MLB Betting: Handicapping Streaks
by Aaron Smith - 5/13/2010
Streaks are a part of sports in general, but in baseball streaks are often long and drawn out. Every sports bettor should be adept at tracking trends and finding important tendencies of each team. Simply put, you can’t win betting on baseball if you aren’t able to follow some of the streaks that occur throughout the season.
Why does baseball tend to have more streaks than other sports? There are several reasons for this, but probably the biggest is the length of the season. In a season where 162 games are played, it is common for a team to get on a roll or have a lengthy slide during that time period. The emotions of baseball play a large role in how a certain team performs, and these emotions can carry a team for quite a long period of time.
It isn’t just the whole team that goes through streaks, but also the lineup as well as the pitchers. It’s important to pay close attention to pitchers that are streaking or slumping, since they play a vital role in the success of their team. It’s not unusual for starting pitchers to go through a period of several starts just shutting down the opposition. At the same time, it’s very possible that pitchers mechanics can get out of whack, and hitters can have a field day with them for several games in a row. It simply isn’t a wise idea to go against the streaks and trends of a starting pitcher.
Let’s take a look at the power of some team-wide winning and losing streaks in the current season. These are a couple great examples of where you would have been able to get ahead of the books by riding streaks or fading slumping teams.
- Tampa Bay- The Rays started the season by winning 13 of their first 14 road games. In six of those victories, they were actually the underdog going into the game. The books were simply behind in getting a feel for how good of an all-around team the Rays are. Getting on board of a red-hot team on the road, when they are an underdog, is a solid money making opportunity.
- Houston- The Astros started the season 0-8, but made a bit of a rebound to get back to 8-10. Starting on April 27, they would then lose 11 of their next 12, including eight of nine at home. The Astros were favored in six of the nine games at home; so fading this team with a horribly weak lineup was a profitable move.
Let’s take a look now at some starting pitcher streaks that have allowed bettors to get a great edge on the books.
- Felipe Paulino, Houston- The Astros are a terrible team, and Felipe Paulino has been the perfect fade candidate. The Astros are actually 4-18 in the last 22 games that Paulino has started, including 0-6 this year. A bad team with a terrible starting pitcher on the mound is a perfect fade!
- Chris Carpenter, St. Louis- The Cardinals are a great bet when Chris Carpenter takes the hill. St. Louis is 6-1 this season in games he starts, and they are an amazing 40-12 in his last 52 home starts. No doubt some wise bettors have taken advantage of the books during that time period.
Examine the data closely for each and every game that you wager on. Try to find situations where both the starting pitcher and the overall team are on notable hot or cold streaks. This correlation can be a rewarding formula for the average bettor. After the streak ends, get away from that play and start looking for a new one. Be disciplined when looking for streaks or slumps to ride or fade. There is no need to force a play that just isn’t a good value. Baseball is a long season, and if you pick your spots wisely, you’ll cash in on those streaks numerous times each year.
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