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Daily Baseball 101: Breaking Down Vegas Data - Part II (Run Totals)

Michael Rathburn

Michael Rathburn

Known as “Rath” in the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) community, he has helped run operations for two prominent daily fantasy sports startups. Michael has taken his insider knowledge and expertise in daily fantasy sports to the content side. He was also nominated by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association for Best Baseball Series in 2011.

Over the past few months, I have broken down data on all the important indicators for daily fantasy baseball, and last week we showed how much importance the Vegas money lines and run total lines correlate into daily fantasy baseball success.

Much of the theory on trusting Vegas data is that it's their job to get it right and, thus it must be accurate. However, I have not seen much in the way of data mining or research to prove this. I will say this: I use Vegas data, but after this research my goal is to hone in on the highest optimal situations in which the data will produce consistent, winning lineups. This week we look at the importance of run totals.

Data is taken from March 22-July 7th
1367 games total used in sample.

Average Run Total Per Game 7.9 (Total-# of games)

6-7
6.5-98
7-264
7.5-330
8-227
8.5-223
9-129
9.5-46
10-12.5-43

Most run totals are posted at 7.5 runs and fall between 7-8.5. You want to look at the games with a 6-7 run total for your pitching and nine or greater for your hitters.

Average Runs Score Per Game 8.2 (Average Runs Scored-# of games)

1-37
2-32
3-88
4-81
5-146
6-103
7-181
8-108
9-133
10-87
11-106
12-63
13-63
14-43
15-25 – 96

The majority of games fall around seven runs per game, with five and nine coming in 2nd and 3rd. The key is finding indicators of when a game will be six runs or less for pitching or nine runs or more for hitting.

Teams with Games with six runs or less scored as Favorites

Top Teams
Atlanta-29
St Louis-29
SF Giants-28
Oakland-24
LA Dodgers-23
San Diego-23

Teams with Games with six runs or less scored as Underdogs
San Diego-31
NY Mets-27
Chicago Cubs-26
Houston-24
Mariners-24
Diamondbacks-23

Total – Average Runs Scored

6-7
6.5-6.7
7-7.3
7.5-8.0
8-8.3
8.5-9.0
9-8.8
9.5-9.6
10-10.1
10.5-12.1
11-12.5
11.5-14
12.5-9 (1 game)

The average run total versus the average runs scored per game is extremely accurate, according to this data, often times being between 0.3-0.5 differential.

Now let's look at it from the reverse, taking the runs scored per game and giving the average run total posted.

Runs Scored – Average Run Total

1-7.5
2-7.5
3-7.6
4-7.7
5-7.7
6-7.8
7-7.8
8-7.7
9-7.9
10-8.1
11-7.9
12-7.8
13-8.1
14-8.1
15-25-8.3

Even though you only get 0.1 incremental increase each time the average runs per game goes up, it is still an indicator that run totals are an indicative predictor of actual runs scored.

Team Profiles (Average Run Total vs. Actual Average Runs Per Game Scored)

*This data is only for when the team is favored.

Team – (Average Run Total / Average Runs Scored)

Baltimore – 8.7/7.1 (-1.6)
San Diego – 7.1/6.2 (-0.9)
Boston – 8.6/8.0 (-0.6)
Philadelphia-7.5/7.1 (-0.4)
NY Yankees-8.2/7.8(-0.4)

Outside of the Padres, the four remaining teams show that Vegas is posting higher run totals than what the teams are actually scoring.

Colorado-9.9/12.5 (+2.5)
Pittsburgh-7.4/8.8 (+1.4)
Miami-7.2/8.6 (+1.4)
Detroit-8.1/9.3 (+1.2)
Chi White Sox-7.8/8.8 (+1.0)

With these five teams, you can gain an edge, as Vegas is posting lower totals versus actual runs scored.

Overall, I have spent the last two weeks digging into the Vegas data for the first three months of the baseball season, and I am confident that using this data as one of your indicators in daily fantasy baseball will result in success over the long haul. Remember, in daily fantasy baseball, just because one single game has a total of 10 that night does not guarantee you a high-scoring game. There is a lot of variance in baseball on a given night, so you need to look at your results over longer stretches.

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