While the most popular baseball league, the MLB, is always a good choice for wagering, fans of other leagues should know how certain stats and trends apply to their favorite sport. This is especially important if you’re competing against mainstream sportsbooks that don’t offer betting limits on non-traditional sports such as esports and baseball. The information below will assist fans of other leagues in understanding the betting implications of traditional baseball stats and stats that are especially relevant to their sport.
Home Runs And Runs Batted In
The most obvious impact that the MLB has on baseball betting is in regard to home runs and runs batted in (RBIs). The average major league baseball stadium today is a lot more conducive to home runs than the early 1900s, when distances had to be calculated at the opposite ends of the diamond. This was made possible by advancements in baseball equipment and playing style, as well as the natural proclivity of hitters to drive the ball over the fence in favor of a home run.
The combination of all of these factors has made it so that even small bets on the sport are largely responsible for paying for all of its amenities. This being said, it’s not simply a case of betting against the baseball odds and hoping to hit a home run. Today’s baseball betting odds are heavily stacked in favor of the home team, making it more suitable for evenly matched teams and strategies. If you’re looking to bet on baseball, pay close attention to the home runs and RBIs stats, as they will have the biggest impact on the outcome of your games.
Walks And Strikeouts
It’s no secret that strikeouts are on the rise in baseball, with the amount of times a hitter swings and misses on a pitch increasing by 23% from 2015 to 2018. This trend is likely going to continue as the league passes Mookie Betts’ 42-strikeout season from last year and looks to set a new record for most strikeouts in a season. Aside from the obvious appeal of betting on a pitcher’s strikeout record, there’s also the factor of walks to consider. Last year was the first time since 2012 that the amount of bases stolen per game declined, meaning more pitchers were forcing walks in order to keep their teams in the game. This also provided more opportunities for betting lines related to walks and strikeouts.
Strike Zone Or Balls In Play (BIP)
Another interesting trend in baseball is the way batters are approaching the plate. Back in 2015, a hitter would typically walk or hit a home run on a pitch anywhere within the strike zone. Last year, as evidenced by spray charts, more hitters were becoming more selective in their approach, choosing to swing at pitches out of the zone and away from their body. The result was an uptick in infield pop-ups and dribbles, as well as an increase in overall strikeouts. This trend will continue as long as the baseball is contested, meaning you’ll see more players opting for walks and fewer home runs.
One metric that has the potential to reverse this trend is balls in play. Simply put, balls in play are those not caught by the defense or struck by the bat, and stats related to them include hit by pitch, wild pitch, and passed ball. This is largely due to advances in MLB ball technology, which now allows for more precise forecasts of pitch location and, therefore, opportunities for hitters to make better contact. The more accurate the pitch location prediction, the more likely it is that a pitch will be in a place where the hitter can make it stand up and the fewer opportunities there will be for an error. With more predictive technology and more accurate information available through the cloud, this is certainly a stat to keep an eye on in 2019 and beyond.
Batting Average (AVG)
The final and, most likely, the most popular base activity in baseball is hitting the ball and getting on base. This is measured by batting average (AVG) and currently, in the MLB, is at an all-time high. Simply put, batting average is the total number of runs a batter scores (usually over the number of at-bats) divided by the number of at-bats. As the game has changed and evolved, so has batting average, making it one of the most interesting stats to watch and predict in baseball. In fact, some might even consider hitting the ball hard to be the most important skill in baseball today.
While the traditional five-tool player (pitch, fielding, running, batting, and throwing) hasn’t disappeared, it is certainly being eclipsed by the one-tool player. This being said, even the most accomplished hitters can have a bad day, and, as a result, their batting average will take a hit. Oftentimes, it’s the little things that make a difference, and this can be attributed to one thing: luck. However, as long as the batting average is going up, baseball fans should continue enjoying the sport and looking for ways to bet on it.