Handicapping Baseball: Who has the Edge?
by Wilson of Predictem.com
Baseball is definitely a game of inches, but how do you know who to put your money on? Well, its not an easy formula especially since baseball has a statistic for just about everything! You know how it is when you hear the commentators on TV discussing how A-Rod is batting .351 when he eats Subway before a game!
Seriously, many sports handicappers break the sporting event down one piece at a time and some how, magically create the over/under and the spread.
In baseball there are three major areas that usually separate winners from losers: Pitching, defense, and speed. Sure, its great to have big sticks who can drive the pill over the monster but without the other three, over time, teams will lose more than they will win.
Teams with a great pitching staff usually keep ball games under control by shutting down the other teams offensive attack. I know thats obvious but thats the simple result of great pitching. If you make a wager on a game where the over/under is 7 or more you might want to find out who is on the bump (which most sports books will have the starting pitchers listed anyway), as their ERA will give you an insight of a likely run total.
ASIDE FROM HANDICAPPING A GAME, THE SECOND MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR
IS THE PRICING OF YOUR ODDS. ARE YOU BETTING AT A DIMELINE
Defense in Major League Baseball is huge. The MLB is the highest level of play and errors are few and far between, usually! However, if you know that a certain left fielder has trouble getting to balls hit to his left side, or a shortstop who tends to let the ball play him; then you will probably favor the other team. One error in a MLB game can determine the outcome.
Ricky Henderson single-handedly beat teams by using his speed on the base paths. Speed, in this case, does not kill, it wins! Its so important to get runners into scoring position in baseball, and if you have guys who can giddy-up its fun to watch. Also, when there is a guy on second base it forces the pitcher to alter his game plan as he now must address two players at the same time. Pitchers will sometimes leave a ball in the wheel house or make a mistake because they are so worried about the runner on base.
Baseball is the most second-guessed game in the world. Managers make decisions based on how they see the game and sometimes it works well and sometimes they get fired! There are guys like Tommy Lasorda who are storied and legends that survived years as a manager and then there are guys who we dont even remember who simply made to many get fired decisions. I always at least consider the manager as part of my handicapping formula even though they dont play- they make the call as to who does.
Hey, I havent even touched on all of the factors that lead up to an accurate spread or over/under in a baseball game. The major three (pitching, defense, speed) are simply my opinion, but other pieces to the puzzle will be shared in future articles. For example, we will discuss weather, home vs. away, ballpark backgrounds, jet leg, traditions, and many more crazy criteria that may effect the outcome and spread on a game. Until next time, luck to ya.