I've had a lot of inquiries from member's asking what all I factor into my MLB Total (O/U) picks. I thought I would share some of my fundamental analysis for handicapping MLB overs and unders. To start - obviously there is no stronger weighting then Starting Pitching. The two starters will have arguably the biggest impact on whether or not a game goes over or under the total.
The key statistics you want to look for when breaking down the starting pitching is ERA and WHIP. ERA gives me an estimate of the average number of runs a starting pitcher will give up over nine innings of work. WHIP tells you the number of walks and hits a pitcher gives up on average in a given inning. One thing you want to keep in mind is that pitchers who have a low ERA and high WHIP are routinely finding themselves with runners on base, but manage to escape unharmed. Finding pitchers who have a high WHIP going up against a strong offense will likely lead to a lot of runs. Beyond the starting pitchers I will also study the strength of each team's bullpen as starters rarely go the distance.
The second most important thing I study is weather and more specific wind and wind direction in relation to the stadium outfield. Chances are if the wind is blowing out, the total is going to go over. If the wind is blowing in, the under instantly becomes a strong play. Following wind and wind direction are just as important as starting pitchers.
Next I look at stadiums as some are more 'hitter-friendly' than others. If you were to simply bet the over on two starters who have really struggled in their last three starts, and not take into account that they are playing in very pitcher-friendly stadium, chances are you are going to end up losing your bet and find yourself wondering what happened.
Something that few handicappers do is keep stats on umpires, well I certainly do and consider it a big factor in my decision making. Who is behind the plate can have a huge impact on the total amount of runs scored. Totals are more likely to go under with an umpire who has a large strike zone, and over when they have a small strike zone.
Other smaller weighted details I consider is Home/Away and Time of Season - When betting the under, it is always better to have the home team as the favorite. Chances are the home team will be leading in the ninth inning and will not have to come up to bat. Avoiding these three outs can easily make a difference in which side a total falls on. With that, you also want to look for overs where the away team is favored. Time of the Season pitchers tend to be at their best at the beginning of the season and cold weather early favors unders, while warmer weather throughout the rest of the season favors overs.
I hope this information helps and if you are looking for extra help this MLB season, join me for my daily best bets. I'm off to another banner year this season (62% on the Season) and would like to invite you to experience a professional handicapper that wins more than he loses.
Article written by: MLB Expert Frank Moone