Add these things to your current handicapping model and continue looking for additional things that most baseball bettors ignore.
More baseball bettors are using the strength of each team’s bullpen in their handicapping, but it’s still not used enough. The average number of innings pitched by the starting pitchers has been declining for decades, and it’s reached the point where I use the bullpen strength just as much as the starting pitchers in my handicapping.
The first time through the lineup, the starting pitcher has the best results on average. The second time through the lineup, the numbers get worse. Then a large drop-off happens on the third time through the lineup.
Some parks are hitter’s parks, and some are pitcher’s parks. Some parks are fairly neutral. This isn’t a big secret, yet most baseball handicappers ignore it when they evaluate games.
The team with the best pitching gets a boost in a pitcher’s park, and the team with the best hitters gets a boost in a hitter’s park. You need to use this information for every game you handicap.
Every baseball bettor uses a different system and collection of data to handicap games. Some focus on offense first and pitching second, while others start with the pitching and then consider the offense. You need to always use both, but most handicappers ignore defense.
I always start with pitching when I handicap a baseball game, and defense has a great deal to do with the effectiveness of pitching.
The truth is that there aren’t many good catchers in baseball, and there are even fewer great catchers. Catchers like Ivan Rodriguez and Johnny Bench only come along once every decade or two. This means that most teams have to choose between using a catcher that can hit but has poor defense and one that is strong defensively and doesn’t hit much.
When I handicap baseball games, I like teams with strong defensive catchers. They help pitchers in many ways and have a strong overall influence on the entire team defense.
You can find all kinds of fancy new statistics and prediction models, but baseball still boils down to which teams don’t give up base runners and which teams get on base more. From a pitcher’s standpoint, base runners allowed is summed up using WHIP. WHIP is walks plus hits per innings pitched.
WHIP isn’t the end all be all statistic for pitchers, but it’s still the most important factor I look at in every game. I read all of the time how WHIP and OBP, which I cover in the next section, aren’t important, but if you want to be a winning baseball bettor, you need to start using these baseball betting tactics immediately.
On the offensive side of the equation is OBP. OBP is on base percentage, and it tracks how often a hitter gets on base.
The fact is that the more runners a team puts on base, the better chance they have of scoring. The modern game seems to be focused on home runs, but the teams with the best offenses still usually have the best on base percentage.
It’s a common mistake to ignore OBP and WHIP when you handicap baseball games, no matter what the common belief is about their importance.
In the section about catchers, you learned the importance of properly evaluating backup catchers. Catchers get more time off than other position players, but it’s also important to understand the drop-off between the normal starting players at other positions and their replacements.