Best & Worst Starting Pitcher Matchup Lists

By Steve Makinen  (VSiN.com senior reporter) 

Perhaps the single biggest factor in building odds for Major league Baseball is the starting pitcher matchup. Not only does the overall strength level of a pitcher play a huge part in that, but so does how a particular pitcher has fared against that opponent historically. In fact, if there is an unusual line released where something seems off, the pitcher versus opponent history is one of the first things I look at to try to find an explanation. Even as more and more teams are going to the “opener” mentality when it comes to starters, there is no debating the importance of the pitchers in both building and analyzing the lines.

With that in mind, perhaps you have noticed instances where lines may be “off” from what would seem to be typical placement. Often times this occurs because one of the starting pitchers has either a very rich or very poor history against that game’s opponent. Case in point, about a month ago, Trevor Bauer and the Indians were at Houston and squaring off with another AL stalwart in Gerritt Cole. At 140 I thought the line was about 15 cents too low on Cleveland with the way Houston was playing at the time. It wasn’t until I looked at the recent history of Bauer vs. the Astros that I figured out why. Since 2014, the Indians had gone 8-0 in his starts. Well, Bauer proceeded to make it 9-0 with a 2-1 victory in which he was very sharp, allowing just four hits in eight innings. In fact, you will see below that he is at the top of my Best R.O.I. list for starting pitcher matchups. This was clearly a case where had I been a little more prudent in studying the contest, I would have scored a betting win.

There are plenty of more examples below that I could detail, but it’s probably best that I just share with you the data, and let you bet the games at your will. You’ll see below that I have put together a collection of various BEST & WORST lists for starting pitcher performance against various opponents. This data dates back to the start of the 2014 season (5 seasons) and only takes into account active pitchers that have had at least one start in 2018. I also filtered the data down to pitchers that started a minimum of FIVE games against a given team in that span. As an added bonus, I went into the schedules of each team to find the next opportunity bettors would have to take advantage of the findings.

Be sure to make note of these matchups and closely analyze the prices of games the next time they come up. You might be surprised to see how much of a factor oddsmakers make this information in building lines.

 

BEST MATCHUPS LIST

1. TREVOR BAUER (CLEVELAND) VS. HOUSTON

# of starts (since 2014): 9

Team Record in Starts: 9-0, 10.05 units, R.O.I: 112%

Individual Record in Starts: 8-0

Key Stats: 59 IP, 2.9 ERA, 1.085 WHIP, 10.83 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 7/30-8/1

2. JOHNNY CUETO (SAN FRANCISCO) VS.

PITTSBURGH

# of starts (since 2014): 9

Team Record in Starts: 9-0, 9.25 units, R.O.I: 103%

Individual Record in Starts: 7-0

Key Stats: 64.7 IP, 1.81 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 7.93 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 9/9-9/12

3. MADISON BUMGARNER (SAN FRANCISCO)

VS. CHICAGO CUBS

# of starts (since 2014): 6

Team Record in Starts: 6-0, 6.2 units, R.O.I: 103%

Individual Record in Starts: 5-0

Key Stats: 38.7 IP, 2.33 ERA, 0.931 WHIP, 11.87 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 7/22-7/24

4. NOAH SYNDERGAARD (NY METS) VS.

CINCINNATI

# of starts (since 2014): 6

Team Record in Starts: 6-0, 6.1 units, R.O.I: 102%

Individual Record in Starts: 5-0

Key Stats: 42.7 IP, 2.11 ERA, 0.914 WHIP, 10.12 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 9/20-9/22

5. CLAYTON KERSHAW (LA DODGERS) VS.

SAN DIEGO

# of starts (since 2014): 15

Team Record in Starts: 15-0, 15 units, R.O.I: 100%

Individual Record in Starts: 10-0

Key Stats: 104.7 IP, 1.46 ERA, 0.688 WHIP, 11.01 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 7/4-7/6

6. JOSE BERRIOS (MINNESOTA) VS.

CHI WHITE SOX

# of starts (since 2014): 10

Team Record in Starts: 9-1, 8.45 units, R.O.I: 85%

Individual Record in Starts: 8-1

Key Stats: 66 IP, 2.05 ERA, 0.955 WHIP, 9.68 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 6/28-6/30

7. MICHAEL FIERS (OAKLAND) VS.

MINNESOTA

# of starts (since 2014): 9

Team Record in Starts: 8-1, 6.8 units, R.O.I: 76%

Individual Record in Starts: 5-1

Key Stats: 51.7 IP, 3.14 ERA, 1.239 WHIP, 9.06 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 7/2-7/4

