MLB Handicapping Predictions: Now is a Great Time to Back Roy Halladay
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 7/21/2010
There are no ‘locks’ in sports betting, but perhaps one of the closest things to a guarantee is betting on an elite Cy Young-winning pitcher in baseball. Of course, the one drawback bettors face is the high odds these pitchers command.
Occasionally for a number of reasons there will be opportunities to take these elite pitchers at a bargain price. That opportunity is here with Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies. The long-time Toronto Blue Jay with the overpowering stuff and rubber arm has been through an odd season.
He ranks in the Top 5 in the National League in wins (10), ERA (2.40) and strikeouts (131). He leads the league in complete games and innings pitched. But thanks to a lack of run support and bullpen issues Halladay is only 10-8 one start into the second half of the season.
Halladay has shown his old dominant self on the mound but because of things going on around him, the oddsmakers are starting to cool on him and opening up an opportunity to wager on him at a reduced price.
This season the average money line on the Phillies when Halladay is starting has been –191, but that has gradually dropped as of late. Gone are the times this season when bettors had to risk upwards of $340 just to return $100. There could be plenty of value had if bettors remain patient with Halladay.
After 20 starts the Phillies are 11-9 overall in games that Halladay has started. Considering that the Phillies have been favored in every game their ace has started, $100 bettors would be down $515 this season if they wagered on Philadelphia every time Halladay was on the mound. That is one of the worst marks in the league for an individual pitcher and by far the worst for a pitcher with a winning record.
Considering all the above, now could be the perfect time to ride Halladay, who has actually been a better second-half pitcher over his career in Toronto. While other pitchers tend to fade away as the calendar turns to August and September, there has historically not been a late-season letdown with Halladay. He has pitched over 220 innings a season four straight years and has topped the mark six times in his 11 years in the majors.
What has always been the most attractive part of betting on Halladay from a bettor’s perspective is not just his success rate or dominating stuff or penchant for throwing strikes, but rather his ability to finish a game. Of his 20 starts this season Halladay has pitched seven complete games, by far the most in baseball this season. Five other times he has pitched eight innings before turning it over to the closer.
For a bettor there can be nothing more frustrating than paying a high price for an ace pitcher only to see him turn it over to a shaky bullpen in the seventh, eighth or ninth inning.
Another benefit of backing Halladay at this point in the season is that he is a good bet regardless of the other circumstances. His ERA at home (2.03) is comparable to his road ERA (2.78). The same goes for his day/night splits. In day games his ERA is 2.55 compared to a 2.30 ERA in night games.
Over his next few starts Halladay should be had at a reasonable price but that offer may not last very long.
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