Challenges from MLB Ebb and Flow
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PITCHING INCONSISTENCY A HURDLE FOR ODDSMAKERS, HANDICAPPERS
I've put together a few quick exercises for you that will help shed light on the challenges oddsmakers and handicappers face when studying Major League baseball pitchers.
- Ubaldo Jiminez of Colorado is having a great season. His won-lost record is 14-1, and his ERA this year is an amazing 2.27. Imagine you have to put a line on a game where he's pitching. Go ahead and call it a home game. His opposing pitcher has fallen on hard times, and has an ERA of 7.66 over his last three appearances, allowing 17 earned runs in 17.2 innings. What do you make the line. Jiminez by -200? Jiminez by -250? Even more?
- Tim Lincecum of San Francisco has become a perennial All-Star at his very young age. He has an 8-4 record this year, with a solid 3.28 ERA. Let's say he's pitching at home against a struggling opponent. The other hurler has been a bit out of sorts for several weeks, not just the last three games...with an ERA of 4.89 over the last nine outings...and 8.00 his last two games. Isn't Lincecum also a prohibitive favorite given those numbers?
- Phil Hughes of the New York Yankees has taken a huge step forward this year. He has a 10-2 record, and an ERA of 3.58, which is strong in the American League where you have to face a Designated Hitter instead of the opposing pitcher at the plate. He's at home (where the Yankees are very expensive). He's facing a guy who's struggled for a few weeks, posting a poor 5.88 ERA over his last nine outings. What should Hughes be favored by over a guy who's ERA is two runs higher than his own?
Clearly we're talking about high moneylines here. But, if you're an avid follower of Major League baseball, you're a few steps ahead of me. In my examples, all three of those pitchers would be throwing against themselves! And, there's no way you make a pitcher a huge favorite over himself. It's the same guy!
Jiminez has gotten rocked his last three starts. Lincecum has been pedestrian over his last nine starts. And, Hughes seemed to lose his magic about eight starts ago.
How should this affect your thinking as an oddsmaker? Will the "version" of the stars with their full season stats show up? Or, will the guys struggling with their recent form be on the mound instead?
Don't think this is some academic exercise meant for stat snobs. This is a real world dilemma that oddsmakers and professional handicappers face all the time. If oddsmakers get it wrong, their employers take a big hit to their bottom line. If gamblers get it wrong, they go broke.
What's the right answer? How should YOU deal with this?
The beauty of sports wagering is that the "right" answer means you have to win more than you lose, rather than winning all the time. Frankly, it's impossible to know for sure what to do with these examples. You have to do your best to determine which stretches were flukes...which stretches were influenced by injuries...and which stretches best exemplify the pitcher as his normal self.
Personally, I put MOST of the weight on a pitcher's career abilities. How good is he? What are his strengths and weaknesses? Most established pitchers have made it clear who they are and what they are. The numbers are just random noise that can distract you. If a guy has bad numbers recently though, I look for news regarding injuries or mechanical flaws. Bad numbers are often a red flag that something is wrong. Both handicappers and oddsmakers need to see red flags when they're waving.
Think about this week, and after the All-Star break when you're trying to pick baseball winners. Oddsmakers don't always guess right. These kinds of issues represent windows of opportunity that you can take advantage of. If you're not confident with your own analysis, sign up with the man in the middle of the legal sports betting markets! I'll put you on the right pitchers...and the right teams...at the right prices.
Call 1-877-822-2276 to sign up for my service. You can also purchase my BEST BETS here at the website with your credit card. Be sure to check on my early football rates. I do offer big savings to anyone willing to make an early commitment. I'm honored to rank so highly in the VSM poll. I'm hoping to hear from many of you who voted for me this summer!
Sports handicapping presents myriad challenges in all sports. That's why it's important for you to remember that the best information will always come to you DIRECT FROM NEVADA!
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