The world of sports betting requires handicappers to constantly adapt and evaluate. There are some concepts and philosophies that will always work, but have also been accounted for by the oddsmakers and by other bettors that probably get to the market faster. Fortunately, we live in an era when there is a lot of new data and people are coming up with new ways of breaking down the games and the players that play them. It creates so many opportunities for fans and bettors to look through different lenses in order to see things with a unique perspective.
When it comes to baseball, specifically, that perspective for me comes in the form of sabermetrics. Over a decade ago, I wanted to know how my favorite team, the Cleveland Indians, makes decisions and values players. So, I researched. And I studied. It is something that has been a huge part of my fandom and my handicapping ever since. There continues to be a pretty sharp divide between old school and new school when it comes to player evaluation.
While I certainly believe in the advanced metrics far more than the traditional ones, I hate the holier-than-thou attitude some in the stats community have. The best way to induce change and induce a new way of thinking is to reach common ground. They only care about what actually happened. Pythagorean Win-Loss records can be a good barometer for teams in line for regression. It is a standings metric based on run differential. Teams that excelled in one-run games may regress the following season.
Similarly, teams that got blown out a lot should have better personnel the next year. As an aside, one-run games are a big deal when it comes to Pyth W-L. Generally, teams are within a couple of games above or below. Significant outliers are likely to regress the following season.
The same six individual outcomes produced two very different outcomes overall. BaseRuns eliminates that element of randomness and spits out a measure of runs per game and runs allowed per game given all of the individual outcomes. Then, it produces a win-loss record. It stands for Weighted On-Base Average. Unlike its predecessor, on-base percentage, wOBA assigns a weighted value to each way of reaching base. When it comes to on-base percentage, there is no distinction between a single or a home run.
The weights of the outcomes are assigned based on the offensive climate around Major League Baseball. For example, the weight of a home run was 1. Walks, however, were the highest since at. Quite simply, wOBA actually distinguishes between the value of ways of getting on base, thus making it better than most every other offensive metric. Those are important stats for hitters, but I will use them more frequently with pitchers. Keep in mind that traditional batting average factors strikeouts into the equation because those are at bats.
BABIP is a good measure of luck. The same can be said about pitchers in terms of contact quality and luck. It is such a tremendously flawed statistic. FIP is a better metric and one that I use often. It takes the defense out of the equation. FIP takes that element out of the equation.
It is all subject to variance, especially once it is put in play. Last season, obviously, we had a significant number of home runs hit. It was just The relevance of that will become clearer as we move forward. Sometimes pitchers are getting unlucky with fly balls that hit a jet stream or just keep carrying.
Other times, they are simply making bad pitches. Like any statistic, we have to dig deeper to find out the root cause, but xFIP is a good predictor of future performance. It eliminates some of the noise of small sample sizes. This is how we get a little bit deeper.
Think about it. Pitchers that allow a lot of line drives are going to give up more hits. Hard contact is a bad thing, no matter how good the defense is. The big thing about these stats is that they carry predictive value. Smart bettors know that FIP is a better way of analyzing pitcher performance and can often provide insights into who is undervalued.
Using updated stats like UZR will help in analyzing defense, while wOBA is a much better offensive metric than trusty old batting average. As a baseball bettor, it is important to look for undervalued assets. Baseball betting, in a way, is like investing on the stock market.
You want to find commodities, be it players or teams, that are not being viewed properly by the betting public. By using statistical analysis, it is easy to figure out when players are getting a bit unlucky. Their standard statistics say that they are struggling, but advanced analysis tells us that they will bounce back in time.
With this knowledge, bettors are able to look for betting lines that are not reflecting proper value. All too often, bettors fall into the trap of just handicapping pitching. A good baseball betting strategy will certainly take pitching into account, but it will consider much more than that. One cannot properly understand pitching performance without analyzing the defenses that play behind pitchers.
Likewise, many people neglect to consider bullpen strength in their analysis. Some will not handicap the ballpark or the umpire behind the plate. These are all important factors that must be noted when making bets.
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