Stats getting as silly as the prop bets
July 04, 2017 3:00 AM
by Scott Schettler
The available stats for handicapping baseball just keep coming. They’re getting as silly as most of the prop bets offered in Las Vegas sportsbooks.
If you’re interested you can find the “tilts” or the angle of break of a particular pitcher’s slider or his “spin rate” of pitches. Will a batter’s “launch angle” of his swing help you pick a winner? What about the velocities of balls coming off individual batters!
The infield measurements are uniform. Distance between bases, pitcher’s mound to home plate, height of the mound and dirt circle all the same. Batter’s boxes, home plates, bases all the same.
That’s where it ends. Football fields and basketball courts are uniform. Not so with baseball. Foul ball areas and fences vary from field to field and the configuration of those areas changes from venue to venue. No two fields are alike.
It’s easy to get wind velocity and direction as well as the sun and shadows. All this info, no matter how deep you go into stats, will be useless after a few bad calls, which we can’t predict or handicap. We know the hitters’ parks and the under parks. We know the different home plate umpires’ strike zones, but he can still be off a couple pitches and that’s all it takes to switch a winner to a loser.
We might have handicapped all the relevant info correctly but how do we make up for bad calls around the bases? Despite all this baseball remains the easiest to beat over a season provided we use good money management.
Sportsbook management has been crying, especially about the NFL. Week after week they get their lunch eaten. It’s awful hard to lose on the NFL using good old fashioned bookmaking sense.
Sports handicapping is going the way of flip phones and telephones. I don’t think you’ll see many bettors studying two opponents and all the relevant stats and information available on them. Football and basketball, especially football, are covertly becoming studio games. No need to use your brain or get off the couch, just tune into the never ending pre-game shows and expert after expert will break the game down for you. Every network tries to outdo the competition by lining up their very own experts to dazzle their viewers with giddy panel arguments and showmanship.
Next time you see a sports bettor doing his own work in a sportsbook then making a wager on his own opinion and skills, buy him a drink. Most wagers these days are decided by provincial pride or a talking head on TV. No need to waste your gray matter when a 15 watt ex player can make the decision for you.
What makes a grown man or woman attach themselves to and live through a bunch of players on a particular team who don’t give a rats behind about them? Wasn’t always like that. In the glory days of sports betting we had two-way action till corporate thinking took control of bookmaking. They chased so called wiseguys who bet their own opinions and provided two-way action.
Now after they chased any chance of buy-back, i.e. two way action, the public lines up, all in sync, and mindlessly bets the same side. You know the routine: dog/under, favorite/over.
It’s hard to imagine a sportsbook losing on the NFL over a whole season but from the comments coming from sportsbook managers it sounds like they managed to do just that. The Super Bowl was a miracle winner for most sportsbooks but it didn’t get them out for the year.
What to do next season or more relevant what not to do. Forget the Las Vegas sportsbook concept that they have to beat the player. Let the players alone and they’ll beat themselves. Get the best line you can, and if you have an opinion put it in your opening number; then after that, no more “I like team bla, bla” or “it’s going up or it’s going down” as too many sportsbook managers are quoted. The most successful bookmakers back East where I broke in don’t know squat about the teams and don’t want to know. Eleven is bigger than 10, the game is in the BM’s favor.
Set your limits where you can get two-way action. Don’t take $5k all week then take $100k on a single bet. Looks nice in the papers but it’s dumb. Move numbers according to your action. It’s wise to get to the right number quick, then when they begin to take it back move slowly. Example: They lay 6, 6.5, 7, 8. Then they begin taking it back. They take 8 so move slowly, like 8, 7.5, 7.
Don’t overreact on injuries or rumors after you’ve dealt the game. I’m not talking about injuries that are built into your opening number but late injuries and rumors. Most teams can overcome an injury or two for a game. Some injured teams will even play at a higher level for a game. If Brady’s out for a game they can overcome it but not for a whole season. Let the bettors overreact and you’ll pick them up with a blotter.
A successful BM knows it’s the same $20 bill you pass back and forth with your players, only the bookmaker has it for 20 days a month and the players have it only 10. I guess old BMs like me are giving way to a different mindset in LV. www.wiseguys.com