For the baseball bettor, creating matchups can be tricky business. This is because baseball is such a unique sport where situations can be hard to predict and outcomes difficult to project.
Unlike football, basketball, and hockey, where matchups can be one-on-one and position-on-position, baseball offers sports bettors the challenge of handicapping nine against one. In baseball, it is the pitcher and the other eight players in the field battling one batter at a time (nine over the course of a game).
Here is how to deal with the unique situation that baseball presents to sports bettors.
Starting Pitching Versus Hitting
Overall, it really comes down to starting pitching versus hitting. What tools is the starter bringing to the mound? Is he the ace or the stopper, or is he the fourth guy in the rotation? What are teams hitting against this pitcher and how has this team done against him in the past? How much run support has each starting pitcher received from his team this season? If the DH is in play, does either team have an edge regarding that position?
How has the starter been doing lately? Has he had numerous quality starts or has he been struggling? Has control been an issue, problems with velocity and/or movement, or endurance been problematic? If the hitters get to him early, how good is the bullpen?
Middle Relief Versus Hitting
Middle relief can be an important aspect of any game. The first thing you want to determine is how solid each team is when it comes to this aspect of the game. If the starter struggles and middle relief is problematic, then you’re looking at a team with little chance of winning this game, especially if the other team is bringing solid hitting and good starting pitching.
Setup Men and Closers
A solid 8th inning pitcher for set up and an impeccable closer for the 9th are essential to winning any close game. How is each team staffed in these two areas? Has either or both positions been struggling? If a team is sending quality hitters to the plate and all they have to do is wear down the starter to get to the bullpen, then it’s just a matter of time before the balls start flying around the field and the runs cross the plate.
Speed, Motivation, and Passion
In baseball, speed, motivation, and passion combine to make a winning team. There are two types of fast teams: There are teams that have fast players, and there are teams filled with players who hustle. If a club has the latter, that means that it has guys who want to win.
Motivation and passion are connected to speed. How much a team wants to win can be the deciding factor in any baseball game, but especially as you go into the second-half of the season. Look for this in a winner, and for a lack of it in teams that are more likely to lose.
Baseball managers have a difficult job. They have to stay mindful in a game that moves along at its own pace and is not governed by a clock, and they have to be able to motivate, discipline, and navigate the various personalities on the team. In addition, they have to understand the entire game, the strengths and weaknesses of their opponent, and when and how to play specific players.
Some managers are the full package, able to handle every aspect of the game and respected by players and coaches alike, while others bring problems and deficiencies to the job that work against their success as well as the team’s. Sometimes it does come down to the better manager winning.
Try to Find the Key
Sometimes the difference between one team winning can come down to one or two key factors. It may be the bullpen, the DH, or even the catcher and his ability to handle a certain pitcher. As a serious sports bettor, your job is to find that key to the game so that you will make a smart bet. Take time to analyze each team in your matchup and determine what factors will make all the difference. Then decide which type of wager offers you the best value on your investment. The primary thing that you are always attempting to do is lower your risk.