Over The Wall: MLB Bettors Relish First-Half Foresight As Season Reaches All-Star Break

Posted By Dave Bontempo on July 13, 2021

Crank up the MLB betting victory dance.

Several New Jersey online gamblers celebrate their All-Star Game positions for MLB season-long wagers placed back in March. The most dominant angle: “over” betting.

Victory awaits those who took the Boston Red Sox over 79.5, San Francisco Giants over 75.5, and the Seattle Mariners over 73.5 back in March. That’s also likely for the Tampa Bay Rays at 87.5 and Chicago White Sox over 90.5-win totals at varied books too.

A similar tip of the hat if you selected the Atlanta Braves (44-45) under 91.5 wins and the Minnesota Twins (39-50) below 88 at BetMGM. But the under-achievers are fewer.

More on these big stories below, but let’s first hit a four-bagger, the big four angles followed by New Jersey online bettors.

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The saga of Millville Mike Trout

A May injury shelved three-time MVP Mike Trout, who entered the season as a substantial favorite in the +200 range.

But Oh Goodness, it’s Oh-Tani in the aftermath.

In Mike’s shadow, fellow Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani became the rage of baseball. His homers (33) and proficient pitching (87 strikeouts in 67 innings) made him the -300 MVP ultra-chalk at William Hill

Before Trout’s injury, Ohtani was bet down from +5000 to +1600.

Philadelphia Phillies continue to tease

DraftKings Sportsbook and William Hill placed the Phillies odds in the 80.5 and 81.5 over-under win total this year. By varied extremes, they reached the .500 threshold at 44-44. At this pace, the “over” would win on about half the bets.

As .500 teams will do, the Phillies have tantalized their backers.

Just after they gained three straight walk-off victories and swept the New York Yankees in a two-game set, they went south. A string of bullpen disasters enriched “over” bettors for a two-week period, when the relievers allowed more than a run an inning.

The Phillies bullpen remains a disaster, but they won seven of 10 to close the break. They beat the San Diego Padres, Chicago Cubs and the Red Sox in three consecutive series. After the bullpen gave up runs in 10 of 11 games, they somehow closed with two clean games.

That’s how .500 teams go. They kick you out, they pull you back in. The Phillies may do both in playing 12 of their next 14 at home.

Streaky teams like this present opportunities.  If the Phillies fall five or six games below .500, they would be due for a surge, so think about taking them for individual games. The opposite goes if they leap to six or seven games above .500.

This pattern just occurred with the Cleveland Indians. Slated for 81.5 wins at major books, they reached 10 wins over .500 despite injuries to top pitchers Shane Bieber, Zach Plesac, and Aaron Civale.

Were they playing over their heads?

Yes, and some bettors spotted the subsequent nine-game losing streak, playing into it game-by-game.

New York Mets are doing it with mirrors

A DraftKings preseason inner-office assessment said “take the over” 90.5 with the Mets, which seemed logical with the addition of slugger Francisco Lindor and ace pitcher Carlos Carrasco.

But what happened?

Carrasco hasn’t pitched (but he may soon), nor has Noah Syndergaard, two expected major cogs.

Lindor could be considered a first-half bust. But the Mets are 47-40, on pace for 87.5 wins.

They are still in the hunt for the “over” and have lost no faith among the sportsbooks. The Mets are still -286 to win the National League East and +450 to win the pennant.

They open the second half with three road games against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds.

The Bronx Bombouts: New York Yankees are in trouble

At 46-43, as they say in North Jersey “Fuh-Get-About It’ for the Yankees’ “over” total of 96.5, which 79% of William Hill’s bettors took before the season. The Yankees odds are also -210 not to make the playoffs.

Anybody who saw that in March? Genius.

The Yankee bullpen, headed by Aroldis Chapman, yielded seven ninth-inning runs to the Angels, six last-inning runs to the Mets, and a six-spot to the Houston Astros within a few days. That’s a monolithic meltdown from their supposed area of strength.

The Yankees play eight games early in the second half of the season against the Red Sox. New York is a good target for dramatic under-achievement, followed by over-achievement.

They have the bats. So, when it no longer matters, they may pummel some teams. Great one-game “over” targets.

Around the league

New Jersey sports bettors wager heavily outside the region too.

So go figure that the Giants at 57-32 have baseball’s best record.  They are on pace to won 103 games. The emergence of pitcher Kevin Gausman and solid long-ball threats like Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, and Brandon Belt have the Giants leading MLB with 132 homers.

Manager Gabe Kapler, fired by the Phillies in 2019, must love this. 

The Red Sox hit the break 55-36, on pace for a whopping 97 victories. They were slated for 79. They average more than five runs per game.

And for the Mariners, 74 wins is a layup for a team that hit the break 48-43.

MLB betting Patterns to consider

The Los Angeles Dodgers are slightly below the William Hill projected total of 103.5 victories. They have been as low as 101 at BetMGM and 102.5 at DraftKings.

What have their patterns been?

The Dodgers are a combined 15-2 versus the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies.

They have feasted against weak teams and earned series sweeps against the Diamondbacks, Pirates, and a pair of sweeps versus the Washington Nationals. In four-game sets, they often win three. They have seven series sweeps. But the Padres and Giants give them trouble.

The Dodgers play the Rockies right after the All-Star break.

Here’s another betting consideration: run trends.

The Red Sox, Dodgers, Houston Astros, Chicago White Sox, and Toronto Blue Jays all average more than five runs per game. The Giants are nearly at five.

Figure these numbers into game total over-unders. And good luck.

Photo by AP/Aaron Doster
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Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others. He writes significantly about the emerging world of legal New Jersey sports betting.

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