It’s not technically the halfway point of the 2012 Major League Baseball season, as every team has already surpassed the 81-game midpoint, but the All-Star Break gives us a chance to catch our breaths and assess what we’ve seen in the season’s opening months.
Don’t see something that you’ve learned by betting baseball in the first half? Talk about it here.
Pittsburgh Pirates: +18.87 units
Notes: Most of the Pirates’ damage has come at PNC Park, where they’re 29-14 and up +15.03 units (making them the best home team as well). Pittsburgh won 10 of 12 games leading into the break to improve by +9.09 units, including a pair of wins in St. Louis as +177 and +176 underdogs.
Philadelphia Phillies: -24.62 units
Notes: Ah, where to begin with the troubled Phils? The recipe for least profitable team is usually a combination of lots of preseason hype and a sub-.500 record, which perfectly describes last-place Philadelphia. The Phillies have been massively overvalued at home, where they’re just 17-27 and down an MLB-worst -24.62 units. The only silver lining is that Philly’s expected record is three games better than their actual record, and their unlucky 9-17 mark in one-run games should improve in the second half.
BEST ROAD TEAM
Atlanta Braves: +12.02 units
Notes: If the Braves could pick things up at home (where they’re just 20-22), they could easily make a run at the Nationals for the NL East title. Atlanta always seems to be just lurking in second or third place, and the team’s 26-17 road record has helped stay in contention in the Wild Card race and within shouting distance of the division lead.
WORST ROAD TEAM
Houston Astros: -18.48 units
Notes: The poor Astros actually looked like a decent surprise team in mid-May, when they were 22-23 and only three games back of the NL Central lead. But they’re just 11-30 since May 25, and they’ve lost 10 straight road games dating back to June 15.
BEST OVER BET
Philadelphia Phillies: 53-31
Notes: With a pitching staff that still includes a trio of marquee names, Philadelphia’s totals were due to be low for an extended period of time. But Roy Halladay got hurt, Cliff Lee couldn’t win a game, and the Phillies staff is currently 22nd in the league in ERA (4.23). Philadelphia has won with pitching for as long as we can remember, but has given up more runs than any other team in the NL East.
BEST UNDER BET
Oakland Athletics: 52-31
Notes: Are we seeing a return of “Moneyball?” Not quite. More like “Underball.” The A’s rank 30th in Major League Baseball in batting average (.225), 28th in OPS (.667) and have scored fewer runs (319) than any other team in the American League. Combine that with a pitching staff sporting an AL-best 3.38 ERA, a home stadium that is a virtual morgue for power hitters, and, well, you get a lot of unders.