Baseball Umpires

With handicapping legend Tony Salinas


Last week I talked about the most important fundamental in my view when it comes to handicapping baseball. The WEATHER! Weather and stadium conditions are a vital part of every single game that's played in the majors, yet most handicappers and bettors ignore it.

This week, I'm going to talk about the second most important factor. UMPIRES! The home play umpire plays an enormous role in the shape of a game.

  • Umpires with LARGE strike zones make life very easy for the pitchers. Borderline pitchers are called strikes. That turns .300 hitters into .220 hitters right here. Obviously, you want to bet UNDER whenever umpires with large strike zones are behind the plate.
  • Umpires with SMALL strike zones make live very easy for the hitters. Not only do pitchers throw more walks, but they get frustrated and lose their composure. It's very easy for good hitters to produce off frustrated pitchers trying to deal with a small strike zone. Obviously, you want to bet OVER whenever umpires with small strike zones are behind the plate.

How can you find out which umpires are which...and which are neutral so you can just focus on the teams, pitchers, and weather?

  • Watch a lot of games! It's not hard to figure out if you're watching a lot of games on the big screen TV's at Vegas sportsbooks, or on your Extra Innings package on cable. If the hitter's keep complaining, you know it's a large strike zone. If the pitcher and catcher keep complaining, you know they're getting squeezed. If nobody's complaining, you're probably dealing with a fair strike zone.
  • Keep track of run production for each umpire! I was the first handicapper to do this many, many years ago. The umpires were listed in game boxscores. It just wasn't that hard to grab a sports section each day and log the scores for each umpire. Over time, clear tendencies would pop out. Some guys would have mostly low scoring games. Others would have mostly high scoring games.
  • Remember the normal rotation. Whichever umpire is at first base today will be behind the plate tomorrow. Umpires move clockwise around the diamond from day to day. If you're looking at night one of a three game series, whoever is at first base Friday will be at home Saturday...and whoever's at second base Friday will be at home Sunday.

Let's take this past weekend's Yankees/Red Sox series for example. You couldn't know way ahead of time who the home play umpire would be Friday in Game One. But, Chris Guccione was at first base Friday. He would rotate to home play Saturday. Mike Winters was at second base Friday. He would move to first base Saturday, and home plate Sunday.

Now, thanks to the internet, you can usually find out who the umpires will be in that first game about 30 minutes before first pitch. When sports websites post the batting orders and lineups a half hour before the game, they also list the umpires. In the old days, I had contacts at all the ballparks who would call me and let me know who was behind the plate in that first game.

It's important to remember that most umpires will end up being close to neutral. You're looking for the extremes on either end. And, we're not talking about 100% advantages here. The guys who show tendencies will go about 55-60% to the logical direction over time. Occasionally you'll find somebody who registers in the 60% range for an extended period (usually an Under umpire). Nothing works every single game. This is an approach that has been documented to GET THE BEST OF IT over time.

I mostly use umpire information for Over/Under bets. But, I will also take experienced pitchers who know how to work the strike zone when they're throwing in front of an Under umpire. Tom Glavine in his prime used to be great with that kind of ump. But, if an Over guy wouldn't give him the close ones, Glavine got into trouble...particularly later in his career.

Studying umpires by itself will help you make money. Combining an understanding of umpires and the weather is even more lethal. You'll get 2-1 or 3-0 games with Under umpires in Under weather, but 12-8 games with Over umpires in great hitting environments. Oddsmakers just can't put the lines where they need to be in those circumstances. You won't see a total of 3, or a total of 20 on the baseball boards even if those are the "right" numbers for the conditions in play.

I strongly encourage you to focus on these elements during the 2011 baseball season. If you feel it's too much work, you can take the easy way out and sign up with TONY SALINAS. I'm a HIGH ROLLER because I know how to find edges and keep playing them (sometimes for decades!). You can become a HIGH ROLLER yourself by playing the exact same games I'm betting the biggest myself. Those are available online for credit card purchase every day here at the website. You can try a few days out to test the waters, or enjoy discounted rates on seasonal packages. If you have any questions, call my office at 1-888-536-8880.

Have you been taking the worst of it so far this baseball season because you've been betting on overhyped teams who are off to disastrous starts? Play it smart. Start GETTING THE BEST OF IT with TONY SALINAS!


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