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© Robert Crowne & Assoc., July 9, 2011

I am forever amazed at how many baseball bettors rely solely on pitching statistics to make their selections.  Then, when the better pitcher loses, those same bettors wonder why. 

Like every other sport, baseball has an offense as well as a defense, and a team behind the pitcher. The best pitcher in the league won't win if his team can't get the bat on the ball, or if his team commits fielding error after fielding error, or if his team can't run the bases well.  All those factors make up 5o% of the game, and pitching is no more than the other 50%.  Looking at a few pitching statistics is easy.  Anybody can pick the best pitcher.  Still, most people don't win over the course of the baseball season. 

The public tendency to treat the pitcher as if he were 100% of the game, instead of just 50%, is one of the biggest reasons for public losses in baseball, and it is the basis for much of the advantage the smart money has in baseball. 

The linemaker's job is to split public opinion.  It is well known that the public treats pitching, along with streaks and won-lost records, as the most important betting factors in baseball, and the lines are set accordingly.  Baseball lines reflect  pitching statistics, with some adjustment for team and pitcher streaks. and perhaps a slight adjustment for won/lost records.  Knowing that the best pitcher is not 100% of the game gives the true full-team handicapper a huge edge over the faulty line.