Every day, I spend at least a few minutes listening to the tape recordings of calls placed in our call center. I was surprised last week when a couple of those calls involved bettors that didn’t seem to understand the workings of Listed Pitchers. This is also a regular comment from our clerks. I’ve often said baseball provides more advantage for sports bettors than any other sport. Lower juice is part of that advantage but Listed Pitchers are a big part as well. August/September are also the busiest months for new bettors signing up and because many of those have not bet baseball, I decided that I would cover Listed Pitchers now, even though baseball is past the halfway mark and exhibition football is just a few days away.
Let me start by explaining what the feature is and how it works. When betting on an NFL game, have you ever been given the option to bet on the Rams only if Kurt Warner or Marshall Faulk started? Considering they have both been banged up at times in the past couple of seasons, it sure would help. How about the NBA? Wouldn’t it be great if you could have bet on the Lakers with the condition that Shaq must start when his toe was acting up? Of course it would. Well with baseball you have that control when wagering on the Moneyline: you have the option to specify which, if either, of the two starting pitchers must pitch for your wager to have action. You may specify whether both Listed Pitchers must start (known as ‘both’ or ‘boxed’), just the pitcher of the team you are betting for (known as ‘on’), just the pitcher of the other team (known as ‘against’) or neither of the starting pitchers (known as ‘action’). If a pitcher you ‘List’ does not throw the first pitch for his respective team then your wager would be settled as No Action and your bet refunded to you regardless of the actual outcome. Note that Runlines and Total wagering generally always require ‘Both’ pitchers to start for those plays to have action.
Here is an example to help clarify:
Toronto Blue Jays -260
Roy Halladay (R)
Detroit Tigers +230
Mike Maroth (L)
Suppose you wanted to bet on the Jays in this game, you would have four options for your Moneyline wager:
Both – Halladay and Maroth must start for their teams
On – Halladay must start, any Tigers pitcher may start
Against – Maroth must start, any Toronto pitcher may start
Action – does not matter who the starting pitchers are
Which option should you choose? Well, there is no simple answer. It really depends on your reason for picking the Blue Jays in this example.
Some bettors take the approach that the starting pitchers are so analyzed by bookmakers that they feel there is no reason to even look at their numbers. If you took the Jays because you noticed they play better on the road then they do at home and the Tigers are even worse at home then they are on the road (those poor Tigers fans; but at least they have won a World Series in the last 20 years haven’t they Red Sox and Cubs fans?) and the starting pitchers didn’t enter your thinking, then Action is the choice for you. Likewise, if you only analyze offensive numbers looking for patterns, or you want to ensure you have a bet on the game, then ‘Action’ is for you.
Most bettors prefer to take starting pitching into consideration, at least in part, as they are the only players involved in every play when their teams are on the field. If you like the Jays because Halladay was won 15 straight decisions, or because you like a groundball pitcher (or a right handed pitcher), against the Tigers, regardless of who the Detroit pitcher is, then you would want to take ‘On’ and make sure your bet only has action if Halladay starts.
If you chose to bet on Toronto because Maroth is 5-15 with an ERA of 5.35 and you think the Jays could beat him with you as the starting pitcher or because you like the Jays against a left handed pitcher then ‘Against’ is the choice for you.
If it is a combination of Halladay’s success and Maroth’s struggles that have you laying the -300 then ‘Both’ would make the most sense. There are lots of other factors that go into choosing a team and with each one you should take a moment to consider which of the four options would make the most sense for your play.
I admit pitching changes are not that common, especially in the last few minutes before a start, but why not take advantage of the option that is there for you to prevent a frustrating loss if a pitcher tweaks a hamstring or gets a blister while warming up. If you are betting on overnight lines or before you go to work in the morning, when there is a greater chance of a change happening, listing pitchers is even more important then it is if you are one of those that likes to wait until the last minute. I would also like to note that double-headers are slightly more prone to late changes than other games as managers occasionally elect to change the order of the two pitchers for the day at the very last minute.
Using Listed Pitchers may only affect a handful of wagers each year, but if using them to your advantage prevents any of those plays from being a losing bet, why take the chance?
The enjoyment of your wagering experience with us is my number one priority. Should you have any questions, concerns, or comments, I will personally ensure you are satisfied with your Bodog experience.
Good luck with your wagers!
Rob Gillespie is President of Bodog Sportsbook & Casino
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