Umpire Stats: Handicapping Men Behind Home Plate

Bettors spend hours going over statistics, matchup pages, and pitching numbers, but sometimes all you need to do is take a look behind the plate when handicapping MLB lines and totals.

The Tim Donaghy betting scandal has everyone focused on the linkages between NBA officiating and the outcome of a given game, but the reality is there’s always been more of a connection between the home plate umpire and the final score. [ MLB Umpire Stats ]

That’s not to say there’s anything fishy going on, but only that the way the game is called has an effect on the number of runs scored. It only makes sense that an umpire with a bigger strike zone is going to help the pitcher, while an ump that calls things more tightly is to the hitter’s advantage.

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The numbers back up that inference. In 2010, 20 of the 86 major league umpires that called a game behind the plate had 55% of more of their games play ‘over’ the listed total. One notorious pitcher squeezer, CB Bucknor, had more than 60% of his games play ‘over’ the number.

This is a small sample size, of course, but if you see a trend in the way an umpire calls the game, take a closer look. If an umpire has an ‘over’ or ‘under’ string going, there’s a reason for it, and a reason to include the information in your handicapping approach.

The key is to remember that this is just another piece to the puzzle. Oddsmakers are aware of these trends as well, and they incorporate the information into their lines and totals. For instance, just because Bucknor is calling a game pitched by Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum doesn’t mean the game is headed for the ‘over’. Make sure to combine umpire statistics with other numbers before making a decision on a wager.

Winning MLB sports bets can be as simple as effectively handicapping MLB umpire stats And it takes training to avoid the pitfalls that can damage your bankroll. Read more sports betting 101 tutorials by clicking here.