During the long baseball season games can blend into each other and all seem like they are the same. When there is something that can make a particular game stand out from the crowd and gain some attention then it can really draw a lot of betting attention. One of the ways that games can stand out is if both teams are starting their aces. The betting public loves betting on aces, so if there are two with big reputations then it can really create some excitement. For handicappers, though, these situations can be challenging. It can be very hard to move past the hype and the reputations of the pitchers to find the underlying value. If you are able to do so, though, then you are often able to find some very nice value. Here are five factors to consider when betting on games featuring two ace starters:
What’s the recent form? – When it comes to top level pitchers bettors tend to focus more on their reputations and past accomplishments than they should, and less on how they are performing now. In other words, bettors expect them to perform well because they have always performed well. That’s obviously not always the case. You need to pay particular attention to how well an ace-level pitcher is performing in their recent starts. Have they lasted as long as normal? Is their WHIP within a typical range? Is their ratio of ground balls to fly balls consistent? It’s not at all uncommon to see a to pitcher performing at a level below their typical performance without having that decline in performance reflected in the odds if the reputation and popularity of that pitcher is strong enough. If one ace is in solid form and the other isn’t then you could have a very attractive betting option – real value.
How have they performed against their opponents? – Once a pitcher has been in the league for a while bettors have several games against each opponent to look at and learn from. In some cases a pitcher just can’t seem to perform at his best against a certain team. There are a number of potential reasons for this – the style of play the team uses, the types of hitters they have, an intimidation factor, and so on. Beyond just looking at the pitcher’s record against a particular team, you need to look at how they play in a particular stadium if it is a road game. Some styles of pitchers just can’t perform at their best in some parks – a fly ball hitter would struggle in a hitter-friendly park, for example.
How do they compare with each other? – This should be very straightforward, but it is so important that it is worth a discussion. When two aces are on the mound in a game there will be a lot of hype and attention surrounding the game – at least compared to a game at the same time of year with the same teams that featured lesser pitchers. The single most important factor you need to consider here is not the reputations, the hype, or any of that. It’s simply how the two pitchers measure up to each other. Are they of the same caliber? Is one better suited to facing the lineup he will face than the other? Is one healthier than the other? Is one in better form than the other? Before you worry about anything else involved in handicapping this game you just need to look at the pitchers in isolation, ignore their names and reputations, and look at what the numbers tell you.
How does the rest of the team measure up? – The pitchers are by far the most significant aspect of handicapping any baseball game, but there is more to it than that. It will be very difficult for the best pitcher in the world to win if he doesn’t have a lineup behind him that can generate runs and play sound defense. On the other hand, a potent, explosive offense that is red hot can make even the least impressive starter look like an ace. You need to look at what kind of form the team is in, how they match up against the pitcher, and so on.
What will the public think? – After you have looked at the pitchers and the matchups you need to really think about how the public is going to respond to the situation. Games will two aces will draw more betting attention than a normal game at that time of year. Whenever the betting volume increases – and especially if the increase in betting volume is due to an increase in public money – you need to think very carefully about what impact it will have on how the lines are set and how they move. Is there one team or pitcher that is much more popular than the other in the eyes of the public? Is one team playing significantly better than the other? Is one team going to get more attention than the other because of different levels of betting success over the season? The better sense you can have about what the public is thinking the better the chance that you can find where the value lies.