Posts Tagged ‘baseball’

Doing Blogs is Tedious work and at some times of the year practically impossible. The CBB Season is one of those times when lines are hopping and distracting myself from them is just not wise. We are now heading into “The Blog Season” and I will be having quite a few of them. This first one is important stuff so make sure to pay attention. I see a lot of people around the Net that Handicap Starting Pitching as their main thrust in picking MLB Games. I believe that most spend way too much time doing this, but more importantly, they spend WAY too much time doing it the wrong way. One off those ways will be spelled out in this piece.

HOW MOST HANDICAPPERS HANDICAP PITCHING
There are many ways that people handicap starting pitching but they generally are related to their performance. I guess that makes sense right? Afterall, it is important how well a Thrower is throwing now, it is important how well he has thrown over his career and this year, and it is important to know how he has thrown at home, and on the road. In addition, it can be important to know how he has done verses certain clubs. The Latter is used way too much but that is another Article altogether.

It is unfortunate though that this is exactly how Sportsbooks want you to look at games, because this is how they set betting lines. The fact is, if Pitcher A is on a 3 Game Win Streak, Odds betting him are not going to be conducive to longterm profit. Should we not be finding value betting a Moneyline Sport?

WE CAN FIND VALUE OPPORTUNITIES
I spend most of my time thinking outside of the box because that is where we learn to be better bettors and that is where we have the Advantage over The Bad Guys. I spend hours, even days, looking for situations that win and that does include with this sport having a Database on each and every Pitcher in both leagues. I have learned a lot of things doing this, and primarily the tendencies of each thrower as to how they react to good outings, bad outings, pitch totals, Home/Away performance, certain types of ballparks, certain types of hitters, etc…

One of the most important things I have learned by working extra hard is that Pitch Totals is a VERY IMPORTANT TOOL to use.

WHAT DO WE MEAN BY PITCH TOTALS?
Most Starting Throwers are one Strict Pitch Counts. That simply means that regardless of how well or poor they are throwing in a particular game, the management is not going to let them exceed that number of throws in a game. However, this rule is bent to some extent. It is for instance bent when a Starter has a Shutout in the works. It is bent when a Starter has a large advantage over the particular hitters that are coming up in the lineup. There are other reasons why the rules are bent but these two are probably the most prevalent. There are also times when a Starter does not even come close to his Pitch Count. There are only 2 Reasons for this. An Injury, or Poor Performance. We are going to look at these two situations and we are going to have examples of each as to how that Thrower performs the next time on the mound.

A PITCHER EXCEEDS HIS PITCH COUNT
Starting throwers have different pitch counts but 95% off them fall in the 95 to 110 Throws per game. Exceeding this number of 110 most often means that a Thrower has Over-Worked, sometimes far Over-worked. In most cases it also means that he has thrown a Good Game, otherwise why would he be asked to Over-Work. This means 2 Things most often. It means that the next time he throws, he is likely to be Over-Valued by Oddsmakers. It also means that he is likely NOT to be as sharp. Are you following me? While Most Handicappers see a Pitcher coming off a Quality Start as a Good Thing, in this particular case, it might not be. I have randomly selected two Pitchers, one in the AL, and one in the NL, to do a case study on this. There are Edwin Jackson, and Derek Lowe. While the selections were random, I did choose two throwers that are “Better than Average” since these guys are the most likely to throw OVER their Pitch Count.

Edwin Jackson: Last Year on 5 Occasions, Jackson threw Over his Pitch Count. The Pitch Totals were 129, 149, 115, 123, and 115. While Overall his numbers for 2010 were good with an ERA of 3.24, following these 5 games his ERA was a Lofty 5.19. And the fact is, only one of these games were even close tto being a quality outing, 3 runs in 7 Innings.

Derek Lowe: Lowe had just 3 games that exceeded his Pitch Count with 114, 119, and 112. But Boy did he Suck the next time on the mound. In fact while Lowe had one of his best seasons ever, maybe his very best in fact, garnering a 2.34 ERA for the year, the 3 Outing following these Over-extended Efforts produced 14 Runs in 14.1 Innings worked. Not only was his ERA Near 9.00, but he only managed to throw 4.7 Innings per game. And in fact, his Best Effort was 5.1 innings and 4 runs allowed.

A PITCHER FALLS WELL BELOW HIS PITCH COUNT
With 95 being the Bottom End of Pitch Counts, anything below 80 would be considered well below of what is expected of a Thrower and therefore I have selected that for our exercise. When a Thrower does not meet his Pitch Count it usually means 2 Things. It means that the next time he throws, he is likely to be Under-Valued by Oddsmakers. It also means that he is likely to be MORE sharp. Are you following me? While Most Handicappers see a Pitcher coming off a Poor Start as a Bad Thing, in this particular case, it might be a Good Thing. Why? Because his arm is likely to be more live, meaning his fastball has more zip, and his breaking pitches have more snap. It is also likely if he is a Quality Pitcher, that waiting 5 to 6 days to throw again, allows him time to reflect what went wrong and correct it. The Bottom Line here is that Good Throwers are Good Competitors and a Bounceback is often likely. Let’s look at Lowe last year

Derek Lowe: Last Year Lowe fell below his Pitch count 4 times. Those were on pitch counts of 78, 68, 79, and 78. While Lowe had an outstanding season last year with an ERA of 2.34, the four games following these 4 produced an ERA of just 1.77, or 5 runs allowed in 25.1 innings. His worst outing was 5.1 Innings and 2 runs allowed, his other 3 he allowed just 1 run each.

