With a full season of legal NJ sports betting ahead, MLB bettors will be focused on betting totals on a daily basis. So, which MLB teams are set to have high powered lineups and cash in “overs” this season?
Steve Buchanan takes a look at the Red Sox, Angels and Reds as your top bets for high scoring games during the 2019 season.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox won 108 games during the regular season en route to a World Series victory over the Dodgers. They boast a very impressive lineup to go with a solid starting pitching rotation. In fact, Chris Sale is favored by NJ Sportsbooks to lead MLB in wins. However, once the starters exit the game, it’s going to be a nail biter each and every night. But first, let’s talk about this offense and what we can expect once again.
As you’d imagine, the Red Sox were one of the best teams in O/U, hitting the over 51% of the time with an 85-82-9 record. It’s easy to see that when the team averaged 5.4 runs per game, which was the highest in the league. With the majority of their lineup returning, it’s easy to rely on the Red Sox as a team to score runs and score runs in bunches. Surprisingly enough, Fenway Park wasn’t a big advantage for the team, as they hit the over 50.6% of the time, owners of a 40-39-8 record. As a team, they ended the year with a .272 average (2nd) a .341 OBP (3rd) and a .461 SLG (2nd). While we can’t expect those huge numbers again, they’ll certainly be in the running as one of the top run-scoring offenses.
The bullpen is going to be a serious issue for the Red Sox. It wasn’t exactly a strong point for them in 2018 and if anything, they’re in a much worse position this season. The loss of their closer Craig Kimbrel and setup man Joe Kelly won’t take long to rear its ugly head and could cost some wins for their starters. Kimbrel saved 42 games while allowing just 19 runs through 62.1 innings. Their current bullpen has combined for 15 saves in their careers, 13 of which belong to Tyler Thornburg. With their inexperience and lack of consistency, the Red Sox feel like another safe team to bet the overs on but for reasons you likely weren’t expecting.
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Los Angeles Angels
Despite losing 82 games last season, the Angels still boasted a solid offense, averaging 4.4 runs per game, which was just around the league average. However, despite that, they were 71-82-9 in O/U, with the under hitting in 53.6% of their games. So what could make them be a good bet for betting the over this season?
I think the Angels are an easy team to glaze over because of how mediocre they’ve been for quite some time now. However, when you really dive deep into some of the hitter’s stats, it’s easy to forget they boast some power. I don’t think I need to remind you about Mike Trout (Trout HR Odds) and everything he does so we can skip him. Justin Upton sports legitimate 30+ home run power and has done so in three straight seasons. The Angels also acquired Justin Bour, who hit 20 home runs between the Marlins and Phillies in 2018. Angel Stadium is a great landing spot for Bour, as it boasted above league average home run numbers for lefties. Also, let’s not forget, Shohei Ohtani should be ready to hit by mid-June, providing some extra pop in their lineup.
The Angels should also allow plenty of runs this season. Currently, their rotation is set to include Trevor Cahill, Matt Harvey, Tyler Skaggs, Jaime Barria and Felix Pena. It’s hard to imagine a pitcher in this group with an ERA below 4, although Barria has the best chance amongst the others. With a staff like this, it’s hard to rely on any of these guys to go out and give you six solid innings. With that in mind, the Angels could be diving into their bullpen early and often, which doesn’t exactly boast much confidence either.
While they improved at closer with Cody Allen on board, getting to him could be a challenge. We have a lot of “could be” and “has potential” players pitching in relief for the Angels. It projects to be better this season but a lot has to fall into place to reach that. Last season, the Angels had a bullpen ERA of 3.92 (18th) with an 8.5 K/9 (19th) while allowing 1.17 HR/9 (7th). Until we see some consistency from these relievers, I think the Angels are great under the radar team to see the over hit more often than not.
The Reds only averaged 4.3 runs per game last season, which ranked them 19th in the league. When it came to the O/U they were exactly 50% on the year with a 78-78-6 record. However, the Reds were one of the busiest teams during the offseason and added a plethora of players to their squad. The addition of Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp brings a massive amount of power, as they combined for 44 home runs and 148 RBI with the Dodgers. A park upgrade for both players will only help their cause as well, as Great American Ballpark ranks as one top hitting ballparks in all the majors.
The biggest question will be the pitching. They dumped some of their worst pitchers like Homer Bailey and Matt Harvey and replaced them with Sonny Gray and Alex Wood and Tanner Roark. All three pitchers aren’t exactly coming off good seasons while two of the three had an ERA north of 4. While all three kept their home run numbers down, Great American Ballpark is not the place to go to keep those numbers down. While I think Gray and Wood could find some success with the Reds, I think Roark will really struggle with the long ball. With that said, all three of these pitchers were average at best and could sway either way this year.
The Reds bullpen wasn’t really an issue last season and they didn’t lose much for the 2019 season. They were low on the totem pole when it came to blown saves with 19 (T-21st), league average in ERA at 4.14 (15th) but had issues with home runs, allowing a 1.15 HR/9 (9th). That is to be expected when pitching half of your games at GABP. With that in mind, you have to like the over with the Reds, especially when they’re home. Last season, the over hit 57.1% of the time, good for the 5th highest rate in the league. While they might be a tough team to nail down on a night-to-night basis, they should be good for runs scored and runs allowed.
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