8. MASAHIRO TANAKA (NY YANKEES) VS.

SEATTLE

# of starts (since 2014): 9

Team Record in Starts: 8-1, 6.7 units, R.O.I: 74%

Individual Record in Starts: 7-0

Key Stats: 64.3 IP, 2.1 ERA, 0.839 WHIP, 9.51 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 8/26-8/28

9. MICHAEL WACHA (ST LOUIS) VS.

CINCINNATI

# of starts (since 2014): 15

Team Record in Starts: 13-2, 10.55 units, R.O.I: 70%

Individual Record in Starts: 10-1

Key Stats: 87 IP, 2.69 ERA, 1.184 WHIP, 6.41 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 6/4-6/6

10. JACOB DEGROM (NY METS) VS.

PHILADELPHIA

# of starts (since 2014): 14

Team Record in Starts: 12-2, 9.05 units, R.O.I: 65%

Individual Record in Starts: 7-1

Key Stats: 86 IP, 2.2 ERA, 1.012 WHIP, 9.52 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 6/24-6/27

11. STEPHEN STRASBURG (WASHINGTON) VS.

PHILADELPHIA

# of starts (since 2014): 19

Team Record in Starts: 16-3, 11.1 units, R.O.I: 58%

Individual Record in Starts: 10-1

Key Stats: 121.3 IP, 2.74 ERA, 0.997 WHIP, 11.05 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 6/17-6/20

12. JON LESTER (CHICAGO CUBS) VS.

CINCINNATI

# of starts (since 2014): 16

Team Record in Starts: 14-2, 9.35 units, R.O.I: 58%

Individual Record in Starts: 7-1

Key Stats: 97.3 IP, 3.88 ERA, 1.048 WHIP, 7.95 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 7/28-7/30

13. JUSTIN VERLANDER (HOUSTON) VS. CHI

WHITE SOX

# of starts (since 2014): 16

Team Record in Starts: 13-3, 8.65 units, R.O.I: 54%

Individual Record in Starts: 8-1

Key Stats: 105 IP, 2.91 ERA, 1.114 WHIP, 10.63 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 8/12-8/14

14. KYLE HENDRICKS (CHICAGO CUBS) VS.

ST LOUIS

# of starts (since 2014): 16

Team Record in Starts: 12-4, 8.05 units, R.O.I: 50%

Individual Record in Starts: 6-2

Key Stats: 99 IP, 3.18 ERA, 1.061 WHIP, 7.09 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 6/7-6/9

15. ZACK GREINKE (ARIZONA) VS.

SAN FRANCISCO

# of starts (since 2014): 17

Team Record in Starts: 13-4, 8.3 units, R.O.I: 49%

Individual Record in Starts: 12-3

Key Stats: 111.7 IP, 2.26 ERA, 1.012 WHIP, 7.41 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 7/21-7/23

WORST MATCHUPS LIST

1. MIKE LEAKE (SEATTLE) VS.

CINCINNATI

# of starts (since 2014): 8

Team Record in Starts: 0-8, -12.1 units, R.O.I: -151%

Individual Record in Starts: 0-5

Key Stats: 47.3 IP, 4.75 ERA, 1.479 WHIP, 6.08 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 9/10-9/12

2. JUSTIN VERLANDER (HOUSTON) VS.

TORONTO

# of starts (since 2014): 5

Team Record in Starts: 0-5, -7.2 units, R.O.I: -144%

Individual Record in Starts: 0-4

Key Stats: 29.7 IP, 6.07 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 7.58 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 6/14-6/16

3. HYUN-JIN RYU (LA DODGERS) VS.

ST LOUIS

# of starts (since 2014): 5

Team Record in Starts: 0-5, -6.5 units, R.O.I: -130%

Individual Record in Starts: 0-2

Key Stats: 24.7 IP, 3.65 ERA, 1.135 WHIP, 7.3 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 8/5-8/7

4. CHARLIE MORTON (TAMPA BAY) VS.

OAKLAND

# of starts (since 2014): 5

Team Record in Starts: 1-4, -6.45 units, R.O.I: -129%

Individual Record in Starts: 1-1

Key Stats: 26 IP, 4.15 ERA, 1.346 WHIP, 11.08 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 6/10-6/12

5. STEVEN MATZ (NY METS) VS.

COLORADO

# of starts (since 2014): 5

Team Record in Starts: 0-5, -6.2 units, R.O.I: -124%

Individual Record in Starts: 0-4

Key Stats: 23.7 IP, 6.84 ERA, 1.817 WHIP, 7.6 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 6/7-6/9

