Every so often in baseball we see a truly crazy game that seems like it never wants to end. It can go into 15 innings or more and take hours to complete. If the ball game was a night game then it can be really, really late by the time it ends. It can lead to a particularly interesting handicapping puzzle when the same teams that met in a marathon have to play again the next day. A lot of the effects of a long game – exhaustion, post-game travel and so on – are minimized because both Major League Baseball teams face the same conditions and challenges. there is a good chance, though, that the long game will have had more of an impact on one team than the other, and that that ball team can gain an edge as a result. Here are six factors for serious sports bettors to look at that could point out one team that could be in better shape than the other:
Is there age in the field? – Playing a long game and then bouncing back the next day could have a big impact on any player. As a general rule, though, that impact is going to be intensified for older players. When a starter is older then several things can happen in these situations – he can play at less than his full capacity because of the strain of the situation, or he can be forced to take the day off and the replacement could be less effective. Both situations could be useful for bettors. It can be especially important for baseball handicappers to pay attention to this if the player typically takes days off when he is feeling tired, or doesn’t perform well when his workload has been heavy.
What was the weather like? – It’s easier to bounce back when the game was played in 70 degrees than in 95 – especially if it was a day game and the sun was shining. The heat can really drain players, and being the game for an extended period of time will be exhausting – even for players who are used to playing in the heat. This can be particularly significant if the heat is more than a given team is used to, or if it is of a different nature – particularly humid or dry, for example. It’s important to avoid the most embarrassing mistake here, though – it doesn’t matter how hot a city is if the game is played under a roof.
How fresh is the bullpen? – A long game puts wear and tear on a bullpen no matter the situation. It can be much more significant in some cases than in others, though. It’s important to look at how the bullpen was used and what shape they were in before the game to really get a sense of how ready they could be today. Did they use a lot of pitchers or just a few? What pitchers were stretched to their limit or beyond and aren’t likely to be strong, or even available? Had the bullpen been heavily used in the days before the marathon, or were they well rested coming in?
How deep is the starter likely to go? – It doesn’t matter how depleted the bullpen is if the starter reliably puts up quality starts and is a threat to throw a complete game every time he takes the mound. The public can often overcompensate for the effects of the long game here. Remember, if the game went really long there is a good chance that the next day’s starter was back at the hotel or home in bed by the time it ended. On the other hand, if the starter is marginal and often only lasts into the fifth – if that long – then the bullpen will need to be sharp, and the impact of the last ball game can be a particular concern.
How vulnerable is the opposing pitching? – When you are looking at what shape the hitters are likely to be in a game you also need to consider the shape of the pitching staff – the opposing one this time. Are the hitters likely to be particularly challenged – would they find it hard to put up big numbers even on the best of days? Or are they facing a staff they match up well against and which they should be able to have a good day against?
Will the public overreact? – As you know if you have been sports betting seriously for any amount of time the answer here is almost always yes – no matter the question. The public will look at the situation, imagine the worst case scenario, and believe that that is just what is going to happen. Sometimes they are right. If you are convinced that they are worried too much about the wrong things, though, then the public reaction can often lead to very pleasant value for level-headed bettors.