Early Return on Braves’ New SunTrust Park: Bet the 'Over'

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 4:55 PM UTC

Wednesday, May. 3, 2017 4:55 PM UTC

Now that we are a month or so into the 2017 MLB regular season, we can make a determination on how Atlanta’s new SunTrust Park plays and how bettors could potentially benefit from games there. Hint: lean the ‘over.’

The Atlanta Braves left behind Turner Field and moved to a northern suburb this season to play in the spectacular new SunTrust Park. Turner Field wasn’t really that old, but this was all about the team getting a stadium built for free and cashing in big time.

The biggest question MLB bettors want to know about any ballpark in baseball is whether it benefits hitters or pitchers. Colorado’s Coors Field is the most hitter-friendly park in the league because of the thin air of Denver. So far this season, Coors Field has an ESPN park rating of 1.664 that is No. 1 in the majors. Park Factor compares the rate of stats at home vs. the rate of stats on the road, and a rate higher than 1.000 favors the hitter. Arizona’s Chase Field and Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park are also known as parks that benefit the hitters. All things being equal, you will see higher betting totals in those stadiums.

On the flip side, San Diego’s Petco Park and San Francisco’s AT&T Park are very pitcher-friendly. Those teams generally are built around pitching and defense and, all things being equal, you will see lower game totals in those parks. The stadium with the lowest Park Factor so far in 2017 is the Mets’ Citi Field at 0.653. Anything below 1.000 favors the pitcher.

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SunTrust Park, which has a Park Factor of 1.036, is a bit smaller than Turner Field was. Here are the dimensions of each with Turner listed first. left-field corner: 335/335, left-center field: 380/375, center field: 400/400, right-center field: 390/375, right-field corner: 330/325; wall height: 8-foot-4/6-feet all the way to 16 feet.

As of this writing, there have been 23 homers hit in nine games played at SunTrust Park this season. In 2016, the 23rd home run at Turner Field was not hit until the 17th game there. Yankee Stadium has the highest at-bat/home run ratio in the majors at 19.42.  SunTrust is ninth at 25.9. The ratio at Turner Field in 2016 was 44.4. The Braves are averaging 4.89 runs per game at home compared to 4.16 a year ago.

Certainly, some of those numbers are influenced by teams the Braves have hosted thus far as well as any roster turnover they have had. Atlanta hitters are responsible for nine of those dingers with four by red-hot Freddie Freeman, an early MVP candidate. The Braves are hitting a robust .280 at home.

Keep in mind that offense tends to go up as the weather gets warmer around baseball. Winds also play a role. The Braves consulted years of wind studies from the nearby Dobbins Air Reserve Base in designing the stadium. The studies suggested in general that the wind would blow out more than it would blow in but that patterns varied by month.

The Braves are well under. 500 on the road thus far but have a winning SU and O/U record at SunTrust Park.  Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, the Braves’ home from 1966-1996, was so hitter-friendly that it became known as The Launching Pad. Turner Field favored the pitchers. It’s early yet, but SunTrust looks more like the former and the smart MLB pick more often than not could be on ‘over’ totals. 

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