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Game 2: New York Yankees (87-47) @ Seattle Mariners (56-77)
New York Yankees: 6.2 runs, -230 ML, Seattle Mariners: 2.9 Runs, +198 ML
The New York Yankees bring game-changing power to any match-up. The last place Mariners will attempt to match the Bronx Bombers today to avoid a three game sweep. With power pitcher JA Happ on the mound, several trends point to the scoreboard sailing over the Total, regardless of whether the Mariners can pull off the upset or not.
Short Term Trends Pointing the Over
The Over is 14-0 in the last fourteen games when the Yankees have been a road favorite vs a team that has lost at least their last two games, and it is not the first game of a series. I find this trend to be intuitive and therefore meaningful. Struggling home teams facing down the barrel of the Yankees lineup figure they will need to score and score often to hang with the boys from New York. They swing for the fences, knowing that manufacturing a run or two will not get the job done. Moreover, because they are home dogs – they have nothing to lose. At the very least, they can entertain their fans if they hit a few dingers.
At the same time, teams in this position will not be quick to pull their starting pitchers. Because the Yankees offense is so potent, they might as well let their starters roll with the punches rather than wasting all of their bullpens arms trying to slow them down.
The Over is also 12-0 in games where James Paxton has started when he had more K’s than Hits allowed in his last start. The Total has gone Over by an average of 3.8 runs per game in this scenario.
While more obscure, this trend makes intuitive sense to me as well. James Paxton has a powerful fastball that he likes to keep in the zone. If a player makes good contact, it’s likely the ball will fly far. When Paxton is dealing in the zone and getting K’s, especially with his powerful offense behind him, opposing batters are more prone to go big. Hit a homerun or strikeout is the strategy, since it is difficult to string several hits together trying to catch up to Paxton’s 98 MPH high heat.
Long Term Trends Pointing the Over
Thanks to a decent lineup and a complete lack of pitching, the Mariners are the #1 over team in the MLB, despite playing in a historically pitcher-friendly ballpark. Seattle has gone over the total in 60.2% of their games this season. Over the past two seasons, only the Red Sox have a higher percentage of games that have gone over the total.
The Yankees offense has surprisingly improved this season, despite missing their two marquee hitters for most of the year. Despite not having Giancarlo Stanton for almost the entire year, and Aaron Judge for most of it, other players have stepped up to steer the Bombers to their best offense in years. The Yankees have gone over their total in 56.2% of their games this year, 4th highest in the MLB. Over the past two seasons, only the Mariners and the Red Sox have a higher percentage of their games that have gone over the total.
Angle: Of course there is no guarantee in any sports wager. Trends, after all, are meant to be broken. Still, considering the confluence of trends pointing us towards the Over, there is only way to bet this game. FanDuel currently has this Total at 9, which I could easily see drifting up toward 9.5 by the first pitch. Take the Over 9 in this game with confidence – it might get there before the end of the 5th.