I have frequently written about my preference for the older sports wagering books. I was lucky enough to be interested in sports wagering when there were a lot of good writers on the subject. Even though my major is in journalism, my real studies after high school included reading the likes of Jim Barnes, Mike Lee, Huey Mahl and Jim Jasper. Whereas much of their work is out of print and outdated in some areas, it is worth trying to hunt down.
Much of their work is quite expensive, so you may want to check some places like used book stores and your local library. If you visit Las Vegas, a stop to the Special Collections at the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ Lied Library is absolutely in order. Presented in conjunction with the UNLV Center For Gaming Research, there are numerous older books on all forms of gambling, with a good number on sports gambling.
They can make copies of any books they have for a good deal less than you will look for anywhere else.
One book which did not receive a lot of fanfare when it first came out in 1979 was Jim Jasper’s “Sports Betting: A Computer Expert’s Winning Secrets for Wagering on Baseball and Football.” However, there is a lot of useful information in the book, especially in the baseball betting section. My Statistical Baseball Wagering System uses some of the same concepts as Jasper’s baseball system and he also uses a few pages to some basic baseball concepts, like wagering on rookie pitchers when things are going good and going against them when they are struggling, as they begin to press a little bit. Since the book is one of the few older sports betting books that is not outlandishly priced (you can get a copy online for less than $5 including shipping) it is worth picking up.
Baseball’s Worst Pitchers Betting System
This little system is based on another concept in Jasper’s book, which is to go against the ten worst pitchers in baseball. He defined the worst pitchers in baseball as those whose ERA showed the difference in relation to the rest of the staff. To use an exaggerated example, a pitcher with an ERA of 8.00 is quite bad, but if the rest of the team has an ERA of 6.00, he is only two runs worse than the other pitchers. A pitcher with an ERA of 6.50 on a staff with an ERA of 2.00 is 4.5 runs worse and for purposes of the system will be rated lower than the pitcher with an ERA of 8.00.
The system in steps:
- Make a comparison between the ERA of each starting pitcher and the team’s ERA.
- Find the 10 starters with the biggest difference between their ERA and the team ERA and wager against them till they are no longer one of the worst pitchers in baseball or they are shipped out, as is usually the case.
If the pitchers are huge underdogs, you might want to bet against them on the run line so you can reduce the odds that you are laying. I would make sure that each starter has at least 4 or 5 starts, meaning that you can probably start using it the first week of May.
This is one of those that I have not spent any time back testing, but just make sense. The line is influenced to a degree by the teams involved in a game, even though the starting pitchers have a larger bearing on the game. Still, it is hard for some people to wager against the better team no matter who is pitching, but when they have their worst pitcher on the mound, many times it is the opposition who is the better team for that one particular game.
Not everybody can afford to spend a few hours a day handicapping and this is a method which can be used with less than a hour a week of your time invested.