Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 2:00 PM
For several years now, the American League has utterly dominated the National League in Interleague Play. Things aren’t as one-sided as they used to be. Some of that is because the Houston Astros moved from the NL to the AL. But, so far in 2014, it’s mostly part for the course.
Through the games of Wednesday Night:
American League: 73 wins in IL play
National League: 63 wins in IL play
That’s a winning percentage of 53.6%, meaning that the AL should be favored by about -115 on a neutral field in a juice-free world. Vegas would make them -125 on a neutral field with the underdog getting back +105.
There’s still a lot more of the season left. And, the National League could go on a 10-game winning streak that evens things up in the next several weeks. But, history suggests it’s not going to happen that way. The AL tends to either grind out wins in the fashion you see above, or just blow the doors off in their best seasons. The NL is the inferior league. Still.
What’s most noticeable in the standings is that WINNING teams in the American League overall have done particularly well against the Nationals. Here’s a listing of every AL team that’s currently over .500 through Wednesday’s games…and what they’ve done in Interleague action.
Kansas City 7-2
LA Angels 6-2
NY Yankees 10-7
That’s 40-24 for winning AL teams when they crossover. And, that’s despite the fact that the best team in the AL right now, Oakland, has only played THREE games against the other league. Amazing, isn’t it that the Yankees could have played 17 games against the NL already, while Oakland’s at three, and a couple of teams are only at five.
Let’s turn it around and look at what winning NL teams have done when they cross over.
San Francisco 6-0
LA Dodgers 5-3
St. Louis 5-7
Not bad at 38-28, which isn’t all that different than the 40-24 that the AL posted in this subset. Clearly the main dynamic in play is that winning teams beat losing teams no matter what league they’re in. The AL has a slight edge when similar teams in the standings play each other. It is worth noting I think that the worst from the AL winners is only one game below .500. The NL has two teams worse than that, including Atlanta’s awful 0-6 mark (dragged down by their horrible week vs. Boston).
Handicappers must look for every edge they can find if they want to maximize value. Even though Interleague games aren’t a large part of the overall schedule…and even though they’ve been de-emphasized in marquee importance with the schedule adjustments that spread them out through the whole season…YOU must keep the differences between leagues in mind when doing your analysis.
Avoid losing NL teams when they cross over, but feel free to invest in winning NL teams when they have an interleague challenge (except maybe Atlanta!) Generally shade your action in the direction of the AL because the percentages are still suggesting you do so even after all these years of dominance. And, don’t forget what we’ve talked about in past years regarding “rivalry” matchups. Even though baseball isn’t the same as football or basketball when it comes to “intangibles,” you can still use “bounce back” and “revenge” themes in matchups that carry the most emotion.
We’ll talk a lot more about baseball through the summer. I’ll also start laying groundwork for your summer football preparation as well in the very near future. Picking winners is a year-round job! That’s why my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping runs classes year-round.
If you’d like some help finding the best options on the card every night, you can always purchase my BEST BETS right here at this very website with your major credit card. Questions can be answered by one of my representatives in the Vegas-Sports-Masters office. Call 1-888-777-4155 with queries. There are combination packages that include the rest of the NBA Playoffs with baseball. Early-bird packages for Fall Football always offer fantastic value.
The Dean of Sports Handicapping will be back with you again in very short order. We have so much to do this summer! Enjoy Father’s Day Weekend with your loved ones…and with your TV set given all the great sports events going on right now. See you again soon.