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MLB - Are Complete Game Pitchers Good Value?

MLB - Are Complete Game Pitchers Good Value?

MLB - Are Complete Game Pitchers Good Value?
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MLB - Are Complete Game Pitchers Good Value?

The days of the complete game pitchers making a significant number of appearances in a baseball betting season have gone the way of Atari.


The days of the complete game pitchers making a significant number of appearances in a baseball betting season have gone the way of Atari. It used to be during the golden age of pitching, Hall of Famers like Bob Gibson and Ferguson Jenkins were true work horses, piling up complete games like Takeru Kobayashi eating dogs at Nathanís Hot Dog eating contest. Previously relief pitchers were nothing more then broken down starting pitchers or those hurlers who couldnít go through a lineup twice. Now with specialization and high salaries, these bullpen pitchers have to be used out necessity and earning keep for wages paid to them. With only 49 complete games on the baseball betting season of the 1,025 contests that have been played, (4.7 percent) the idea occurs what should bettors do with these pitchers after such a rare event?

Of the precious few complete games this baseball betting season, no pitcher to date has totaled three and nine hurlers have fashioned a pair in 2007. Some of the names are familiar like Roy Halladay, Matt Morris, Aaron Harang and C.C. Sabathia who has back-to-back nine inning games. Others feature up and coming stars like Cole Hamels, James Shields and Joe Blanton plus veterans like Aaron Cook of Colorado and the Angels Kelvim Escobar.

This turns out to be an area where bettors can have a distinct advantage over those setting the numbers and target specific situations. Because of the designated hitter, the presumption would be the American League would have more complete games then those with from the senior circuit who might have to pinch-hit a pitcher in a tight game. Of the 46 games in which a hurler had a follow up start the next time out, the numbers are evenly divided at 23 for each league. This turns out to be the only element this is balanced.

In the junior circuit, 11 different times a pitcher followed up a complete game with a home contest. Only twice was the starter an underdog (lost both), while being a favorite in the rest of the encounters. The overall record was not awful at 5-6 (Teamís record); however the potential extra baggage assigned off a superior effort caused the average bettor to lose 4.4 units of profit in all games.

On the road in the American League the results were much worse with 4-8 record, including 2-5 mark as road favorite. If the pitcher finds a rhythm and a comfort zone, he usually keeps within a good range of pitch counts and most any manager will do what he can to lighten the load on the bullpen and give the starting pitcher the vote of confidence to finish what he started. Savvy gamblers can grab an edge in this circumstance, as road pitchers off nine or more innings pitched see the teams win just 33 percent of the time and dropping 6.85 units in the AL.

As bad (or good for bettors) as this reads, it is even worse in the National League. Seven of the 10 times the complete game pitcher was on the losing end playing in his home ballpark in the next start. Trailing these throwers costs -6.65 units. Donít worry; itís like a Wes Craven novel when these pitchers take to the road. The road underdog team with a tuckered out hurler is just 1-5 on the way to a disastrous 3-10 mark for all NL teams in enemy parks with a pitcher going the limit in last outing, giving away a large -7.70 units.

Add it up and impressive numbers emerge and a great reason to follow box scores with regularity. Our complete games pitchers collectively are 15-31 in 2007 (teamís record) and have coughed up enormous -25.6 units. The next time you catch SportsCenter and hear about a complete game, note the pitcherís name and mark it in your calendar for five days later, since your odds of winning a major league baseball betting wager have just gone up.

This information can be found at the Team Statistics page here at

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