We are witnessing a profound shift towards offense in two of the United States’ three biggest professional sports leagues. How should bettors react to such a trend?
The NFL is undergoing a similar revolution, but it’s existence has been well-documented. It seems like every season someone in the NFL is breaking a passing yards, touchdowns or total points record.
However, that’s old news. The real breaking story halfway through baseball season and right after the NBA concludes is offense, and a lot of it. We just witnessed an offensive clinic in the NBA Finals and that style of basketball is what the league is moving towards more every year.
In MLB runs and home runs are way up as well, meaning if you have been betting the over a lot over the course of the basketball and baseball seasons, chances are you have made some money.
NBA Total Betting
This past regular and postseason in the NBA saw a ton of great offense. Nine out of the 16 teams made money if you blindly bet the over on all their games and for the entire playoffs the over was 96-60-2. The Spurs were 13-3 and the Warriors were 13-4 cashing the over during their respective playoff runs and the regular season was no exception.
If you include their regular season and playoff records, the Nuggets, Wizards, Suns, and Cavaliers all cashed the over at a rate of 60% or better this past season. Not only has that never been done before, as far as Team Rankings’ data goes back, there have been only four teams to ever cash the over at a rate of 60% or better during the year since 2003. We just had four teams do it in one year!
Combine that and the playoffs we just witnessed and you can see the results of increased offense. The Sportsbooks so far have been slow to adapt, but they will likely try to counter this as early as next season. However, if they don’t we could be looking at another big time year to bet the over.
MLB Total Betting
Something similar is happening in baseball betting right now and MLB is also on pace to crush previous averages for betting the over. 20 of the 30 teams are cashing the over at a rate of 50% or better, while three teams, the Brewers, Mets, and Marlins are all cashing the over at a rate of 60% or better this season.
This is also significant because according to Team Rankings again, since 2007 only four teams have cashed the over at a rate of 60% or more in an entire season.
Baseball’s rise in offense has been attributed to the Statcast evolution sweeping the majors. Hitters are putting more elevation on their swings, which in turn has hitters’ fly ball rates skyrocketing and of course power numbers and home runs come along with that.
There has also been some credit given to a bouncier baseball that MLB switched to in 2015. MLB claims the ball hasn’t changed, but either way, they know they love the surge in offense and they are going to do everything they can to keep it up.
Is The Over Becoming A Sharp Bet?
So, the literal million-dollar question is – Is the over a sharp play now? It would appear so.
For so long in sports betting history, the over has been the squarest of plays. Sportsbooks know our desire for offense and they juice up their lines to give themselves an extra edge. They know every square in the book is going to blindly bet the over more than the under, so that’s how Las Vegas and other online sportsbooks thrive.
However, that appears to be changing. We just witnessed a whole NBA season around it and the baseball season is shaping up the same way. I’m not telling you to start blindly betting the over. Instead use this information to make better decisions about your bets in baseball over the rest of the season.
That’s where this all gets tricky though. I’m just some guy who is insightful enough to see some of these things, but if I’m seeing it and talking about it now, that more than likely means the sportsbooks are already working to fix it.
There could be a course correction from the sportsbooks by the All Star Break in baseball, or by the next NFL and NBA seasons. The ability to exploit the sportsbooks with betting the over on some of these games is still there, but it may be closing fast.