If you want to be a successful MLB handicapper you have to take advantage of any information that will help you win. One thing that I have found very useful in helping me make my MLB plays is keeping track of who is behind the plate. There isn’t anyone who has a bigger effect on the game than the home plate umpire, and getting to know certain umpires’ tendencies can lead to some big profits.
I’m not talking about looking at whether the home or away team wins with a certain umpire behind the plate, but instead looking at the number of walks and strikeouts that are totaled in a game when a specific umpire is working the strike zone.
For example, if you have an umpire behind the plate who is known for having a big strike zone, chances are there are going to be fewer runs scored. Good pitchers have a clear advantage in this situation. They will be able to rack up more strikeouts and less walks, which in turn will limit the opposing teams chances of putting together big innings. Conversely, umpires who have small strike zones will more times than not lead to more runs scored. With a smaller strike zone, pitchers will tend to have more walks and give up more hits, because they are forced to attack more of the heart of the plate in order to get a guy out.
As you can see, umpire statistics are most useful when betting totals. That’s not to say that who is working the plate can’t have an affect on who wins the game, but because the strike zone is the same for both teams in a given game, who is behind the plate will effect the total score more than who wins the game.
While umpires don’t play a huge role on the moneyline, I like to have an idea of who is behind the plate when betting the run line. Games that have an umpire with a large strike zone are less likely to see a team cover the 1.5 run line because there is less of a chance for runs to be scored. On the other hand, games that have an umpire with a smaller strike zone are more likely to see teams cover the 1.5 run line.
Simply looking at who is behind the plate and making your picks off of that isn’t the best strategy to winning big in baseball. You have to have a good idea of who is on the mound for both teams to be successful. Just because you have an umpire with a large strike zone doesn’t mean it’s a lock for the total to go under. If you have two terrible starting pitchers, two teams playing in a hitter friendly park, or a game in which the wind is blowing out, it can easily spoil an umpire’s tendency for a game to go over/under the total.
The strategy that I have found to work over the years is finding games you like without looking at umpire statistics, and then using those umpire statistics to strengthen or weaken your play. If you like a game to go under the total with two great starting pitchers and you see that the umpire behind the plate has a large strike zone, it’s time to load up on that play. If the umpire has a small strike zone in that situation, it might be wise to back off or at least lower your bet.
In no way is this a full proof system that is guaranteed to win, but if you use this information when making your bets, I strongly believe you will end up with a profit at the end of the season.