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MLB Handicapping: Visualizing Outside Your Sample

06.25.2013     08:16 AM     Printer Friendly blog entry.
Submitted by Stat Intelligence

Last time I said I’d try to talk more about pitchers. Something interesting happened in terms of a handicapping danger in tonight's Toronto/Tampa Bay game that makes a point everyone should remember in all sports. This is particularly true a few weeks into the football season…so it’s good to get the theme on the table now during the summer.

Esmil Rogers was making his fifth start of the season for the Toronto Blue Jays. His “first half” runs allowed in his prior four starts had been 0-1-1-0. Great job! It’s only four samples though, so you have to be careful not to get locked in to too tight an assessment of his potential. He’s not THAT good. He was a 27-year old middle reliever a few weeks ago with poor career numbers.

After tonight’s game, the line is 0-1-1-0-4, because he allowed three early home runs in his first bad start.

Jeremy Hellickson of Tampa Bay was coming at things from the other direction in a much larger Read more

Tags: MLB Stat Intelligence

MLB Betting Free Play: Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays

06.25.2013     07:40 AM     Andrew Lange     Printer Friendly
Submitted by Andrew Lange blog entry.
Toronto (Buehrle) at Tampa Bay (Moore) -135 O/U 8
Recommendation: Over

Quietly, the Tampa Bay Rays have MLB's best numbers against left-handed pitching this season. They lead all of baseball in batting average (.287), slugging (.453), OPS (.798) and rank second in OBP (.345). The reason for their success is in part because they have the ability to stack the lineup with right-handed hitters. Last week against Andy Pettitte, eight of Tampa's nine batters came from the right side – the lone exception was James Loney who for whatever reason is hitting .358/.940 vs. southpaws. The Rays ended up pounding Pettitte for nine hits and five earned runs in an 8-3 win. Toronto's Mark Buehrle has some fairly weak splits (.285/.339/.452) vs. righties compared to lefties (.229/.283/.410). He’s been in good form of late but I really respect Tampa’s team plate approach. They aren’t the most potent offense in the league but force opposing starters to really work and typically take Read more

Tags: MLB Toronto Blue Jays Tampa Bay Rays Andrew Lange

MLB Handicapping: Quick Four-Max Notes on all 30 Offenses

06.24.2013     07:59 AM     Printer Friendly blog entry.
Submitted by Stat Intelligence

As promised, I’m back with updated numbers from the “four-max” approach of evaluating the volume and consistency of Major League offenses for those of you trying to handicap 5-inning propositions. They generally paint an accurate overall picture of offensive quality too since we’re looking at what teams do with their starting lineups against rotation pitchers on other teams.

I had planned on waiting to post until the first five innings were complete in the Texas/St. Louis game on ESPN…but that’s in a rain delay as I’m typing this. No reason to wait a couple of hours (or more) waiting for that to work itself out. Let’s jump into the numbers.

The keys:

*Only count runs scored in the first five innings

*Stop at 4 for any team in an individual game so volume isn’t polluted by superfluous runs against a guy who didn’t have anything, or against that guy and the lousy long reliever who replaced Read more

Tags: MLB Stat Intelligence

MLB Gambling News: Philadelphia's Manuel doesn't sound too confident in his team

06.24.2013     07:23 AM     Printer Friendly blog entry.
After taking Game 1 of a four-game set in Milwaukee back on June 6, the Philadelphia Phillies were somehow above .500. The following night they lost in the bottom of the ninth and it's been downhill ever since. The Phillies have lost 10 of their last 15 and sit 7.5 games back of Atlanta. They sport the second worst run differential in the National League (-0.8) and are about to embark on a 10-game road trip with a manager who isn't so sure his squad s capable of making a run.

Tags: MLB Phiadelphia Phillies

MLB Gambling Free Pick: Cincinnati Reds at Arizona Diamondbacks

06.22.2013     07:20 AM     Andrew Lange     Printer Friendly
Submitted by Andrew Lange blog entry.
Cincinnati (Leake) at Arizona (Corbin) -120 O/U 8
Recommendation: Arizona

Mike Leake has been solid this season but I notice a few that suggest there is likely to be some upcoming regression. His left of base percentage is a tad high (82.4%) but more importantly he’s managed to cut his home run/fly ball rate in half from last season. He's getting a few more groundballs this year but to allow only 7 dingers in 88.2 IP is pretty remarkable considering Leake doesn't possess plus stuff. Also note Leake's competition. Of his 13 starts against the National League, 11 came against teams that rank 9th or worse (out of 15) in OPS – that very well could be tied to the HR/FB improvement. In his two starts against quality NL offenses (St. Louis and Atlanta) Leake allowed 14 hits and 7 runs in 12 innings. Arizona, while not as potent as the Cardinals and Braves, is a step up on class compared a majority of Leake's foes.

