When it comes to handicapping baseball there may be no position more important than the starting pitcher. The starting pitcher is most responsible for how the game starts and therefore how it may end. The odds maker uses the starting pitcher as a gauge to set the line for the game. With this in mind as a handicapper it is important to look over certain areas when looking at the starting pitching for a game.
Last Three Starts: Baseball is a streaky game and the same thing can be said about the starting pitcher. The last three starts that the pitcher made are something that needs to be looked at. If the pitcher is performing well over the last three starts it will give you some sort of indication how he may pitch in the game that day.
Number, numbers, and more numbers: In this day and age data is easy to find and is at the fingertips of every handicapper. Make sure to utilize everything that can work in your favor. ERA is an easy stat to find and can be useful but don’t let it be the only one. WHIP is one of the most significant stats that can be looked at it because it is less deceiving than other statistics can be. Find out if the pitcher has a problem giving up the long ball, if his start is in Wrigley Field that would be something that you would want to know. Investigate if the team can hold runners on base well. If the pitcher has problems holding runners on it could be a long day for the pitcher. When it comes to numbers look deep into the numbers not at just the surface.
History against opponents: If the pitcher is a rookie he may have an advantage since the hitters he will face have never seen his stuff. However most pitchers are not rookies and the history against the team they are playing may say a lot. Certain hitters do well against pitchers and others struggle. This information can give you an edge because you look past the fact that the starting pitcher is talented. The starting pitcher will have problems in certain parks and with certain hitters and this information is gold when handicapping a game.
Behind the plate: The starting pitcher cannot control a game alone, he needs some help. The umpire can alter strike zones and take pitchers out of the game and make them adjust to a different strike zone. If a pitcher is used to throwing on the outside of the plate, he may lose that option if the umpire is not calling the outside corner as a strike. Knowing the umpire will give you an edge in the game.
These are just a few of the things that a sports bettor should look at when preparing for the game. The starting pitcher is a vital piece to the puzzle but not the only one. Wagering on a game solely on the starting pitcher is a mistake. The defense, hitting, and bullpen are just a few of the other areas that could cost the starting pitcher the chance to get a win. This is the same thing that can cost the sports bettor a win. Research the starting pitcher as a good starting point and branch out from there as the entire game is covered.