MLB Betting: Behind the Plate Umpire Report

Jeff Grant

Friday, July 5, 2013 2:18 PM GMT

It’s all about gaining an edge in the world of sports handicapping, which is why many MLB handicappers examine home plate umpire assignments on a daily basis.


Let’s take a closer look at how you can start using this type of information to build your bankroll heading into the Dog Days of Summer.

Favoring the home team

I’m always looking to back the home team if a young umpire is behind the dish, as he’ll likely be influenced by the crowd more than a veteran that has been around for awhile.

The home team is 13-5 (+774) in Chris Conroy’s 18 home plate assignments, which represents the biggest profit for any representative in that situation in the umpire standings.

Clint Fagan’s name is another one to keep a look out for in this category, with the host winning 10 of his 13 (+696) games behind the dish, including a 2-0 mark when listed as a favorite of -181 or higher.

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Lending a hand to the visiting club

Larry Vanover (4-10, -1,072) has been the enemy if you’ve backed the home team with him calling balls and strikes, but he’s had a pretty inconsistent pattern over the course of his career in favoring a particular side.

It’s important to point out that he’s the only umpire in the standings that has led to a negative return of -1,000 or more at this point in the season.

I’d think twice before playing a home favorite of MLB odds at -180 or higher with Jeff Nelson (7-12, -927) behind home plate, as all three teams that have fallen in that category have lost in 2013.

Expect some runs

Ed Hickox (12-4 Over/Under) leads the list of umpires in having 10.53 runs per game scored in his assignments, which is a bit surprising due to that figure being nearly three runs lower in 31 contests a season ago (15-16 Over/Under).

Six of seven games have gone above the number with Tom Hallion (11-6 Over/Under) behind the dish with a betting total of 7.5 to 8, which are pretty consistent numbers to find daily on the MLB odds board.

Tough day at the plate

Pitchers love seeing Bill Miller (5-11 Over/Under) behind the catcher, as he’s punching out an average of 14.9 hitters and allowing just 5.6 free passes per game.  His 64.2 percent strike percentage is among the highest in baseball.

David Rackley (1-3 Over/Under) is certainly making a name for himself this season, with his six assignments averaging just 6.67 runs, while the home team has captured each of those affairs.

Final thoughts

If you follow me on Twitter (@JeffGrantSports)—you’ve definitely noticed that I spend a great deal of time looking over this information on a daily basis.

I believe you can add additional value to your MLB picks if you find an umpire that has worked well with a particular starting pitcher or team over a period of time.

It also gives handicappers an early edge over the oddsmaker, as this angle is often overlooked in developing an opening number.