MLB Matchups

MLB scores and matchups

Figuring out the best ways to evaluate matchups can be difficult, especially for a sport like baseball which has so many data points. But here is a quick guide to understanding which stats to look at and what some of them mean.

For instance, looking at a team’s batting average and their batting average on balls in play and their strikeout rate shows how often a team makes contact and their expected batting average. Contact leads to power hitting opportunities. Speaking of which, looking at ISO is another key metric. This shows how many bases a team or player averages per at-bat.

On the pitching scale, looking at FIP and xFIP are key metrics. Fielding Independent Pitching focuses on events that only the pitcher controls. Something below four is good and below three is superb. Taking that into account, xFIP factors in a 10.5% rate for home runs. A lower xFIP says a pitcher should have better stats than they do.

Especially when looking at team metrics, it is important to factor in sample size. Earlier in the season (usually the first two months) it is hard to base predictions solely off of that. Be sure to take that into account.

Understanding records

Historical records can sometimes be deceiving. Opt for a smaller sample size looking at the past two seasons or so as players can often change teams and the landscape of the organization changes as well. Especially with the larger market teams. But those smaller sample sizes can usually provide a good snapshot of how the teams performed.

Now if one of those two teams makes big offseason moves in one year, then you can throw the historical records out the window. Injuries are also something worth considering, though not as much because of how often players miss time. There isn’t much of a consistent roster.

Understanding point spreads

Betting the moneyline is sometimes the most popular way. Betting run lines is different because an underdog could be +1.5 but that is favored, meaning they are -175 or more likely to happen. Whereas the favored moneyline team may be plus money to win by two or more runs (-1.5), though these will provide a more significant payout if it hits.

The over/under is simply whether the two teams will combine to score enough to go over. Say it is set at 7.5, the teams must combine for eight runs for the over to win. Anything less and the under bettors win.

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