WHAT DOES ALL OF THIS MEAN?
Well first of all it does NOT mean that every pitcher shows this kind of activity following a High/Low Pitch Total game. However, many do and you have to get to know each one of them. Does this mean they are automatic bets or go againsts? Absolutely not. What it does mean is that some Hurlers exhibit Tired Arms after being Over-Worked, Live Arms after being Under-Worked, and almost in every case, they are Over or Under Valued based on each instance. Can this be a Tool in your Arsenal? Yes. How about an Over-Worked Pitcher with a supporting Poor Bullpen? BINGO!

Advertisements
It is almost never a Happy Moment when a Major League Baseball Manager steps onto the field headed to the Mound. But it is much less happier when the Manager has to do it, not knowing whether he is making the right choice or not. I have continually proclaimed that a Good Bullpen can and will make all Major League Baseball teams better and not only because they get people out. The fact is, a Good MLB Pen makes starting pitchers better, and make hitters for the team they pitch for more productive. What did I just say?
 
MLB Bullpens Feed Success
Just two days ago, I witnessed a game in which the Washington Nationals led the Phillies 4-0 going to the the bottom of the fourth inning. After 5 innings, they trailed 7-4. Why? Because the Nats Manager left the starter in too damn long. Why did he do that? Because he had no clear alternative as his bullpen was and is one of the worst in the Major League’s. So he left Marquis in there too long and Philly had a Feast. The Nats lost that game and they will continue to lose more this year the same way. But how often do we see a team that has good starting pitching but a poor bullpen? How often do we see a team that has a good Bullpen, but poor starting pitching? Almost never, because they work together to make it happen. Regardless of how good a starter is, he is going to run out of gas at some point in the contest. That is when the manager has the decision to jerk him, or leave him in, and that decision is determined by what other choices he has. Teams with Good Mid-Relievers have more options. That means that their Starter’s Stats are going to be better and on the other side, that means their Closers are going to be also, because they get “Set Up” more often in a good spot and are more rested to make good things happen.
 
Managers Are Paid to Manage
This is what these guys do, hence their name. But they don’t get to do that as often with the throwers on the staff unless they have the confidence to to so. They also don’t have the opportunity to do more offensively with hit and runs, stolen bases, sacrifice bunts, and other offensive ploys unless they are working from strength. In this context strength simply means being in the game, trailing by small margin, tied, or ahead in the contest. Already this year we are seeing teams like the Bluejays, Twins, Athletics, Phillies and Cardinals win a lot of money for those that are betting them, and they are also winning a lot of games for their fans. Is it just a fluke that all of these teams are ranked in the Top 10 Bullpens this year so far? I don’t think so.

Baseball Season is upon us and while many Bettors will be winding down and
looking forward to the 2010 Football Season, I will be Revving it up over
the next few months and producing profits that are simply not possible
with football and hoops. Why is that? Because Baseball is not only a
different animal, it is GODZILLA and the Japanese People in my
neighborhood will once again be running for the hills. Baseball, unlike
the other two major sports allows us to actually win more money than we
bet, giving us the decided advantage over the books. Not only that, but
because Baseball is a finese Sport, the Ole Phrase, “Anyone can beat
Anyone else on any given day” is much more truer with this sport.

Underdogs Verses Favorites
I am going to try and do my best not to bore you with tons of statistics
in this exercise, but we are going to have to use a few so bear with me.
Let’s begin with Moneyline Stats over the last 8 years. This length of
time gives us enough scope to determine what has been profitable and what
has not. Betting Underdogs has not been profitable. However, we can find
some situations that have been and the fact is, some are just plain BAD
ASS Profitable. If you had bet ever Underdog in the last 8 years in
Baseball, you would have bet a lot of games and you would have lost just over 179 Units. That’s not too good but let’s look at the other side of the story. If you had bet every favorite you would lost over 730 Units. What does this mean? It means that you have over a 4 Times better chance of winning money if you bet Dogs. But you would still have lost right? Absolutely, because it can’t be that easy.

Baseball Underdogs that are Profitable
There are situations that have produced large profits over the last 8 years and the most prevalent one makes a lot of sense. Teams that play each other a lot often are more motivated to win and so it would make senses that Win/Loss Numbers would be close to 50% than any other situation. And they are. If you had bet all Divisional games (Teams in the same Division) over the last 8 years, you would have over 202 Units of Profit in your Wallet. That is a lot of money. That is GODZILLA Money. In addition to that, Dogs have done much better in the second half of the season and once again for a simple reason. Late in the year, more public money comes into play. That drives Line upward, giving you more value for your buck. I am not telling you to bet all Division Dogs, I am telling you that this is always a good starting point but there is more.

