Special To GamingToday
A sports bettor lost virtually every day during the NBA season. He followed that up by consistently losing on college and pro football. He switched to the NHL and went nearly winless. Finally, his bookie says to the dejected gambler, “You’re not doing very well. Maybe you should try baseball.”
The gambler, perplexed, responded with “Baseball? What do I know about baseball?”
Handicapping MLB is a labor of love for those of us who enjoy sifting through volumes of data. More than any other sport (this side of horse racing), the amount of information can be overwhelming… or illuminating, depending on the prism you view it in.
Some 75% of the handicapping process comes down to identifying which starting pitcher will pitch well and which won’t. No other player on the field has the kind of impact on the outcome of a game than the starting pitcher.
Most will focus on basic stats like WHIP, FIP, ERA+, K/W ratios and so on. But the unique variables are more important. Weather, umpire tendencies, park configuration and pitcher inducement can be separators for an astute baseball handicapper. When factoring in the relationship all of these variables have to each other, you have, for lack of a better term, a “variant” for today’s game.
When I crunch numbers for MLB, I’m always looking for that perfect storm. If you combine low air density, high winds tailing out, fly-ball inducing pitchers in a hitter friendly park and an umpire that has a tight strike zone, it is conducive to hitting.
This “perfect storm” was in play when Cleveland (Trevor Bauer) hosted Baltimore (Mike Wright) on May 27. These pitchers had poor numbers and when combined with the difficult pitching elements, they ended up with extremely low PPR’s (Pitcher Power Ratings). It meant hitters would do well in this game. It went OVER the total of 8.5 by the seventh inning.
Remember to consider the situation the starting pitchers are in today. You’ll find you’ll be able to exploit deficiencies in the line. If you don’t have time to dig into that data, just get a free copy of Track Phantom’s Strike Zone (found right on the GamingToday website). All of the work has already been done for you.
Dave Valento has been involved in horse racing since 1986 and is author of the Track Phantom analysis sheets available for all Southern California live racing and many other major tracks. View a sample analysis sheet at http://www.trackphantom.com Twitter: @trackphantom Email: [email protected]