How to Handicap Baseball - Part 3
by Predictem.com Staff
One of the most important factors in handicapping any sport but especially baseball is checking out how hot/cold a team is over the last 5 games or so. Be sure to check team batting average, bullpen ERA and the starting pitchers last few starts. These are all equally important. Does a low team batting average mean that the team in question is going to crap out today and throw up another dud of a game? NO, but it is surely a good indicator of something to stay away from as you should never bet on a game unless there is an offering of clear cut value on YOUR side and not the bookies. Teams go on streaks, both good and bad. Utilize this info to the best of your ability but always keep in mind that old streaks end and new streaks start. Trying to time them can surely be a bit tough, but there are indicators that a team is or isn’t ready to pull out of a funk. A few notable’s being when a team is on the tail end of a road trip, being in turmoil with the media and/or experiencing a high level of injuries to key players.
Another underrated baseball handicapping tool is checking out the recent performance of a teams bullpen. How well has middle relief and the closer been lately? If a good middle reliever went 4 innings last night, there’s a good chance he’s not going to be available for action tonight. If tonight’s starting pitcher is a questionable player and it’s likely your team is going to go to the pen, you may want to pass. Has the closer finished out 2 or 3 straight? If your game comes to a situation where a closer is needed will he be available to pitch? Hopefully you get our gist!
Another biggie is home vs. road. There’s a ton of things that can cause a home record to be better than a road record. We’ve seen it happen but its not as likely that a teams road record will be as good as their home record. The idea here is that a player likely has an apartment or house in the city in which he plays. This means he most likely gets to be with his family, eat home cooed meals and live within the norm of his every day life. The traveling player is eating out at restaurants, sleeping in unfamiliar beds, checking in, checking out, traveling on buses, planes or trains. This type of activity especially towards the tail end of a road trip can take a real toll on a players psyche and wear them down. Make note that these are GREAT spots to check out playing vs. the road team. The last thing we’ll say about this although its a bit overrated is that players get fired up to play well for the 10th man, their fans.
As we wind down this article we’ll finish her out with errors and weather. Errors are tough to handicap because it’s virtually impossible to predict them. Your only weapon here is that certain teams have certain players who aren’t real stable with the glove. These stats can be found in any team stat website. Try to look for “middlemen” (2nd basemen/shortstops) that boot a lot of balls. If you can pinpoint a team that makes a lot of errors you’re really on to something because not only does it allow a runner that shouldn’t be on base to get on base, but it riles the pitcher up and anger can lead to control problems or lack of concentration that may lead to a meat ball right over the plate. How many times have you seen a team just about ready to get out of an inning and then the shortstop boots a ball letting the guy get on base and prolonging the inning only to have the next batter come up and go yard over the left field fence? It happens A LOT!
Ok, we lied, we’re not done yet. Lastly, we finish off lengthy article with a tidbit about weather. Weather obviously doesn’t relate to teams playing games in domes but can be a very solid tool for outdoor games, especially in certain parks such as Wrigley Field where the wind blows like crazy. If the wind is blowing out, there are going to be a TON of dingers that day. At times, the wind howls in as well, which means a lot of balls that may have been hit hard that SHOULD have gone long or for extra base hits aren’t going to as that wind is so nasty it bats everything down. We’ve also seen it swirl which plays havoc on fielders who appear set and ready to make a catch only to have the ball land 5 feet behind them due to a fat wind gust.
Cold weather is another thing to make note of. Nobody likes cold weather. Many players bodies aren’t adjusted to it and this can cause for a lack of effort/performance. This includes rain as well despite most play being halted when it gets too ugly to play.
Well, we hope that you have enjoyed our mini version of our guide to handicapping and betting on baseball games. There’s a ton of loot to be made, you just have to take the time to look for the needles in the haystack.
The Predictem.com Staff
Related: Baseball Handicapping