The Mid Relievers
There is a strong correlation between the strength of a team’s Bullpen and
how well they do both in the standings, and in the money made playing
them. When I talk about the Pens, I am not talking about who has the best
closer, although that does come into play. The average starting pitcher
rarely gets past the sixth inning. The average closer rarely gets past 2/3
of an inning. The fact is, as the season progresses, the starting thrower
becomes less and less important and from about May 20th until the end of
the season, starters will average just under 2/3 of an inning less than
previous games. That is based on the last 8 years and that is a
misconception to many. On average we can expect the guy who throws the
first pitch to last about 5.2 innings meaning 1 out short of 6. In
addition, we can expect him to leave the game more times than not, with
runners in scoring position and usually with less than 2 outs. That is why
the mid-line throwers are so important. Here is some info from a selected
year.

Top 6 Money Teams of 2006
Minnesota
Oakland
New York Mets
Detroit
Kansas City
San Diego

The Top 5 Bullpens of 2006
Minnesota
New York Mets
San Diego
Detroit
Oakland

These are listed in order and as you can see, the Top 6 Bullpen’s also
comprised the Top 5 Money Teams. The only excpetion was KC who won some
huge moneyline plays late in the year. Similar results can be found in
previous years and latter years. In most cases, I would rather have a mediocre starter and a good Pen, than the opposite. That works out very well since that is the exact opposite of the way Vegas would like us to think. Vegas Sets Baseball Lines on two factors. The Starting Pitcher and now good or bad he is, and the overall perception of how good or bad a team is. It is our job to determine whether those guys who set the odds have done their homework and often they have not. Let’s remember one important thing. The best pitcher in the league can have a bad outing, the worst one can have a good one, bullpens generally remain fairly consistant. We do have a rate Bullpens for teams like Tampa Bay and Colorado differently because of the venue at which they play. But in most cases, Bullpen ERA is the best way to do this.

Betting Baseball Favorites
It is a fact that over the last 11 years, Baseball favorites have won right at 58% of the time. That means that if all betting lines during this timeframe were -135 plays, one would have broken even. But they are not. And the winning percentages of those games -140 to -220 do not go up as the line goes up. Anything past -140 is the worst losing proposition in Baseball. If you are playing these, you already have one leg in the well and GODZILLA is closing fast. Run Akatsuki, run!! I am not saying that these play don’t sometimes offer value, I am saying that when you bet them, you are already starting out in the hole. Tread lightly with these.

Betting Baseball Runlines
This is probably my favorite subject but not my favorite bet. Anytime I have seen anyone on the internet talk about betting runlines, they always are doing so laying -1.5 Runs. Have we forgotten that we can bet +1.5 Runs? I do that often and when I do, it is usually a Dog Division Game with a pitcher on the mound coming off a poor effort. I am going to cover that Pitcher Poor effort thing in more detail but let’s stay focused on this for now. Below is the Probability of winning by more than 1 run when a team wins the game outright. These stats are from the last 9 years. They are very interesting indeed.

-110s: 70.8%
-120s: 72.3%
-130s: 72.4%
-140s: 74.7%
-150s: 74.5%
-160s: 75.1%
-170s: 71.9%
-180s: 70.8%

Does anyone see what I see? There is not that big a difference in teams winning by more than one run as the Moneyline Spread Rises. What does that mean for us? It means that playing -110’s to -140’s at -1.5 Runs is going to be more profitable than playing anything higher. But here’s the deal. Most Bettors don’t play -1.5 Runlines until the line gets to -150 and those ar the least profitable choice of all based on line value. I do rarely play any -1.5 Runline and all the Ducks have to be lined up before I even consider it, but when I do, I am going to be betting them to give me a + Money Payout and not a -. The Most interesting -1.5 Runline Stats are below and it denotes how often teams win by more than 1 run when they do win the game.

Home Teams: 68.5%
Road Teams: 77.1%
Home Favorites: 69.7%
Road Favorites: 79.1%
Road Favorites more than -120: 80.1%

As we can see, Road -1.5 Runlines do much better than Home -1.5 Runlines. That is simply because the road team always gets their 9 times at bat whereas the home team does not. Vegas does adjust for this fact with lower runline payouts for road -1.5 runline teams.

Additional Thoughts
I could write an entire book on other situations that are winning propositions and I will have more info as the season progresses. I am going to have a separate article on Winning Baseball Totals a little later in the Spring. I do want to let everyone know that some of these stats here come from various websites as well as some that I keep myself. Let’s briefly talk about two of my favorite situations though. The first is The Bounceback Pitcher. I love this one because it gives us two things. It gives us a starter who is motivated to perform well following a not so spiffy performance. And it gives us a Betting Line that is usually out of whack. As Stated before, most bettors bet starting pitchers and these people also usually bet against throwers who are not performing well. The fact is, that is the best time to back a starter. The Second One is The Bounceback Hitter. This is along the same line as the previous one. Teams off ZERO Runs scored get good line value and over the last 6 years have turned a profit each and every year. This is one to look for throughout the season.

There is a reason why I have produced a profit betting baseball over the last 19 years and it is because I always put myself in the best possible winning position. If you do that, you will win also, and the Japanese People in your neighbohood will pay the price.