Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Eric Hosmer
San Diego Padres at Texas Rangers, 8:05 p.m. ET
- Padres (Joey Lucchesi) +122
- Rangers (Cole Hamels) (-135)
- Over/under 9.5
By nature, I’m a contrarian bettor. You’ll never* find me on any heavy MLB public sides, meaning most favorites and overs are off limits.
*alcohol-influenced bets excluded
So, if you’ve already skipped to the bottom, you may be wondering what the H-E-L-L-double-hockey-sticks I’m doing taking another first five-inning over.
While public bettors love overs — since they’re obviously more fun to root for — they aren’t so sure about the first five innings. It just doesn’t feel likely for a baseball game to have five to six runs so early on.
Oddsmakers are well aware of that public perception. They’re also shockingly well-versed on the likelihood of a game seeing some early offense.
Take a look at the following charts, comparing full game over/under results to first five-inning results since 2009.
While full game overs hit at a 49.2% rate, F5 overs hit at a rate of 51.2%. Now that’s not enough to be profitable by itself, but a 2% difference over a 23,000-game sample size is nothing to scoff at.
With that in mind, I’m picking out the interleague matchup taking place in Arlington tonight.
The lack of familiarity in interleague play has historically benefited the offense. In fact, simply taking F5 overs in interleague games has been profitable for bettors, winning 15.5 units since 2009.
Of course then, it would make sense for the first game of an Interleague series to be the most conducive to runs, as that’s usually the teams’ first meeting in at least a year.
Sure enough, looking only at the first game in a series brings the F5 over percentage up to 53.7%, and the unit total up to 32.4.
Throw in some sharp action on tonight’s over, and favorable hitting conditions in Texas — Arlington has the highest FantasyLabs weather rating on today’s slate — and I’ll enjoy rooting for some early runs tonight.
The pick: F5 Over 5.5
Editor’s note: The opinion on this game is from the individual writer and is based on his research, analysis and perspective. It is independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.