One of the biggest mistakes baseball bettors make is to simply look at the record of the starting pitcher instead of looking at the team record with that particular starting pitcher on the mound. When you place a bet on a baseball game you win or lose your wager depending on what the team does, not what the starting pitcher does. If your team wins, you don’t care if the starter gets credit for the win or not. You cash your ticket and that’s really the only thing that matters.
But the laziness of many baseball bettors can also lead to some nice overlays on certain pitchers who may not have the greatest win-loss record, but their team wins a good majority of games where the pitcher didn’t earn a decision. There are several pitchers who bear watching entering 2014 on that premise, beginning with Pittsburgh’s Jeanmar Gomez, who was credited with a 1-0 record in 2013. But the Pirates were 8-0 in games that he started, giving him a profit of 10.3 units in 2013, and he is still under the radar.
Arizona’s Pat Corbin sported a nice 14-8 record in 2013, but the Diamondbacks were 23-9 in games that he started and he showed a profit of 11.6 units. His teammate with Arizona, Randall Delgado, showed a 5-7 record in 2013, but the Diamondbacks were 11-8 with him on the mound, good for a profit of 4.6 units.
Minnesota’s Pedro Hernandez was credited with a 4-3 record in 2013, which isn’t bad considering how bad the Twins were, but the team was 8-4 in his starts, good for a profit of 7.5 units.
Derek Holland, of the Texas Rangers, looks to have had an average season, going 10-9, but the Rangers were 20-13 with him on the mound, which was good for a 3.1-unit profit in 2013.
Keep an eye on these pitchers to start out the 2014 season until the bookmakers catch up, as they will most likely go off at better odds than they should.
On the other side of the equation, there are pitchers who have better win-loss records than their team did and they may be decent underlays and you can show a profit by going against them. This was particularly evident in Detroit’s Justin Verlander, who had a 14-13 record in 2013, but the Tigers were just 15-22 in games he started and he was such a prohibitive favorite that he showed a flat-bet loss of 23.4 units.
Seattle’s Felix Hernandez was another “winning” pitcher who cost his backers plenty of money, as his record was 12-10, but Seattle was 14-17 in games he started, good for a loss of 8.0 units.
San Francisco’s Matt Cain had a bit of a down season by his standards, going 8-10, but the Giants were just 3-9 in games where he didn’t get a decision, so Cain showed a loss of 14.3 units in 2013.
The Cubs’ Travis Wood and Colorado’s Juan Nicasio are two others who had a better win-loss record than their team.
Several of the names on the “bet against” list are big-name pitchers, but don’t hesitate to go against them as they are often extremely overpriced. In addition to Hernandez and Verlander, several other of the well-known pitchers showed flat-bet losses for 2013, including Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers were 21-16 with him on the mound, but he was such a big favorite, he showed a 7.3-unit loss. Stephen Strasburg was -8.6 units for the season and Yu Darvish, despite his 13-9 record, showed a loss of 11.3 units. Cole Hamels showed a loss of 13.4 units and only Cain, Verlander and Joe Blanton were worse.