MLB Betting: Bullpen Analysis Helps Your Odds

Peter Loshak

Thursday, April 11, 2013 12:17 PM GMT

Bullpen analysis is a key component of handicapping line value in baseball, and one that does sometimes get a bit overlooked.

Teams at the top of the league in bullpen ERA tend to be profitable, while teams near the bottom have a strong tendency to be losing bets, or good bets against.

The 2013 MLB season has some interesting bullpen situations, as always. Mariano Rivera for the Yankees is in his final year of his Hall Of Fame career, and he should still be effective this year, although the Yankees overall will probably wind up with only a middle-of-the-pack bullpen.

Craig Kimbrel of Atlanta is currently putting up numbers that make him one of the best closers in baseball history, and Atlanta was a near-unanimous pre-season choice for best bullpen in baseball. Only Cincinnati, last year’s top bullpen in terms of ERA, has gotten serious consideration as well.

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Other teams such as Seattle may have underrated bullpens that are deep with lesser-known arms, which is the kind of thing that can give great betting value to a team’s lines during the year.

And teams such as Boston and Washington could be World Series contenders if their bullpens hold up. Both Boston and Washington have added new quality closers to their bullpens, but also have some questions with their complement of setup guys.

Accurately handicapping bad bullpens can be as important as handicapping the top bullpens, and there are a number of teams from the bottom of the 2012 final rankings that have not made any significant changes in the offseason.

In my early April preview and analysis of the 2013 MLB bullpens, I get into all of this and more in greater detail for your MLB Picks.