Rookie pitchers can be key to betting games

May 1, 2001 10:39 AM

Some techniques have historically accumulated high merit on baseball handicappers’ value charts. Some elements and angles seem to work well enough to formulate wagering strategy and they are worth repeating early each season.

One extremely predictable area in this sport revolves around rookie pitchers. After all, if the same lineup stands until pitching is announced, it has special meaning. And if pitching changes can draw drastic alterations, this means even more.

To wager successfully, a high-win percentage is required to go against the money line. The answer could lie in these young hurlers.

Since baseball betting lines center upon money odds, they vary according to match-ups of starting pitchers. For a bettor, it is possible to maintain a high percentage by studying rookies on the mound.

Rookies tend to become more emotional than veteran performers. If a rookie throws successfully, he feels unbeatable. But, if he performs poorly, he could fear being sent back to the minors and press too hard.

So the betting angle centers around streaks. Young hurlers are extremely prone to these patterns, much more so than veterans. Support rookies going great guns and play against those who appear sour.

Some handicappers prefer to base evaluations on a gut feeling. They judge which rookies are in top form and which are not.

You might set up rules for qualifications. Consider a rookie favorably, and one to bet, if he tosses at least seven full innings, and gives up two runs or less.

A "bettable" rookie should be played every time he starts, until he is knocked out of the game before completing five innings. And, in that particular game, he must also have allowed more runs than innings pitched.

The rookie is a candidate to be bet against when he was not one of your bettable pitchers last time or has given up as many or more runs than number of innings pitched in his last outing. And he allowed more hits than innings pitched, or the total walks plus hits amounted to at least double the number of innings pitched.

When a rookie qualifies to be played against, it continues for every start until he hurls a complete-game victory, or until his pitching qualifies him as "bettable."

Rookies who perform poorly will not be around too long. But, between that time and until they return to the minors, there are good bets to be cashed. Some bettors set up parameters, as we have just done, while many handicap strictly through a knowledge of sports and personal judgment. In that approach, there is a never-ending search for information to aid the cause.

Currently, players to keep an eye on are Chris Reitsma of the Reds, C.C. Sabitha of the Indians and Christian Parker of the Yankees (DL, April 9th). Other things to look for when handicapping baseball teams include a set lineup. Constantly changing lineups and batting orders are signs of weakness.

Is the manager making the most of his batting order to get maximum results?

Does the manager make proper pitching changes?

Has the manager initiated changes for better or for worse?

How does the team you like hit the pitcher it is facing?

Is the key offensive player or "spark plug" hot or cold?

By scratching the surface in this manner, one can develop a definite grasp for teams and the game.