The focus of this article is on how to bet on Major League Baseball, specifically, the total, which is also known as over/under betting. When betting baseball totals, you are wagering whether a game’s total score will be over or under a predetermined amount of runs. This total is set by the oddsmakers. Once the total is set, bettors place wagers on the over (or under) of that specific run total.
To put it in simple terms, over/under bets are wagers made on the combined number of runs scored by both teams during the game (this includes extra innings).
For example, let’s take a look at a hypothetical matchup between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. If the Total was set to 8, and you wanted to wager on it, you would be on whether or not both the Cubs and Cards would score more or less than 8 runs.
Suppose the final score of the game ended: Cubs 7 – Cards 5. If you bet the over, you would cash your ticket. If you bet the Under, you would lose your money.
That’s honestly all there is when it comes to MLB over/under Betting. Totals betting is really that easy on paper. This ease of Total bets appeals to a lot of gamblers, especially for those that are new to sports betting. Newer bettors are drawn to over/under bets because it is a simple entry point.
Another reason over/under bets are popular overall, is because you’re not forced to choose a team. You don’t have to bet or root against your favorite team or players, for that matter. If you are a Cubs fan, you don’t have to put your money on the Cards. The only thing you’re interested is the sum of the teams’ total points.
So you can see why Totals bets are so popular, as they are considered such “straightforward” wagers. But, making money from Totals is not as “easy” as it sounds.
Key Factors to consider before betting Totals:
One huge factor to consider when betting MLB over/unders is the wind, as it can have an impact on the results. The stronger the wind is blowing the more profitable it has been to bet the under. Those once easy home runs are now deep pop-ups that only make it to the warning track. It is known that the best park for betting windy unders is Wrigley Field. The tipping point when it comes to wind in baseball at most parks is the 12-15MPH or over range. Winds that heavy can change the trajectory of even a Giancarlo Stanton hit baseball.
Betting against the public
Now this is an angle a lot of “sharp” guys believe in. It is well known that when betting totals, recreational bettors always gravitate toward overs. As a bettor, it is fun to root for a high-scoring game with lots of home runs leaving the field. No one wants to see a pitcher’s duel, except, of course, these “sharps”. Because of this, unders have more value than overs because bookmakers know the everyday “Joe” bettor will bet on overs regardless. This just adds value for these so called “Wiseguys”.
Another variable to consider when betting MLB Totals is the home plate umpire. Umpires have tendencies, and that is just another way to find an edge if you are throwing some money on the game.
Some umps have very tight strike zones. More balls, lead to more walks, which leads to more runs scored. More runs scored leads to more overs! Other umps might have looser zones, which run the opposite way, and benefit the under.
Analyzing starting pitchers and bullpen’s can help with your total bets. Some pitchers start the season slow for example, which might lead to more overs. Some bullpen’s may be gassed come later in the season, which also may lead to more overs.
With the amount of data and statistics out there nowadays, you can use that to your advantage while betting. For pitchers, the best stats to look at before placing your over/under wagers are: SIERA, K/9, BB/9, xFIP and FIP versus ERA. Another good data point to check out is the team’s batted ball data to see their hard hit, soft hit, and medium hit rate percentages.
Every stadium is designed differently, and these small quirks can be the difference between a deep fly and a home run. We already talked about the wind factor at Wrigley, but how about the retractable roof at the Rogers Centre (Toronto Blue Jays). When the roof is open, it is said the wind scoops the ball up and over the outfield wall.
Chase Field, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ stadium is another place where the ball pops more if the roof is open. The humidity combined with the stadium altitude can lead to more runs in the right settings.
Some stadiums have shorter right or left fields or higher walls on one side. Just another game within the game piece to look into when betting Totals.
Needless to say, it is always important to keep an eye on late pitching scratches or injuries in general. A pitching swap can change the entire outcome of the game, and so can a team missing its star player. These injuries are usually reflected in the Total that is set by the oddsmakers, but any small edge that can be gained or lost is important to keep an eye on before first pitch.
As simple as Totals are to wager on, there’s still a lot to consider if you want to make regular and consistent profits. The bookmakers are very good at setting the lines for totals, so you’ll rarely find spots where it’s obvious which way you should bet. You’ve got to do your research and try to make genuinely informed judgements. You need to be patient too, and wait for the right opportunities. Now, go get them!