Baseball bettors seeking data, angles and ideas for the 2009 baseball season can do no better than Betting Baseball by Hank Myers and Michael Murray (216 pages, paper bound, $24.95). Even if you'veHoward Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," is the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he has held since 1979. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry. Howard's website is www.gamblersbook.com
bought the book in the past, you still need the 2009 edition, since a major portion of the work has been updated. Case in point: The Umpire Scouting Report and Ballpark Statistics. Many old-time bettors knew certain umpires had an impact on the number of runs scored in a game but it was a well-kept secret. Murray (and a few others) opened the floodgates of information and here, in 75 pages, he profiles almost every umpire who was in action last season, and looks back at previous seasons for patterns.
Why is the umpire important? Simply, each umpire sees the strike zone differently, no matter how the rules define it. They interpret the "zone" differently. Some are categorized as "homers" (they enjoy cheers, not jeers from the home crowd), others offer wider strike zones than their peers, and some who are quicker to eject players than others.
The book lists over-under umpires, explains the rotation of the umpires and alerts bettors about those who have a dislike for a particular manager or who may be arrogant or confrontational. In short, you may learn more about how umpires can influence the number of runs to be scored in a game from this book than any other.
Not only do an umpire's "characteristics" impact a game, but other factors also influence the outcome, factors such as individual ballpark makeup, the time of the year (when the weather heats up for example, the number of runs increase including homers), "pitcher parks," and so on.
Also in the book is information on how teams do month by month in scoring plus, where will it get windy and which batters, lefties or righties, will improve at the plate.
Beyond that, the book has additional information that may well increase a bettor's bottom line. It is packed with vital betting material such as how to make your own baseball line, how to determine the overall strength of a bullpen, and how to evaluate starters based on earned run average and the strikeouts vs. walks ratio. It looks at how handicappers should measure offense, determine home field advantage and how to ride a streaking team.
There's a nice money management section, a smart way to bet totals, a comparison of the money line to the run line, and information about which teams, over the past few years, made money for bettors as favorites or underdogs.
Overall, this is the best book for betting the game I've seen in years and ranks among the finest efforts of the past few betting generations. It should be read before regular season action begins.
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