Six basic baseball stats that will make you a smarter MLB bettor
Baseball is a numbers game, and betting on MLB odds is even more so a numerical battle between bettors and bookies with the vast amount of advanced stats and analytics available.
Diving deep into that statistical jungle can be a bit overwhelming to the casual baseball fan looking to wager a couple bucks on today’s MLB schedule, so here are some high-level MLB stats that hold a lot of value when it comes to wagering on baseball moneylines and totals – and won’t make your head hurt trying to understand how they work.
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. Strikeout-to-Walk ratio gives you a good idea of how a starter is performing, even more so if you shrink it down to their last three appearances.
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. Since starters are priced so accurately these days – thanks in large part to those advanced stats mentioned above – bettors can find hidden value in the batting order, especially if those hitters have excelled versus Southpaws.
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. Quality Starts is a cause-and-effect stat: pitcher that can go deep into games don’t eat up arms in the bullpen, leaving relievers fresh and ready when called to action. Quality Starts are also an important figure when playing 5-inning odds, which put even more value in the starting pitchers.
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. This stats not only reveals which teams crack under pressure, but how their hitters respond to close contests as well as their bullpen depth and closer capabilities.
BA with RISP and two outs
And speaking of clutch hitting, it’s often 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. “Batting average with runners in scoring position” is a great stat to contrast against “runners left on base” and “runners in scoring position left on base”. The top offenses in the majors cash in those runs and don’t waste the opportunity – or your money.
Ground ball/Fly ball ratio
An important stat when it comes to starting pitchers is ground ball/fly ball ratio, which tells you whether the majority of balls hit off a pitcher are ground balls or fly balls. Pitchers that rely on downward movement, like sinker balls, often generate more ground balls while most power pitchers rely on batters popping up as they chase fastballs.
Measuring Ground ball/Fly ball ratio is important when handicapping MLB totals, especially when factoring in strong winds – like those at Wrigley Field in Chicago. On a day when the wind is blowing toward the outfield fences, a fly ball pitcher could get in trouble as those routine fly outs get pushed over the wall. A ground ball pitcher, however, is less susceptible to the wind.