Evaluating MLB Odds Using Starting Pitcher Matchups

Baseball bettors are constantly reminded of the significance of analyzing matchups and MLB odds. Much of the focus is on how a starting pitcher compares to an opponent’s offense. Analyzing pitching matchups can be difficult. When looking at those starting pitcher matchups, keep the following factors in mind.

Key Points

– When analyzing MLB odds, bettors need to focus on the pitching matchup.

– Starting pitchers can tell bettors a lot about how to handicap a certain game.

Recent Hitting Performance

The team’s recent performance is important to consider because bettors can be misled by a team’s overall record and reputation. This may cause them to completely disregard how they are doing in the short term.

Even the most effective offensive team will experience periods throughout the year when they go through slumps. If your pitcher is doing well and the public underestimates the opposing offense, there is a good chance that you can find some value. That is, if you are aware that the opponent is currently playing to its potential.

The consistency of the opposing hitters is equally important. If the opposing offense is typically reliable, you can concentrate on how well they complement the pitcher.

However, if a team is inconsistent at the plate, you are going to have to make an educated guess. You may have to search through other factors on this list to assess how well a pitcher matches up to that offense.


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Hitting Against Similar Pitchers

You should look for how the opponent has hit a pitcher who is similar to yours. A team that has struggled against a similar pitcher is likely to do the same. Maybe a pitcher throws a lot of sinking fastballs.

If the next opponent has a pitcher that throws the same pitch, you would expect the opponent to struggle again. The more you can identify how a team has hit similar pitchers, the better off you’ll be. 

It’s the same with ground balls versus fly balls. If a pitcher produces a lot of ground balls against a very strong defense, the likelihood of that team’s success isn’t very high. That helps in evaluating MLB odds when handicapping games.

MLB Odds & Recent Pitching Performance

Like other position players, pitchers get hot and cold too. They go through streaks. Public bettors tend to overemphasize recent performances. There are ways to measure pitching performance though.

Looking at stats is one way, but there are times when stats can be misleading. Consider the pitcher that gives up five or six runs in two or three innings in his first start of a season. That will skew his early season stats. For more on betting MLB early in a season, check out this link

Sometimes, pitching performance and wins and losses are not directly related. A pitcher can have a great game. He gives up two hits, one earned run, and lasts a full seven innings. Then, the bullpen explodes. It could be that his defense failed him and committed a few errors that led to several unearned runs.

These days, bettors can look at a pitcher’s ERA and compare it to his xERA, or Expected ERA. Expected ERA takes out those runs that result from circumstances other than poor pitching. 

If a pitcher has an ERA of 3.94 but his xERA is 2.11, bettors should recognize that this pitcher has had some bad luck. He is more likely to pitch closer to the 2.11 ERA than the 3.94. Keep that in mind when assessing recent pitching performance.

Consistent Pitching

A pitcher’s inconsistent performance can give bettors serious headaches. Some pitchers have a tendency to throw with accuracy and velocity almost every time out. Others do not. 

With an inconsistent pitcher, bettors will find it very difficult to evaluate the pitching matchup. That will make it difficult to handicap the game. Bettors would have to find some other factors that were useful to accurately assess the MLB odds in this case.

Other Factors Affecting MLB Odds

Baseball bettors know there are a few other factors that can influence how a pitcher will perform. These include things like game time, location, ballpark, weather, and more.

Some pitchers do well at home. Many pitchers do not do well at Coors Field in Colorado. It is one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in MLB. It’s also at higher altitude, which many players find difficult. 

There are pitchers that do not do well in afternoon games. Early season games often give some pitchers a hard time, especially those played in colder climates.

Rest is another huge factor. There are times when a pitcher has to start again after only three or four days’ rest. That is not typical, but it happens. 



Consider Public Betting

When evaluating MLB odds, one of your top considerations should be how the betting public sees the game. Don’t forget, sportsbooks are well aware of how the public reacts. 

If a big-name pitcher is on the mound for a popular team – the Yankees or Dodgers, for example – you can bet sportsbooks are shading those lines. The Yankees might be a -175 favorite, but since they are so popular sportsbooks adjust the line to -195 or even higher knowing that the public will bet on them anyway.

Smart bettors will look for the undervalued pitcher and undervalued MLB team when possible. It’s all part of how bettors can win more baseball bets.

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