I thought the ship had sailed on Patrick Corbin but here Read more

Tags: MLB Cincinnati Reds Arizona Diamondbacks Andrew Lange

MLB Gambling: Kansas City Royals blame crappy plate approach on home stadium

06.21.2013     07:46 AM     Printer Friendly blog entry.
Here is a prime example why the Kansas City Royals continues to be, well, the Kansas City Royals. Dayton Moore, the team's GM, claims that Kauffman Stadium is the reason why the team's walk rate is so low. Needless to say, it wasn’t hard to debunk that ridiculous theory.

“We have the largest ballpark in terms of square footage of any ballpark in baseball,” Moore says. “When pitchers come here, they have the mindset to use that park — put the ball in play, throw strikes, attack the zone. There isn’t the same fear factor of getting beat deep that you might have elsewhere.

“I think that plays a huge factor in that walk statistic.”

Tags: MLB Kansas City Royals

MLB Betting News: Trying to make sense of Jon Lester's up and down season

06.21.2013     07:36 AM     Printer Friendly blog entry.
Boston (Lester) at Detroit (Fister) -135 O/U 8.5

The curious case of Jon Lester continues. After starting the season on fire (9 starts, 2.72 ERA) the veteran southpaw has fallen on hard times (6 starts, 7.20 ERA). According to Lester, physically everything is fine though his velocity has been up and down for much of the season. Walks and command have also been an issue. His last start against Baltimore was particularly intriguing. He lasted only five innings and gave up nine hits and five runs but didn't walk a batter, fanned a season-high eight, and posted a whopping 20 swing strikes (14 the previous three starts combined). Note that during those six “bad” starts, his BABIP was a sky high .370 so perhaps his luck will start to turn. As with a lot of these cutter-heavy pitchers, we'll leave the door open for some sort of arm Read more

Tags: MLB Boston Red Sox Detroit Tigers

MLB Gambling Notes: Jered Weaver's rapid decline continues

06.21.2013     07:15 AM     Printer Friendly blog entry.
Pittsburgh (Cole) at LA Angels (Weaver) -160 O/U 7.5

Since returning from the DL, Los Angeles' Jered Weaver hasn't looked particularly sharp. He threw farily well against the Cubs (6 IP, 1 ER) but was smacked around by both the Orioles (5.2 IP, 4 ERs) and Yankees (6 IP, 5 ER).  His velocity in those three starts was up compared to where he was at earlier in the season. In fact, against the Yankees he had his best fastball velocity of the season and as a result posted a season-high 17 swinging strikes. However, as FanGraphs points out, pretty much all of Weaver's skills are on the decline and he needs to be approached with caution -- especially with how overvalued the Angels remain in the betting markets (-9.4 units YTD).

Tags: MLB Los Angeles Angels Pittsburgh Pirates

MLB Gambling Free Pick: Miami Marlins at San Francisco Giants

06.20.2013     11:55 AM     ICC     Printer Friendly
Submitted by ICC blog entry.
Miami (Koehler) at San Francisco (Gaudin) -175 O/U 7.5
Recommendation: Over

My clients and I have cashed a few Miami Marlins Over tickets since the returns of Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison to the lineup and I think we have another solid betting opportunity tonight as they head to the Bay Area to face the San Francisco Giants.

One of those Miami Over bets came in Tom Koehler’s last start as he was lit up big time allowing 9 runs on 8 hits in 4.2 rough innings against the St. Louis Cardinals. Koehler simply doesn’t have dominating, overpowering stuff and it has shown in his last three starts as he has been knocked around for 17 earned runs and five homers. His performance level on the road hasn’t been good either notching an 0-2 record and a 5.04 ERA in four starts. I expect the surging San Francisco lineup which has scored 4+ runs in five of its last seven games to have a lot of success. On the flip side, I’m not sure how much longer Chad Gaudin Read more

Tags: MLB San Francisco Giants Miami Marlins Ian Cameron

MLB Handicapping: 5-Inning Tie Percentage by Stadium

06.20.2013     08:37 AM     Printer Friendly blog entry.
Submitted by Stat Intelligence (a must follow on Twitter)

One of the fun challenges of trying to make smart selections on 5-inning Major League baseball props involves deciding whether or not to lay a half a run with less vigorish on favorites…or to take a half run for a less favorable payoff on underdogs.

Quick examples:

*A favorite in the -170 range might strike you as kind of pricey, even if there are clear edges that would suggest superiority within a five-inning sprint (and those would obviously have to exist for a team to be favored by that much!). You have the option of instead taking that favorite -0.5 runs and laying only around -120. Feels a lot cheaper because -120’s much better than -170. But, is it? How much is that half a run worth?

*An underdog in the +120 to +130 range will often make sense to be competitive within the first five. Does “competitive mean a lot of 0-0, 1-1, or 2-2 ties? If so, Read more

Tags: MLB Stat Intelligence


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