MLB Handicapping: Betting on September Baseball
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 8/25/2011
Betting on September and October regular season baseball is an entirely different animal than the first five months of the baseball season. Contenders have their playoff roster finalized with all their deadline deals in the books and pretenders are making their annual September call ups as position battles take place for 2012.
With most of the divisional races already determined and a good majority of the teams in the league already eliminated, baseball games after September could seem rather meaningless until the playoffs arrive, unless, of course, you are an MLB handicapper. Then you know while everyone else is busy focusing their entire bankroll on football, there is plenty of value to exploit in baseball.
Here is a list of traditionally strong teams to keep an eye on this September and teams that have traditionally thrown in the towel by this point in the season.
The Cubs traditionally wilt under the spotlight and pressure. Remove the spotlight and pressure and the struggling Cubs all of a sudden become a tough out in September. Their strong play in the final few weeks of the season won former interim manager and current Manager Mike Quade his job. The Cubs went 18-10 after Sept. 1 last season, an incredible record for a team that had been 20 games under .500 heading into the month. It was their fourth consecutive winning September. Since 2007 the Cubs are 63-47 after Sept. 1.
When the weather turns cold in Philadelphia, the Phillies get hot. Since 2006 the Phils are an incredible 91-51 in regular season games after Sept. 1. They won a remarkable 22 of 29 games last season during that time span. Even with the odds the Phillies are laying they are as solid of a bet that there is at this point in the year.
San Francisco Giants
Like the Phillies, the Giants have made a habit of heading into the baseball playoffs with a head of steam. Last season they went 16-12 in regular season games in September and October. They have enjoyed three consecutive winning Septembers although nowhere near at the kind of clip Philadelphia has won this late in the year. The Giants are 45-38 after Sept. 1 during the regular season dating back to 2008.
What the Pittsburgh Pirates do in September is the equivalent of taking your jacket off in the North Pole and diving in a bucket of ice. Last season the Pirates went 13-16 after Sept. 1. That was their best record during that span since 2006. In that time the Pirates are an awful 41-71 after Sept. 1. Good thing Steelers season has already started at that point so nobody in the city realizes how much worse their baseball team gets once September rolls around.
The last three seasons the Nationals have entered September, at least 20 games under .500. And they have managed to dig a deeper hole during September and October. The Nationals go into full out experimental mode during this month, trying out new pitchers and position players and it has worked out to the tune of a 31-49 record during September and October since 2006.
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