Since opening on April 8, 2004, the San Diego Padres have played in the spacious confines of Petco Park. When the $450 million stadium first opened, it featured a 402-foot power alley in both left and right field; making Petco one of baseball’s toughest ballparks for hitters. In fact, according to the website ParkFactors.com, Petco trails only The Big A (Angels), Safeco Field (Mariners) and AT&T Park (Giants) as the most pitcher friendly ballparks in baseball.
Those figures are certainly validated by our research. Using our Bet Labs software we found that between 2005 and 2014, the under had gone 422-356 with +36.88 units won — the third most profitable record in our database.
Years of low-scoring games caused the Padres brass to make adjustments to the ballpark dimensions and, before the start of the 2012 season, the left-center field wall was moved in 12 feed and the right-center field wall was moved in 11 feet. The right field wall was also modified, with the height dropping from 11 feet to 8 feet.
Unfortunately for members of the Padres front office, these changes did not improve the team’s run production in home games. The team averaged 298.57 runs per season in home games played between 2005 and 2011. However, that figure has actually dropped to 289 runs/season over the past three years.
Fearing another low-scoring season, the Padres made a host of significant moves over the offseason. In addition to their acquisitions of three powerful outfielders (Justin Upton, Matt Kemp and Wil Myers) the team decided to once again bring in the left field fences — this time by just three feet.
Although this may seem like a very minor change, the results have been undeniable. This season the Padres under has gone just 23-35 which would already qualify as the worst under season in Petco Park history.
The table below displays the under record over the past decade along with the average total at Petco.
|Year||Record||Units Won||ROI||Average O/U|
It’s interesting to see that Petco Park totals have been steadily trending downwards, but the under had continued to maintain profitability until this season. In fact, last year the under went 46-31 (+11.53 units won) in Padres home games, making it the most profitable season in our database.
Perhaps more fascinating is that the average Petco total remains unchanged since last season despite the number of improvements made to both the roster and the ballpark. It would appear that oddsmakers and bettors are still under the impression that Petco is an elite “under” ballpark, and that is simply not the case. Eventually we will see sportsbooks adjust to this trend, but in the meantime there would appear to be value on the over in Padres home games — especially when the total is 6.5 or less.
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David Solar is the Content Manager for Sports Insights and can be reached directly at David@sportsinsights.com.
9/4/15 Update: At Petco Park, the over has now gone 39-23 (+14.63 units won) during the 2015 season. That ranks Petco as the most profitable over park this season.
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