Baseball Betting: ERA

Understanding ERA in Baseball Betting

Earned run average is another important facet of baseball betting. Also known as ERA, earned run average expresses the amount of runs a pitcher gives up per nine innings he pitches. The idea is that the lower the ERA, the better the pitcher. The chart below will help give you an idea of what good, average and bad ERA’s would look like.

2.99 and under – We’re talking rock solid pitcher here. Randy Johnson, Bob Gibson, Pedro Martinez, Jake Peavy, etc. If you’ve got a pitcher on the hill that gives up an average of 3 runs or less per game, you’re going to win a lot of games.

3.00 to 3.50 – These are great ERA’s. Very bettable and very solid.

4.00 to 4.50 – This would be considered to be an average ERA. When betting, it’s probably best to  make sure your offense can score a lot of runs, because your pitcher is likely a liability to you.

ERA’s above 5.00 – These can be solid go against’s considering the circumstances. You really want to go against a high ERA such as 6.00 or 7.00 especially if a really old pitcher who’s lost his stuff is on the mound, a guy that’s recently come off injury or a really young player such as a rookie is on the mound.

With all this being said, be careful. ERA isn’t the sole factor in handicapping baseball. Keep in mind some players are more comfortable at home than they are on the road (and likewise). We’ve actually seen pitchers with 2.50 home era’s and horrible high road ERA’s (Joel Piniero comes to mind when he was a Mariner, Jon Garland as well) so you really have to dig deeper and not only figure out the pitchers ERA, but what their ERA is at home/road as well as versus the team he’s pitching against over the course of his career.

The career ERA of your pitcher vs. the team he’s throwing against isn’t super important, but is well worth checking into, as we can’t explain the logic in it, but some pitchers absolutely own certain teams (Roy Oswalt comes to mind with a 15-0 record vs. the Cincinatti Reds at time of print). Same goes for hitters owning pitchers. (Mike Redmond’s .600 career batting average vs. Tom Glavine over 40 at bats comes to mind) You just never know, so cover yourself by putting in the work and doing the proper studying (handicapping). Or don’t! We do this everyday for you and post our top pick of the day on our free picks page!

Related: How to Calculate ERA