With spring training under way and the first pitch of the season coming up in less than a month, I thought now would be a good time to help readers out with how to handicap baseball. I’ll try to make this as simple as possible so a beginner can use the material as a guide.
If you do not have all day like I do to break down each individual team and their matchup, try sticking to just a single team. If you live in a market with a Major League Baseball team then you will have all kinds of good local information to use. If you don’t live in a baseball market, then you can still benefit from checking out news online from various sources, including top blogs for that niche.
There are all kinds of stats for baseball, which can lead a bettor to suffer information overload or give them all of the tools they need to win. If you know what you are doing then this is a sport you can dominate, so let’s take a look at what I think is important:
1. What type of pitchers are throwing?
Know what category both the pitcher your team has going and the team they are facing have on the mound. Is it a power pitcher, ground-ball pitcher, flyball-pitcher, or knuckle baller? There are other types too, but group these guys together and see how your team and the opposition does in those situations. This is important with certain ballparks especially.
2. Is it during the day or night?
Is the game home or away? Is it on grass or turf? Is the location a hitters’ park or a pitchers’ park? These are quick and easy factors to look into and then apply to your team. Some players see the ball better at night, others during the day. Same with pitchers.
3. Average runs scored when certain pitchers are on the mound?
This is more of a fine art. Each year there are guys who get a lot of wins with a poor ERA, and guys with terrible records who hardly let anyone cross the plate. I think some of the time it’s just due to the smaller sample set and expected fluctuation. However, hitters will relax if they know they don’t have to score many runs for their ace, and other times a team might think a five run lead isn’t safe.
4. Are you attached to the team?
I know there are tons of Cubs, Yankees, and Red Sox fans out there, but you need to take a step back and bet with your mind and not your heart. If you have feelings involved, you are going to be worse off.
This is just a partial list of what I use, but if you have any other tips and tricks you would like to share, I’d love to read them in the comments.