Betting baseball totals is no easy task. Starting pitchers, lineup changes, injuries, and a host of other factors make choosing which side of the over-under to be on difficult.
Finding trends among the 30 teams (and ballparks) can also be a tall task. But there’s a certain trend that can’t be ignored given its sample size — and it’s showing up again in 2021.
From 2018 to 2020, games at Wrigley Field produced an under at an incredible 57.4% rate — more than two percentage points higher than the next closest stadium (Oakland Coliseum, 55.2%).
It’s a remarkable stat considering the firepower of the Cubs’ offense — with Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javy Baez, and Willson Contreras, just to name a few. Even during the Cubs’ World Series run in 2016, the under hit at Wrigley 52 times in 89 games (58.4%).
So how has this trend fared in 2021? As the MLB season reaches the quarter-way point, games at Wrigley Field have hit the under in 12 of 23 games (52.1%). That isn’t exactly the 57.4% rate we saw the past three seasons — and 52.1% isn’t close enough to be considered a trend — but let’s break down how we got here.
The Cubs hit the over on Opening Day in a 5-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, and they followed that by reeling off five straight unders to finish the Pittsburgh series and in all three games against the division-rival Milwaukee Brewers. Chicago “split” its overs and unders in series against the Braves and Mets before two more unders in another three-game set with the Brewers.
But the over has heated up in line with the Cubs’ bats. Beginning with two overs in a doubleheader with the Dodgers on May 4, five of the past seven games at Wrigley Field have gone over. The Cubs offense has averaged 5 runs per game in those, perhaps heating up as the weather does the same.
The Cubs pitching remains an issue — which oddsmakers are almost certainly taking into account when producing their totals — ranking 21st in the MLB in ERA, 20th in batting average against, and 24th in WHIP.
It’s certainly something to keep an eye on as the weather warms up and Wrigley continues to morph into a hitter’s ballpark.
Oddsmakers will have no choice but to increase game totals — those totals averaged 8.36 in April and 6.8 in May, so we should see oddsmakers continue to increase those totals which could, in turn, results in more of those Wrigley unders we’ve become accustomed to seeing the past three seasons.