Handicapping MLB Starting Pitchers
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Advice On How To Handicap MLB Starters Based On Pitch Counts
There was a time in baseball’s history when the pitcher who started the game would almost always ﬁnish it too. Bettors would not so much place a wager on a team as they would on a starting pitcher, almost like a boxing match.
Eventually, books gave the option for bettors to “list” one or two starting pitchers, which oﬀered the bettor insurance in the case of a scratch.
A bet on a listed starter only goes through if the listed starter actually starts.
Today, many books still make this a practice but times have changed. Starting pitchers are not as big a part of the equation anymore. They threw just over half of all team’s regular season innings in 2019.
Complete games (Shane Bieber and Lucas Giolito led the Majors in 2019 with three apiece) and deep starts of seven or eight innings still exist but market prices are less a reﬂection of just the two starting pitchers and now include more of the two bullpens.
A bettor who sets buying points according to just the starting pitching matchup is only capturing half of the equation and putting him/herself at a steep disadvantage.
Knowing what relievers are most likely to come out of the bullpen on a given night does not have to be a guessing game.
Managers determine who is available based on recent usage and checking what relievers will be (un)available based on how many pitches they threw the night before and the night before that should be one of the ﬁrst things a handicapper does.
Most managers don’t have a problem throwing a guy back-to-back nights, unless he went beyond his typical workload the game before. A guy coming out of the ‘pen for three nights in a row is less likely and if he does, his performance may suﬀer as a result.
There are numbers available on the average decline in a relief pitcher’s performance pitching on one day’s work, two, or three but every arm is diﬀerent. As much data as there is in baseball, it is still an art and not a science.
Rather than apply league averages to every pitcher, a bettor will ﬁnd more success by limiting his/her scope and only betting teams he/she knows intimately.
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An idea of who the manager will use out of the bullpen tonight gives the bettor a more accurate picture of the pitching situation and an advantage over the public, which still skews prices based on starting pitchers and perhaps overall bullpen numbers.
Knowledge of these sorts of details is what creates buying opportunities made available by those who have not yet adjusted to the changes in baseball strategy.
What do you think of our article MLB Betting Tips: Handicapping Starters Based On Pitch Counts? Comments are welcome below.
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