLB and totals specifically, umpires, Home Plate umpires have a pretty decent impact on how the game is going to develop. Going straight to the point it, they can impact the game by how wide, small, tall etc is their strike-zone. You look for those umpires names and the first thing you are going to look for is their strike-zone percentage, it normally ranges from 60% to 65%. The closer an umpire is to 60% the more strict he is with his strike-zone, which means he only calls pitches that are almost perfectly inside the imaginary box. That forces pitchers to make better pitches to the batters, pitches that are more hit-table and those pitches that are “close” end up being balls which causes more walks, therefore more runners on base.
Those umpires in high 63% or more, (always look for their records in O/U) those are umpires that have a wide strike-zone. These umpires call borderline pitches as a strike almost 100% of the time they see one, also call pitches a couple inches off the actual zone strikes causing the hitter to struggle to identify a good pitch to hit making them swing at balls, causing more strikeouts therefore less hits, less runners on bases and less possibilities for runs. These kind of umpires are important especially when you have pitchers that do not have overpowering stuff but know how to locate the ball in places where they can get a call and get the pitch count on their favor to work the batter.
Now, if you have two really bad pitchers and a high % strike-zone umpire it is like flipping a coin. You wouldn’t know if you go with the under or the over, sometimes these umpires make bad pitchers look good, sometimes there is no one in the world who can help them and they will eat all the runs. So it is best to combine all the mentioned points and MORE , line them up and make sure everything is favorable for the play you are considering.
There are exceptions like for everything in life, if you have Kershaw vs Chris Sale it almost does not matter what umpire is calling the game, they should be able to dominate. It becomes more favorable to have a low % umpire if the O/U total is too low but still it is nothing really easy to call when you have two top A class pitchers like that. There aren’t many matchups in the league like that, not even on a weekly basis which is why these tips to start are so useful.
Like I mentioned there are systems I have build for MLB Totals that includes SEVERAL amount of details for these totals to be possible, systems with filters of unlimited data that among many others include these ones I have shared with you. Those systems are called Master Over and Master Under, lots of data and history behind them. Every detail is accounted for and like everything in life they are not perfect. It can hit around 65-70% but I want to work them and their duplicates to perfection with the years. Don’t worry, they are not for sale, I am not selling anything, they are likely going to be patented or something since it is a website/tool I am paying to store it, while I work on them and build more similar.
These things I shared with you here, are pretty basic for Pro Bettors but new stuff for common bettors, public or squares as known in the business. There shouldn’t be a reason for you to be guessing on a game total from now on after reading this. At least you will be looking for some of this info, and feel better about making the right decision based on this. For example in the mind of a public bettor they see a high total at Wrigley Field on a day game, look at how bad one or both of those pitchers, not particularly aces pitched in their last game… Well they see the total set at 9.5 and decide that it is an easy Over without realizing things like the wind is blowing in at 20mph ( which is why odds-makers and sharps know the line is perfect) that those pitchers struggle against each other teams and/or that the umpire has a wide strike-zone and will have a higher than usual strikeout rate and help the pitchers out.
You will never have everything lined up your way, all the details won’t be perfect for you to make a call every time, some will be very close which is why you are going to look closely at the lines, is the number on that total good enough to play Over or Under? Sometimes you will see an umpire that is a 61-62% which basically favors Overs but his record is favorable to Unders, that is when the other details come into play. Those games were probably affected by the weather, or pitching staff was very good or the line was too Under friendly. 64% – 65% umpires are the best for Unders anything lower than that, (always checking O/U records) should be a good ingredient for an Over. So be very careful when you get this kind of info. An over umpire just by itself won’t make your game an over and vice-versa. There are errors, and situational things during a game, nothing is guaranteed but at the time of you placing a bet you will NEVER feel better and more calm knowing you did your job when selecting that play, the rest just leave it up to the players on the field.
Hope you guys enjoyed and learned a little bit more about this, I am not a professional writer so this was probably not written in the best way possible but I definitely wanted to post some good content out there and I am sure you all have gotten the message and what I was trying to say in each point. I will likely be passing by this post a couple times to edit it, make some corrections but the main idea will be the same. Those are some of my basic main points when handicapping a MLB Totals.
** The featured picture was a 2 Team Parlay from yesterday (6/29/17) Made with my Master Under System as a test. Systems are VERY recent just a couple days for both Overs and Unders, we are going to crush Bookies so hard they won’t know what hit them! (Lol)