Having lived in the Midwest previously for some time and making MLB picks, I was well aware of how wind can change the outcomes of games; however, other elements have to be considered.
Just because the wind is blowing in or out does not always favor one team or a sportsbooks total. Time to probe into this a little further and think this through.
Understanding Stadium Setups
Most baseball stadiums are built with the third base line to the west and home plate will sit at some sort of southwest angle, looking out towards center field. This is easily noticed on sunny days in the summer time for late afternoon or evening games when the stadium structure creates shadows first for the left side of the infield and eventually to the right field bleachers.
During the summer time in particular the prevailing winds are from the west to the southwest, which depending on the velocity can help fly balls go further.
In the Midwest, several ballparks, like those in Chicago, Milwaukee and Cleveland are close to the Great Lakes and the vast majority of the time in April and May the wind blows in until the weather warms and the jet stream changes.
As a baseball handicapper I am well aware that oddsmakers like those at 5Dimes have a strong beat on the situation and adjust the betting odds accordingly to anticipate the situation. (But at least 5Dimes is fair and does not overreact like others I’ve seen.)
Don’t Overact to How the Wind Blows
When making sports picks it is best not to assume that if the wind is blowing out the game will go Over or that if it is blowing in it will be an Under play.
I have been in some of the aforementioned parks on windy days and seen the wind blowing out at 25 MPH with gusts even higher. I remember a 16-15 game and another that was 2-1 with the same conditions.
Invariably the total will be 10.5 or 11 in these conditions and hitters quickly find out during batting practice that they need an upper cut swing and with a solid contact an almost to the warning track fly ball will end up in the seats.
Younger inexperienced pitchers might be psyched out to see this happen or a hurler known as a fly ball pitcher will likely experience problems.
However, match two pitchers who understand how to pitch who are known as groundball specialists, who understand what opposing hitters will be thinking and have the command, well that changes everything.
These pitchers will work even below the knee caps to prevent upper cuts and often this will lead to ordinary grounders or lazy, somewhat windblown popups or short flyballs.
Smart Hitters and Pitchers Understand What the Conditions Mean
If the wind is blowing in a gale from left field, the intelligent hitter will do his best to level his swing for line drives to get on base. The smart pitcher in the same conditions will throw inside tempting the batter to swing with an uppercut arc and make easy outs.
The more skilled batsman will try and poke the baseball the other way and if he’s right-handed, he could have the ball slicing away from a center or right-fielder and end up with extra bases.
The most important aspect of studying the MLB odds when Mother Nature is blowing in a particular direction is pretty much the same as every other contest where it pays to know the pitchers and teams and let the linemaker do his job and you do yours by thinking and making the proper adjustments like they did.
Don’t overrate the wind and how it blows; just respect what it means in specific contest.