We discussed some of the MLB parks that are friendly to hitters, now it's time to take a look at stadiums favoring pitchers and how they affect the MLB odds.
Horace Greeley advised Americans nearly 150 yeas ago to go
west and seek their fortunes. The same
advise today might apply to MLB pitchers who are looking for friendly ballparks
to ply their trade.
Fans who love low-scoring games are in luck if they're
living along the West Coast. Five of the
six stadiums which sit within 25 miles of the Pacific
Ocean ranked in the top 6 toughest venues to score in a season
ago, and the sixth was in the top 10.
Five of the six also proved to be profitable for gamblers
betting the UNDER.
The only real debate is which of the half-dozen parks
deserves the No. 1 ranking, and like almost any other argument in sports, that
comes down to what stats an individual gives more priority among their
criteria. Long-term results, according
to the fine folks at BaseballReference.com, point to AT&T
Park in San Francisco
over Seattle's Safeco Field and San
Safeco produced the fewest runs in 2012 but actually was
easier to poke home runs out than AT&T.
Each of those stadiums ranked tougher in both areas than Petco, and all
three are relatively new ballparks with Seattle's
arena the oldest having opened in 1999.
Based on O/U results in 2012, bettors might lean towards
Safeco Field. Mariners home games
finished 31-47-4 O/U/P against the MLB Odds a year ago when Seattle
pitchers ranked third in the American League with a 3.76 ERA. That nearly 13 unit return for UNDER wagers
was one of the best in the majors for the season.
Park went 36-41-1 O/U/P
on the 2012 campaign while Giants hurlers posted a 3.68 ERA (5th-lowest) and
1.275 WHIP (7th). The UNDER got off
strong showing with 29 of the first 42 games failing to reach the total. The final 36 regular season games went OVER
at a 24-11-1 clip, then 7-1 to the high side in the postseason. San
Francisco's diamond was also the toughest to swat a
home run, and a 421-foot distance to right-center plus a 25-foot wall in right
were big reasons why.
If you guessed Petco
Park was the only West
Coast arena to turn a profit for OVER bettors in 2012, give yourself a pat on
the back. San Diego
home games finished 43-37-1 for totals wagers, though San Diego's arena rated third-toughest on
Toughest On Hitters Of Remaining West Coast Trio
There is a lot of buzz about the potent lineup in Anaheim now that Josh
Hamilton is part of a batting order that also includes Albert Pujols and Mike
Trout. Just how much additional scoring
results at Angel Stadium remains to be seen as the park ranked in the top 4 of
toughest places to score runs each of the past three seasons.
The Big A was the sixth-toughest park to hammer a home run
out in 2012, a full eight rungs lower than Detroit's
Comerica Park which is generally considered a
tough locale for hitters. The UNDER got
off to a good start at games played in Anaheim last year, but the record at
season's end was a fairly level 38-40-3 O/U/P.
Up I-5 in Los
Angeles, Dodger Stadium was only slightly friendlier
to UNDER bettors at 36-40-5 despite finishing 28th among 30 parks in
scoring. The diamond at Chavez Ravine
surrendered the ninth-most home runs, but helping keep the scoring down were
fewer walks per game than places like Petco, AT&T and Safeco.
O.co Coliseum up in Oakland
is the last of the six pitcher-friendly venues on the West Coast, and the huge
expanse of foul territory in play has long been a contributing factor. Athletics home games were 35-45-1 to the low
side of totals during the regular season before an 0-2-1 mark in the playoffs.
A couple of ballparks on the right side of the map also rate
very highly on the pitcher-friendly front, and actually proved to be the most
profitable for UNDER bettors MLB picks in 2012.
Park, probably my
favorite of the new generation of stadiums (opening post-1990), consistently
ranks as a good venue for pitchers.
Long-term park factors place Pittsburgh's
field just behind those in San Diego and Anaheim, and 2012 totals
went 30-48-3 O/U/P.
Tropicana Field in St.
Petersburg did even better than that at 29-49-3. The Rays' home park ranked even with Citi
Field in New York
in terms of scoring, and far tougher on home run hitters.
Be sure to check out my article on the best parks for hitters!