By Edward Egros
FOX Sports MLB Betting Analyst
Class! Let’s dust off your notes from last season and take a look at some betting trends for 2022.
We want to see what happened, find out why, and then use that information to prepare for when it’s time to place our futures bets with FOX Bet.
Here are three things I noticed:
If you discard pushes, by my calculation, unders won 52% of the time in the over/under.
One of the things we discussed was how offense has gone down in MLB overall. Fewer home runs were the main (and perhaps only) reason for the downtrend.
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This season, 0.74% of pitches were hit from the yard, the lowest mark since 2015. It’s not that hitters haven’t tried, considering 17.52% of pitches were thrown, the highest rate in five years.
Hitters didn’t hit as often either. The 5.78% strikeout rate was the lowest since 2018. Home runs were simply more expensive.
Blame it on how baseballs were stored, bad luck or something else. Betting on unders tended to be the right move.
Some teams grabbed the wins
If the Yankees had had another win, we would have seen five teams with 100 wins in one season for the first time in MLB history.
The Dodgers won 111 games, the most in the National League in more than a century. The NL East presented two Ball clubs with triple-digit wins (Braves, Mets). The world champion Astros surpassed his win total by 14.5 wins. The good teams dominated to a degree that we don’t usually see.
What this result means for preseason overall wins is that only 12 were overs while 18 were unders. For perspective, last season was an even 50-50 split.
What did these four 100-win ball clubs have in common? The ability to get to the base. Four of the top seven teams on the base weighted average were the Dodgers, Astros, Braves, and Mets.
It may have been harder to hit home runs this season, but the best teams have adapted and still found ways to hit runs.
Previous Baltimore’s Birds
The Orioles wouldn’t stay evil forever.
The ball club’s first winning season since 2016 was one worth securing against the spread, covering nearly 60% of its games, the best rate in the MLB. It seemed like bettors believed Baltimore would revert to mean and return to the lackluster brand of baseball we were used to.
One thing the O’s did well was limit base to balls. Her walking rate of 7.2% was the eighth best of the majors. But it wasn’t just the pitching. The youngsters began showing their talent when FanGraphs ranked the Orioles as the second best farming system in baseball.
Eventually, these players would be ready for primetime. Nobody embodied that idea more than catcher Adleyrutschman, who finished with the second-highest FanGraphs wins above replacement among rookies (5.3). Immediately, the O’s stopped being a team you could just bet on to lose outright and get the small payouts.
As always, we’re learning things now so we can apply those ideas to next season. However, it is important not to immediately assume that lines and totals will just jump the other way because the market is efficient.
For example, I wouldn’t blindly bet on overs next season. However, I would research whether home runs are occurring more frequently and then adjust accordingly. Teams could also try to average more, which could increase runs scored.
I don’t expect more teams to match their overall wins either. It’ll likely be closer to a 50-50 split, although I’ll be watching the free hand to see if the market is overreacting to big names going into new places and I’ll be keeping an eye on how well Farm systems work to see if a ball is in. The club aims to have young stars ready for the show.
Finally, the Orioles were a great story and certainly are a postseason possibility in 2023, but the overall wins might be overkill. It’s best to view next season in a vacuum.
More study needs to be done before more bets are released on FOX Bet, but until then… class fired!
Edward Egros is a sports analysis broadcaster/writer, sports betting analyst, data scientist and Associate Professor of Statistics at Pepperdine University. These passions drove him to become a cold brew fan. Edward previously worked for local television, most notably at Fox’s Dallas affiliate, covering Rangers, Cowboys and high school football. Keep following him Ttwitter @EdWithSports.
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