A few years back we asked a group of professional bettors which MLB stats they lean on the most when handicapping the day-to-day baseball schedule.
Here are the five prime numbers they singled out, why they’re important to baseball bettors and which clubs excel or just plain suck when it comes to these stats.
Walks can quickly turn into runs when a pitcher is struggling with his command. And runs can be bad, depending on which side of the scoreboard they end up on.
The Detroit Tigers (3.43 K/BB) and St. Louis Cardinals (3.20 K/BB) have the best team strikeout-to-walk ratios in the majors, while the Houston Astros (1.91 K/BB) and San Diego Padres (2.09 K/BB) bring up the rear.
As far as individual pitchers, Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright tops the bigs with a 9.00 K/BB and has earned +2.22 units. Seattle’s Hisashi Iwakuma (5.72 K/BB, +4.55 units) and Philadelphia’s Cliff Lee (5.48 K/BB, +1.32 units) are also among the leaders in Ks-to-walks ratio.
BA versus left-handed pitchers
Oddsmakers will usually tag an extra couple cents on the moneyline when a lefty takes the mound. Finding value on the other side of those odds can pay off.
The Tampa Bay Rays (.291) and San Francisco Giants (.279) are tops in the majors when it comes to facing southpaws. On the other end of the scale, the Washington Nationals (.215) and Miami Marlins (.223) can’t seem to catch up to lefties.
Baseball bettors want the best bang for their buck when handicapping starters. Getting six good innings from the starter puts you in a solid position to win most bets.
The Philadelphia Phillies are the exception to that train of thought. They lead the big leagues with 56 quality starts but have had most of those ruined by a bullpen ranked second worst in the majors.
Detroit (55 QS), Atlanta (54 QS), and Cincinnati (53 QS) are also among the leaders in quality starts. Minnesota (31 QS), Toronto (34), Colorado (35) and Milwaukee (35) have gotten the least from their starting staffs.
Winning a baseball bet isn’t always easy and bettors will go through a few tough sweats over the course of 162 games. Teams with the ability to come through in crunch time make for smart wagers.
Cleveland owns an 18-8 mark in one-run games this season and Texas is right behind them at 15-8 in one-runners. Toronto and Philadelphia, two of the more costly bets this season, each boast a 9-16 record in one-run affairs.
BA with RISP and two outs
Clutch hitting is the difference between winning and losing a bet. Putting a play on a team that doesn’t crumble when the chips are down can keep you in the black over the course of a summer.
St. Louis is hitting .321 with runners in scoring position and two outs – best in the majors. Cleveland is tops in the American League with a .289 BA with RISP and two away. Cincinnati has put its tail between its legs with a .178 BA with RISP in two outs, and Milwaukee hasn’t been much better with a .182 mark in that situation.
All stats prior to action Friday.