We’re almost to the halfway point of the 2021 MLB season and our betting knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of every team grows further with each passing week.
As bettors, we need to find some of the key handicapping nuggets that might be off the radar. To do this, sometimes you have to go beyond the scope of the here and now, and expand beyond the current season for running trends that continue to produce.
One of the best things we can do is to look back at the recent head-to-head history between teams. When you do this, it becomes clear, certain teams just match up better regularly with certain opponents than others. Furthermore, certain teams just play better or worse at specific ballparks. In many cases, as you will see when analyzing the astounding records, these trends simply can’t be ignored, and if anything, should be ridden hard until we see signs of changing.
Here are my top MLB head-to-head series trends:
Dodgers have won 13 straight games vs. Pirates (+13.2 units, 101.5 percent ROI)
Next series: Aug. 16-18 at Los Angeles
This is arguably a series of the best team in the NL vs. the worst in recent years, so it’s no surprise the Dodgers have fared well against Pittsburgh. They have won 13 straight and were underdogs just once during that streak, clobbering the Pirates’ pitching staff for 7.4 runs per game. Rest assured Los Angeles will be a heavy favorite in all three of these games.
Cardinals are on a nine-game winning streak vs. Pirates (+9 units, 100 percent ROI)
Next series: June 24-27 at St. Louis
Another trend going against Pittsburgh here, although this one is rather short-lived, dating back to Sept. 18 of last season. The Cardinals snapped a four-game losing skid to the Bucs that day and since then 6.1-3.0 on average. St. Louis’ postseason hopes could hinge on its ability to continue their dominance in this series, as 14 head-to-head games remain to be played between the clubs.
Giants have won nine in a row vs. Diamondbacks (+9 units, 100 percent ROI)
Next series: July 1-4 at Arizona
Another nine-game winning streak is in play in the NL West. Nearly every team has beaten up on Arizona in 2021, and San Francisco is no exception, boasting a 6-0 record so far. The current division leaders have put up an amazing 50 runs in those six games! This rivalry has just begun, however, with 13 more games on the slate.
A’s are on a 12-3 surge vs. Indians (+13.65 units, 91 percent ROI)
Next series: July 16-18 at Oakland
In terms of overall success recently, the A’s and Indians are relatively even, so it’s unusual that the head-to-head play would be so one-sided. Yet, it is Oakland dominating Cleveland lately, going 12-3 in the past 15, despite being favored only four times in that span. They have yet to meet in 2021, so we’ll see how the current teams matchup, but this trend dates back to 2017, so I wouldn’t expect the tide to suddenly shift.
Indians have won 10 of their last 11 vs. the Angels (+9.05 units, 82.3 percent ROI)
Next series: Aug. 20-22 at Cleveland
While the Indians have struggled with the A’s out of the West division, it’s been a different story with the Angels. The pitching has stifled Halos’ hitting, holding them to just 2.6 runs per game during the 11-game stretch. Just last month, the Indians rode an eight-game head-to-head winning streak into Los Angeles and won twice, despite being an underdog in all three games.
A’s are 22-1 in their last 23 vs. Tigers (+18.75 units, 81.25 percent ROI)
Next series: Aug. 31-Sept. 2 at Detroit
In terms of wins and losses, this series is the most lopsided in recent years in baseball, with Oakland having zero trouble with Detroit. I personally bet this matchup twice in the three games the teams played in Oakland in April, as they were extremely moderately priced despite the recent series data. The A’s swept that three-game set, holding the Tigers to a total of two runs, continuing the overall dominance they’ve enjoyed. Mark your calendars for the last week in August.
Yankees are on an 18-4 burst vs. Seattle (+12.85 units, 58.4 percent ROI)
Next series: July 6-8 at Seattle
The Yankees are on a lengthy and highly profitable run against the Mariners. They have been almost equally proficient at home (8-2) as on the road (10-2), so this appears to just be a solid matchup for New York. They have outscored the M’s 5.0-2.7 on average, so pitching has been dominant. Interestingly, of the 22 games, the Yankees are 12-1 in this series when playing as favorites of -140 or more, and 6-1 in games with lines of +100 to -115. Both have proven to be near-automatic line range scenarios.