6. DREW SMYLY (TEXAS) VS.

HOUSTON

# of starts (since 2014): 5

Team Record in Starts: 0-5, -6.05 units, R.O.I: -121%

Individual Record in Starts: 0-3

Key Stats: 20.3 IP, 6.2 ERA, 1.82 WHIP, 10.18 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 7/11-7/14

7. PATRICK CORBIN (WASHINGTON) VS.

MILWAUKEE

# of starts (since 2014): 5

Team Record in Starts: 0-5, -6 units, R.O.I: -120%

Individual Record in Starts: 0-4

Key Stats: 27 IP, 6.67 ERA, 1.741 WHIP, 10.67 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 8/16-8/18

8. NICK PIVETTA (PHILADELPHIA) VS.

WASHINGTON

# of starts (since 2014): 7

Team Record in Starts: 0-7, -8.1 units, R.O.I: -116%

Individual Record in Starts: 0-5

Key Stats: 25.3 IP, 11.37 ERA, 2.407 WHIP, 9.94 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 6/17-6/20

9. MICHAEL FOLTYNEWICZ (ATLANTA) VS.

COLORADO

# of starts (since 2014): 7

Team Record in Starts: 0-7, -7.95 units, R.O.I: -114%

Individual Record in Starts: 0-4

Key Stats: 39 IP, 4.38 ERA, 1.308 WHIP, 8.77 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 8/26

10. GERRIT COLE (HOUSTON) VS.

CINCINNATI

# of starts (since 2014): 12

Team Record in Starts: 1-11, -13.45 units, R.O.I: -112%

Individual Record in Starts: 1-8

Key Stats: 67 IP, 4.97 ERA, 1.388 WHIP, 9.8 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 7/17-7/19

11. COLLIN MCHUGH (HOUSTON) VS.

TAMPA BAY

# of starts (since 2014): 6

Team Record in Starts: 0-6, -6.6 units, R.O.I: -110%

Individual Record in Starts: 0-5

Key Stats: 36 IP, 2.5 ERA, 1.056 WHIP, 9.5 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 8/27-8/29

12. JEFF SAMARDZIJA (SAN FRANCISCO) VS.

WASHINGTON

# of starts (since 2014): 7

Team Record in Starts: 0-7, -7.65 units, R.O.I: -109%

Individual Record in Starts: 0-7

Key Stats: 36.7 IP, 7.36 ERA, 1.663 WHIP, 8.34 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 8/5-8/7

13. KYLE GIBSON (MINNESOTA) VS.

NY YANKEES

# of starts (since 2014): 7

Team Record in Starts: 0-7, -7.1 units, R.O.I: -101%

Individual Record in Starts: 0-5

Key Stats: 35.3 IP, 5.86 ERA, 1.444 WHIP, 7.64 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 7/22-7/24

14. JORDAN ZIMMERMANN (DETROIT) VS.

CLEVELAND

# of starts (since 2014): 7

Team Record in Starts: 0-7, -7 units, R.O.I: -100%

Individual Record in Starts: 0-6

Key Stats: 25.3 IP, 10.66 ERA, 1.934 WHIP, 6.39 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 6/14-6/16

15. DANNY DUFFY (KANSAS CITY) VS.

CLEVELAND

# of starts (since 2014): 13

Team Record in Starts: 2-11, -9.85 units, R.O.I: -76%

Individual Record in Starts: 1-10

Key Stats: 60.3 IP, 6.26 ERA, 1.641 WHIP, 7.01 K’s/9

Next Betting Opportunity: 6/24-6/26

Steve Makinen’s NBA Strength Ratings

Power Ratings: These Power Ratings are updated upon conclusion of every game played. The Power Rating line is reflective of each team’s rating and factors in home & road court points as well as any injury or situational adjustments.

Effective Strength Indicators: The Effective Strength Indicators are a statistical calculation that quantifies each team’s strength and pace of play. These ratings are influenced heavily by a team’s schedule strength and the type of opponents it has played. The Effective Strength Indicator Line and/or Total projected also factors in home & road court points as well as any injury or situational adjustments.

Bettors’ Ratings: The Bettors’ Ratings are calculated by analyzing the opening and closing lines/totals of games against how they were expected to be. This calculation is presumed to be bettors’ collective perception of a team and/or its pace of play. The Bettors’ Ratings Line and/or Total projected also factors in home & road court points as well as any injury or situational adjustments

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