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Baseball Betting - Examining Starting Pitchers

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Baseball Betting - Examining Starting Pitchers

When it comes to betting on baseball, one statistic stands out above all others in regards to starting pitchers. It's not win-loss record or Earned Run Average, which are found in most major newspapers daily. The statistic we're more concerned about is known as Team Record in Games Started, or TRGS, which is a much better indication of how a team performs with a certain starting pitcher on the mound.

The problem with using a starting pitcher's win-loss record for betting purposes is that the pitcher's record only considers games in which he received a decision. If the starting pitcher leaves in the seventh inning of a tie game there will be no adjustments to his record regardless if his team goes on to win the game or if his team losses.

Team Record in Games Started gives a win or a loss to the starting pitcher in every game, whether he earned a decision or not. As baseball bettors, the only thing we're concerned with is which team wins the game. It doesn't matter to us if the starter of a relief pitcher gets the win, as long as our side wins.

Even if a pitcher leaves with an 8-3 lead in the seventh inning and the bullpen happens to blow the game, for TRGS purposes the pitcher is tagged with a loss, since if you bet on his team you lost your bet.

Using TRGS to Your Advantage

Many times a starting pitcher's win-loss record will closely resemble his TRGS record. You would expect to see a starting pitcher with a 15-10 win-loss record have something in the neighborhood of a 19-13 TRGS record, meaning his team has won 19 and lost 13 of the games he has started, even though he didn't receive the decision in all the games, as his 15-10 win-loss record indicates. But there are times when a pitcher's win-loss record and his TRGS record will be quite a bit different and those are the games we're interested in. What we're looking for is pitchers who have big differences in their W-L record and their TRGS record, as many times that is where we'll find good betting value.

TRGS in Action

We'll use Thursday, Sept. 27, 2007, for demonstrative purposes and we'll find several games that grab our attention.
  • The first game on our list is the Chicago Cubs at the Florida Marlins. The Cubs are sending Traschel to the mound with his 7-10 record. Traschel's TRGS record is a dismal 10-18, meaning his teams have won just three and lost eight of the games he received a no-decision.
    The Marlins are countering with Olsen, who has a poor 9-15 record, but a 16-16 TRGS record, meaning the Marlins are 7-1 in games in which he didn't receive a decision.
    The early line had the Cubs as -130 favorites, so the Marlins could be a bet at +120.
  • The next game we'll look at is the Toronto Blue Jays at the Baltimore Orioles. The Blue Jays are sending Banks to the mound in his Major League Baseball debut, so no data can be obtained on him.
    Baltimore is sending out Jeremy Gutherie to the mound and he is sporting a 6-5 W-L record, which makes Baltimore look like a decent play at only -120. But a look at TRGS shows Gutherie with a poor 9-16 record, which should be enough to scare anybody off the Orioles and force them to take a long look at the Blue Jays.

Using Team Record in Games Started is a solid tool in your baseball handicapping arsenal and is one statistic that should be checked before placing a baseball wager. Spending several minutes per day checking on this stat will often point you to live underdogs and could pay big dividends in your baseball betting activities.

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