Baseball betting is not just looking at the starting pitchers and making a selection. You need to look inside the numbers. Certain teams hit and pitch better on home than on the road, some teams are sensational against lefty pitchers (Mariners) while others can’t hit southpaws worth a lick.
It’s also important to keep up on all the changes taking place on a daily basis. For instance, this week, Red Sox starter Curt Schilling had an MRI done on his shoulder. The results were positive, but for every better this should raise a red flag. An MRI? That’s serious stuff. SOMETHING is bothering the guy. More importantly, the results say so, too, as he’s been bombed the last two starts. Handicappers need to make a note of Schilling and any other pitcher who admits having some kind of malady.
A pair of games I put out this week shed some light on how to breakdown baseball matchups. For instance, the Dodgers were playing at the Blue Jays and several angles stood out. I noted, “LA has had some interleague problems this year (2-7) but remember, FIVE of the losses have come against the red-hot Angels. Starter Brad Penny has had IL problems as well, going 1-8 with a 5.49 ERA in his last 12 starts against AL clubs.”
Those numbers may suggest a play against LA, but while they were 2-7 in Interleague games, five were against the first-place Angels. And the team they were playing this game, Toronto, was not in first place but struggling to keep out of the AL East basement.
I continued, “Penny's been as good a pitcher as the 2007 season has seen. LA is 12-2 in his starts (plus-$915) while he's posted a 2.18 ERA. That ERA comes all the way down to 1.47, if you eliminate his ONE bad start versus the Angels. Toronto has had all sorts of problems versus right-handers this year, going 20-27 (minus-$960), including losing $705 in home games. The Blue Jays are averaging a pathetic 3.4 rpg in night home games versus righties!
Toronto’s Dustin McGowan is just a third-year pitcher making his 38th career appearance and just his 19th ML start. He's no match for Penny. LA is my 15-Star Pitching Mismatch Game of the Week.” As you can see, it was not one thing about the game, but several that pointed toward the visitors. If a team is a money-burner, there are usually reasons behind it, and it’s the handicapper’s job to dig up the facts to support a selection. The Dodgers crushed the Blue Jays, 10-1, as McGowan couldn’t get out of the second inning (down 6-0) on the way to a 10-1 LA rout. It’s always great to have a game virtually sewed up by the second inning!
The same examination can be used for totals. Ask yourself: What kind of park is the game in? A hitter’s park (like Tampa Bay, Boston, Philly, Cincy, Texas)? Or a pitcher’s park (like Oakland, Shea Stadium, Florida)? How does this team hit on the road? Is one pitcher getting bombed his last few starts? What about the team’s bullpen?
The same night I had the Dodgers as my Pitching Mismatch of the Week, I had a play on Tampa Bay/Arizona over the total. I wrote, “Tampa Bay won 10-2 in Monday's series opener at Chase Field and has now outscored Arizona 44-17 in winning the first seven games in the all-time series. Can Tampa make it eight in a row? I'm not sure about that but I do anticipate a high scoring game. Arizona will start lefty Doug Davis. Davis has stumbled in interleague play. He gave up five runs and five walks in four innings in a 10-3 loss to Boston on June 8 and followed that up by yielding four runs, six hits and five walks in five innings of a 7-1 loss to the New York Yankees.
“In his last six starts against the AL dating to 2005, he is 0-5 with a 7.48 ERA! Davis has an 8.36 ERA in four games (three starts) against the D-Rays. Tampa Bay is averaging 5.1 rpg versus lefties this year and should love hitting against Davis. J.P. Howell goes for Tampa and in just 23 ML starts, he’s posted a 5.79 ERA. Arizona has averaged 5.0 rpg when facing lefties at night in '07. They shouldn't have too much trouble with this one. My 10* Total of the Day is on TB/Az Over.”
Doug Davis almost went over the total by himself, allowing 7 runs in 4 innings. The game sailed over with ease, with 26 hits, 39 base runners in a 10-8 Arizona comeback. Again, it’s not one angle but a series of facts that can be pieced together to form the most potent punch on a play. And with baseball games every day, there are more than enough angles and facts to piece together to find the right play!
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