MLB Betting Angles: Pittsburgh Pirates Are Safest Bet in Baseball

Jay Pryce

Monday, June 29, 2015 2:42 PM GMT

Sharp baseball bettors may have noticed that since last June, the Pirates have one of the best winning percentages in the major leagues when favored in the MLB betting lines.

In the last calendar year, the Pittsburgh Pirates are 90-67 overall in regular season play, seventh best in the major leagues. Earning a competitive .568 winning percentage to date, Clint Hurdle's men sit two games back of the St. Louis Cardinals and the NL Central lead, primed to make a run for a division title post All-Star break. For sports investors, the Pirates have offered one of the safest bets in baseball during this span. As favorites, they are winning 67% of their games since last June at average closing odds near -145, returning approximately 24 units to the sharpest bettors. For our scenario, we want to see the Pirates scoring more than their opponents during the season, which boosts their winning percentage into a more significant range. If Pittsburgh averages more runs per game than their opponent entering the contest, for example, then they are victorious at a 74% rate out of slightly more than 70 games with average odds near -150.

What is remarkable in this situation is the work of pitching coach Ray Searage's staff who are allowing a meager 2.6 runs a game on average. Below is a table showing the Pirates' starter, team record during our scenario, and the opponent runs allowed per game under each:

 

Starter

Team Record

Opponent Runs per Game

A.J. Burnett

3-1

1.5

Charlie Morton

5-2

3.4

Edinson Volquez

7-2

2.2

Francisco Liriano

8-8

2.8

Gerrit Cole

15-1

2.3

Jeff Locke

9-3

3.0

Vance Worley

7-2

3.0

 

Since last July, the Pirates lead the majors with a 3.05 team ERA. Where their rotation excels is in their ability to prevent the devastating long ball, serving up a paltry 0.66 home runs per nine innings in the last year—again leading the majors in fewest allowed. In our scenario, they only give away .49 per nine innings.

To continue this safe MLB betting scenario we would like to see the Pirates' bats heat up, similar to last year's post-All-Star performance. In the last month, Pittsburgh have knocked home 3.71 runs per game, lowering their yearly average to 4.01 and dropping in rank to 22nd in the league. Looking ahead to their schedule in July, Hurdle and company square off against only one opponent with a lower yearly runs total: the Milwaukee Brewers. At this point, however, they also have better run per game home/away splits than Cleveland and St. Louis if one wants to test those waters.

As always, use this information to support your leans and best of luck.