It’s about victories – good teams win, but hot teams do too.
It’s about life – stuff happens. Get over it.
If you’re interested in more than writing up box scores, you might be want to take a closer look at handicapping.
Betting is great, but with baseball it’s taken to a whole new level by breaking down some of the aspects of the sport which differentiate it from any other game, as well as factors that are completely out of the players’ control. It’s an incredible synthesis of contrasting facets of the America’s pastime.
You take the stats into account, you look at the weather, recent slumps or streaks, you mash it all together and there you have it – baseball handicapping and a system for betting. Sound simple? Don’t worry, it is.
To make it even easier, I think it all breaks down into three groups:
We’ll start with the numbers, and once we’re getting into stats, without a doubt we need to start at the top: with the pitchers. WHIP, ERA, starter record, lefty or righty? Let’s break it down.
Pitcher stats are what make baseball both confusing and amazing, but the best one to use right off the bat is WHIP = walks and hits/innings pitched. Coming into the game, you must look at previous stat lines of the pitcher in this regard. Sure he had a solid outing and won his last start, but how many hits and walks did the pitcher allow along the way?
Once you’re already talking about WHIP the next logical step is ERA = earned run average – one of the most classic pitching stats in the game can be helpful in handicapping but is rather dangerous on its own. Is the pitcher getting wins despite allowing tons of runs? Is he soft and essentially allowing teams to score? Or maybe the pitcher has been just destroying the competition and putting up zeros along the scoreboard. Coupling the pitcher’s ERA with his current WHIP is an excellent way of demonstrating where he stands and his outlook for the next start.
Ok, so your pitcher has fared well recently and put up solid WHIP and ERA numbers, but how does he do against left-handed/right-handed batters? How are they hitting against him? This is where we crossover to look at your team’s batters as well – how have they performed against left/right handed pitchers recently?
Knowing the batters’ percentages against certain types of pitchers with certain types of pitches is an excellent way of determining how they will execute in the game.
A similar aspect of the game that is the next step after a pitcher’s throwing arm is looking at the time of day and the type of field. Some teams perform better at night on turf or during the day on grass. Or vice versa. Or both. Finding these stats out will open up a whole new realm of performance stats for your team.
I hope that wasn’t too intense – but from here it only gets wilder so buckle up. Part 2 – momentum.
Say what you will, but momentum is an integral part of sports and it breaks down into two main categories: streaks and location.
If your team has won 10 straight against a club that hasn’t beat anyone in a month, there’s a better than good chance the winning team will continue its recent success. And if that winning team is playing at home? Well, just forget about them losing. It’s a proven fact that home field advantage exists – it’s not an overwhelming statistic but home teams win the majority of games. Fact. Don’t ignore it.
Speaking of baseball factors you can’t ignore – we’ve reached our final destination: intangibles. Now that you’re a believer in momentum being a facet of the game, you must believe you cannot overlook things that are out of your control.
The biggest example of this is weather – sure playing in a domed stadium will negate this fact – but playing late-season ball in the northeast will have an impact on a team from Florida/Los Angeles/etc.
Another huge intangible is health – baseball is a sport and players get injured. There’s nothing more to it. Sometimes you only find out about a player’s well being hours before the opening pitch and you must take that into account – especially if that players is one of the team’s stars.
What makes baseball so amazing is how much every little detail matters – be it a stat line or weather forecast. Once you take all three of these factors of the sport into account, you should have a much easier time handicapping each game and coming out on top.