Major League Baseball Handicapping: Umpires
Major League Baseball is one of the most unique sports to bet on. It is the only sport that allows the handicapper to actually have a losing record and still make a profit. Even armed with this knowledge most handicappers don’t bet baseball because it is a grind and daily research is often required. One of the areas that should be looked at for every game is the umpire crew.
The man behind the plate can have an impact on the game. There is more than one aspect of umpiring that needs to be considered, but the most important aspect by far is the strike zone. Different umpires have different strike zones and knowing what kind of umpire is behind the plate can affect total betting. The pace of the game and the amount of runs scored is directly related to how an umpire calls the game.
An umpire will also affect starting pitching. If the starting pitcher likes to nibble on the corners and he is working with an umpire that has a small strike zone, it could make for a very long day on the mound for that pitcher.
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Most handicappers spend vast amount of time investigating the starting pitcher however, if they ignore the umpire that research is a complete waste.
A handicapper does not want to drop 2-to-1 on a starting pitcher if they are going to struggle to locate due to a small strike zone. This can be especially true when facing a team that is patient at the plate. A team that is attuned to taking plenty of pitches will make a starting pitcher with a small strike zone throw pitches that are hittable. The end result will be a starting pitcher laying heavy chalk that is vulnerable to the upset. Of course an umpire with a big strike zone will also affect the starting pitchers but in a positive way, allowing for lower scoring games with more strike outs.
Equipped with the knowledge laid out above, it is obvious that the umpire will affect total betting, but they also can make a difference in betting on sides. Some umpires are “homers” and the home team has a better record when they are behind the plate. This is why knowing the record of home teams for umpires is also crucial to the baseball handicapper.
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