Handicapping MLB Defenses

Defense wins games and when it comes to MLB handicapping, you can’t afford to ignore the impact of stellar defensive play. So, let’s dive into the world of MLB handicapping – defense style – and explore the ins and outs of this critical aspect of the game.

Dissecting the Defensive Dynamics

When you’re sifting through MLB defensive statistics, don’t just skim the surface. Dig deep and look for the hidden gems that can make or break your bets. Keep your eyes peeled for metrics like DER, UZR, and FIP – these numbers will help you make informed decisions when putting your hard-earned money on the line. Here’s a breakdown of what you should be looking for:

1. Team Performance: The Big Picture

You’ve got to analyze a team’s overall defensive performance to gauge their true potential. Compare DER, UZR, and FIP for both teams to identify trends and mismatches. If you spot a team with a significantly higher DER or UZR, they might have the edge in limiting their opponent’s scoring chances, giving them a leg up in the matchup.

2. Individual Player Performance: The Devil’s in the Details

While team performance is crucial, don’t forget to examine individual players’ defensive skills. Pay special attention to key defensive players like pitchers and outfielders. Their UZR and FIP numbers can provide invaluable insights into potential game outcomes and help you make smarter bets.

3. Defensive Matchups: The Art of War

It’s all about the matchups, my friends. Analyze the opposing team’s lineup and consider their strengths and weaknesses. Evaluate how they stack up against the defense of the team you’re considering betting on. This intel can help you uncover potential betting opportunities or steer clear of unfavorable face-offs.


4. Injuries and Roster Changes: Stay on Your Toes

Keep a close eye on injuries and roster changes that can shake up a team’s defensive prowess. The loss of a key defensive player can seriously impact a team’s capabilities. Sometimes a team will lose a player to injury and insert a player playing “out of position”. A backup shortstop is probably a good athlete, but without outfield experience, they can run bad routes to a ball or be a split second late on their jump creating a huge defensive liability. Watch not only lineups, but the positions in which each player is playing. Adjust your betting strategy accordingly to stay ahead of the curve.

A Balanced Approach: The Winning Formula

Defense is crucial, but don’t forget about other factors like offense, pitching, and weather. A successful betting strategy takes a balanced approach, incorporating various aspects of the game to make informed decisions. Weigh defensive metrics with other factors to boost your chances of success in MLB betting.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best defensive metric to consider when betting on MLB games?

There’s no single “best” defensive metric, folks. Each one offers different insights into a team’s defensive performance. Use a combination of metrics like DER, UZR, and FIP to get a well-rounded understanding of a team’s defensive chops, helping you make better betting decisions.

How much weight should I give to defense when handicapping MLB games?

It’s all about balance. The importance of defense varies depending on the game or matchup. Don’t forget to consider other factors like offense, pitching, and weather. Find the right balance for each game, taking into account the specific circumstances and matchups.

Do injuries and roster changes significantly impact a team’s defensive performance?

Indeed, they can. Injuries and roster changes can shake up a team’s defensive capabilities. Keep a close eye on these factors and adjust your betting strategy accordingly. Remember, staying informed is the key to MLB betting success.

Can strong defense overcome poor offense in MLB games?

While a strong defense can limit the opponent’s scoring chances, it’s important to remember that offense plays a vital role in winning games. A balanced team with both solid offense and defense is often the most successful. When handicapping MLB games, consider both offensive and defensive aspects to make well-rounded betting decisions.


In conclusion, defense is a critical aspect of MLB handicapping. Pay attention to defensive metrics, individual player performances, and matchups to make informed decisions when placing your bets. Combine this knowledge with other factors like offense, pitching, and weather to create a winning betting strategy. Stay informed, stay balanced, and bet with confidence, my friends. Happy betting!


DER: (Defensive Efficiency Ratio) A statistic used to evaluate team defense by finding out the rate of times batters reach base on balls put in play.

UZR: (Ultimate Zone Rating) This stat quantifies a player’s entire defensive performance by attempting to measure how many runs a defender saved. It takes into account errors, range, outfield arm and double-play ability. It differs slightly from DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) in its formula, but the concept is the same. Zero is considered to be the league average. Anything less than zero is bad. Anything more than zero is good. A UZR of +10 would be great.

FIP: (Fielding Independent Pitching) Similar to ERA, but it focuses solely on the events a pitcher has the most control over, including strikeouts, unintentional walks, hit-by-pitches and home runs. It entirely removes results on balls hit into the field of play. A 3.00 FIP is considered to be really good. A 4.00 is considered average. A 5.00 or more is bad.