From 8 Men Out to Charlie Hustle, baseball and betting have formed more than just an alliterative partnership. Putting money on the line is just part of the fan experience.

So if you are just an average red-blooded American baseball fan, you’re most likely a degenerate gambler as well. Join the club.  Let’s spend a few minutes trying to figure out how we can use this addiction hobby to pay for the kids’ piano tutor.

Today the Cards play Cincinnati. In their previous 21 matches against the Reds, the Cardinals are 4-17 against the spread. But I’m sure if we talk to Pete Rose we can work something out to make things a little easier.
Side Note: Despite that wicked burn, I have the utmost respect for the man and how he played the game (face first in the dirt). It is an absolute travesty that he is not in the hall.

Live Betting

Live betting, if you know what you’re doing (famous last words), can give you a huge advantage. For example, if a team goes up early (and the odds shift significantly), but you know their bullpen was decimated the night before in a long game, putting money on the losing team can be a good bet.  With the Redbirds, however, beware the early lead: They are one of only 2 teams under .500 (7-9) when up after 1 inning (Tampa Bay is the other at 8-11).  Stay woke and away from this one.

Over/Under (Runs)

I hate the over in baseball.  Pitchers are throwing 103 mph and with global warming (allegedly) causing temperature increases, the under is easy money.  Gay-Lussac’s Law clearly states P/T=k where k is any constant: So as T (temperature) increases, so too must P (pressure).  This leads the molecules in the air to move faster and thus exert a greater force on the area around them.  The increase in molecular movement makes it more difficult for the ball to pass through the air (draining the sphere’s kinetic energy more quickly) and thus robbing us of the ding dong.  We must fight this climate change and save the yabo from extinction.
Science aside, most lines hover around the 9.5 mark, so all it takes is a strong pitching outing by one team to make that mark wildly unlikely to pass.  But also the science (The Cards have gone under in 5 of their last 7 games).

Prop Bets: K count

This one is tantalizing because it’s easy to convince yourself you can beat it.  I generally focus on finding overs.  Most pitchers find themselves with an O/U line for strikeouts between 3.5 and 7. I’ll bet anyone really who gets that lower edge.  For example, last night Vegas gave Bronson Arroyo (a 40-year-old with a ridiculous windup and 2005 debut album entitled “Covering the Bases“) a 3.5 K-line. Arroyo managed to fan four Cardinals ($$$).  Lance Lynn also managed to sit 4 down, however Vegas cursed him with an O/U of 5.
The best pitchers average above 10 Ks per 9. But since they typically pitch about 7 innings, ace’s line at usually set around 8.  That’s why I target middle of the rotation starters, real gritty guys with enough horrible starts to get that magic number to drop below 4.  Like a king cobra feeding off mediocrity and Bronson Arroyo, that’s when I strike.  There is usually incredible variation in their game to game strikeout counts (for example Lynn sandwiched a 10 K game with 3 and 4 on either side), so even (especially) with guys pitching above their pay grade, you should be avoiding anything that pops up to 5 or 6 unless its a top 10 pitcher not in Colorado.  
Of course you can give yourself a slight advantage digging into the statistics. For example, Tampa Bay strikes out at a preposterous rate. The Rays have taken the long walk back to the dugout 10.27 times per game this year. Meanwhile, Boston, Houston, and Cleveland hover around 7 per game. With a little luck and elbow grease, you’re average starter should get the over at 3.5, especially in the NL where they’ll get a few at bats from opposing pitchers.
There are also a few other completely unproven beliefs that have never fail me when playing the K game. If you’ve made it this far, here are my helpful hints:
1- Bet rivalry games (Cubs-Cards, Sox-Yanks, etc): Pitchers are fired up, dead behind the eyes and elbow, and likely to get more K’s as they throw their arms out of their sockets.
2-Brunch Rule: No one strikes out during day games.  First, it’s easier to see the ball. Additionally, and more importantly, hitters probably have only eaten 1 meal that day. Thus their bat speed is quicker than their full belly swings come an 8 o’clock start time where they have eaten at least 2 meals. (6 in David Ortiz’s case).
3-Where Did They Go? “And the lord said more strikeouts will occur on days when at least one of the team wears an atypical uniform.  Imagine going out there against a team wearing the camouflage unis.  The hitters can only see their pants.  How terrifying.”
Now bet, bet, bet, and if you lose, we’ll make it back tomorrow.
Photo Credit: USA Today © Jasen Vinlove