Baseball's Divisional Series TrendsBaseball is a game of tradition and many parts of the game are no different than they were 100 years ago. Others, such as the always hotly debated designated hitter rule, are implementations put in by owners who wanted to make the game more appealing to fans, which in turn would help with ticket and merchandise sales.
One of the biggest changes in baseball occured in 1969 with the creation of the East and West divisions and the two winners would face each other for the right to represent their respective league in the World Series.
In the 1990s the owners branched each league into three divisions and added a wild card team to complete the playoff field, thus allowing fans of more teams to have playoff aspirations and keep them coming out to the ballpark.
In 1995 the first divisional series was held and those series began as the best 3-out-of-5 games, which is the same format being used today in 2011.
More playoff games also meant more betting opportunities for sports fans and plenty of people who tend to shy away from baseball during the regular season get involved when the playoffs begin.
Long-Term TrendsBefore jumping in to a new betting venture, it's never a bad idea to look at the history of what you are going to wager on. There are two different avenues to look at, long-term trends, meaning what has happened over a number of years, and short-term trends, which will give you a smaller sample size, but will show if the long-term trends are still holding to form.
Because baseball betting involves the money line teams with a losing record in a certain situation can still be profitable when they are underdogs, which is something to keep in mind when looking at some of the records.
Totals are also a bit different than those who only wager on football or basketball are used to, as they may also involve the money line, so if you're new to baseball totals I would read Understanding Totals and pay close attention to the section on baseball.
Divisional Series Trends Since 1999Since 1999, home teams are 94-89 in the divisional series games. Home favorites are 73-65, while home underdogs are 21-24 and have a shown a slight flat-bet profit of 1.79 units, even though they were 0-3 in 2010.
Home favorites when throwing a left-handed starter are only 22-23, while home underdogs throwing a left-handed pitcher are 9-5.
In terms of totals, there have been 81 overs, 95 unders and seven ties since 1999. Interestingly, in games where the home team is favored, the totals are 56-78-4 to the under, while in games where the home team is favored, the number is 25-17-3.
In games where there are two left-handed pitchers, the total is 7-12-1 and the trend of the home team going under as the favorite and over as an underdog continues. In games involving two left-handed starters, the totals are 3-11-1 when the home team is favored and 4-1-0 when the road team is favored.
Divisional Series Trends Since 2006In looking at just the past five years, we'll see that home teams are just 35-35 overall and a poor 25-29 as favorites, while home underdogs are a healthy 10-6, but just 2-5 in the past two years and 0-3 in 2010. So while the short-term trends suggest home underdogs are decent wagers, the even shorter-term trends suggest they may not be.
The short-term trends show a bigger tendency for games to go under the total, as all games are 24-43-3 the past five years, which includes an 18-34-2 record when the home team is favored and a 6-9-1 mark when the home team is the underdog.
Home favorites with a left-handed starter are just 7-8, but a nifty 5-1 as a home underdog with a lefty on the mound. In those games where the home team is favored with a left-handed starter, the total is 2-13-0, showing a huge under tendency, while the totals are 3-3 when the home team is an underdog with a left-handed starter.
In games with two left-handed starters, home favorites are just 3-5, while home underdogs are 2-1. Keeping in relation to totals, the games where the home team is favored have gone under seven out of eight times, while two of the three games with a home underdog have gone over the total.
So the trends suggest to give the unders a good look, especially when the home team is favored or left-handed pitchers are involved. Because the public gets more involved with betting the playoffs, shopping for the best number is important, especially when you are betting totals, so be sure to read Betting the Right Number For Baseball Totals and find the best number available.