Makinen: Exploring the biggest MLB starting pitcher home/road performance differences

May 8, 2023 07:49 PM

I like to believe I have a good memory for retaining definitive sports betting data that I’ve either uncovered or encountered in reading someone else’s analysis. While it’s impossible to retain everything and perfectly employ updated data every time it arises, there are certain fundamental trends that I remember to use more than others. One of those is being aware of the pitchers whose home and road performance levels vary most greatly and making sure to back or fade them appropriately in their starts.

I’ve recalled for a few years now about the home/road exploits of guys like Zack Greinke or Jose Berrios, as they are well-known trends in betting circles. As each of them pitched at home late last week, it got me thinking, are these trends still valid, and are they worth backing? Are there other pitchers across the league that have even more defined performance variances when it comes to where they are pitching? Of course, I figured it was worth finding out, especially with the season being just over a month old. With that in mind, I dug into the database to study pitching location performances for all starting pitchers since the start of the 2021 season.

In all, there were 263 pitchers that have started at least five games both at home and on the road over the last 2+ seasons. Below, I’ve cited the biggest won-lost records, betting units, and key stats variances from their home and road starts. Use these to take advantage of these ACTIVE rotation pitchers in their upcoming starts so long as the trends continue. If you’re interested specifically in the Berrios/Greinke angles, you’ll see that Berrios comes up as the #3 active pitcher on my first list of those performing better at home than on the road. Greinke’s home superiority has slowed to where he is just +1.03 units at home and -4.24 units on the road. Nowhere near as stark of a difference as it used to be.

Biggest Betting Units Variations – Better at HOME

  1. Dane Dunning (TEX): +20.9 units
  2. Sean Manaea (SF): +18.67 units
  3. Jose Berrios (TOR): +18.3 units
  4. Jacob deGrom (TEX): +17.1 units
  5. Antonio Senzatela (COL): +16.8 units

Biggest Betting Units Variations – Better on ROAD

  1. Kevin Gausman (TOR): +25.68 units
  2. Tyler Mahle (MIN): +22.78 units
  3. Brad Keller (KC): +19.97 units
  4. Chris Bassitt (TOR): +19.6 units
  5. Logan Gilbert (SEA): +18.54 units

Biggest Betting ROI Variations – Better at HOME

  1. Jacob deGrom (TEX): +116.1%
  2. Michael Lorenzen (DET): +114.6%
  3. Nick Lodolo (CIN): +92.1%
  4. Luke Weaver (CIN): +84.4%
  5. Dane Dunning (TEX): +79.9%

Biggest Betting ROI Variations – Better on ROAD

  1. Jack Flaherty (STL): +95.0%
  2. Matt Boyd (DET): +84.8%
  3. Kyle Bradish (BAL): +77.7%
  4. Tyler Mahle (MIN): +74.8%
  5. Graham Ashcraft (CIN): +74.3%

Biggest Team Won-Lost Percentage Variations – Better at HOME

  1. Michael Lorenzen (DET): +54.5%
  2. Nick Lodolo (CIN): +46.6%
  3. Luke Weaver (CIN): +43.1%
  4. Griffin Canning (LAA): +41.7%
  5. Jacob deGrom (TEX): +40.9%

Biggest Team Won-Lost Percentage Variations – Better on ROAD

  1. Kyle Bradish (BAL): +27.1%
  2. Jack Flaherty (STL): +25.0%
  3. Matt Boyd (DET): +23.6%
  4. Kyle Muller (OAK): +22.3%
  5. Tyler Mahle (MIN): +21.7%

Biggest ERA Variations – Better at HOME

  1. Trevor Williams (WAS): +4.13
  2. Clarke Schmidt (NYY): +3.96
  3. Zach Eflin (TB): +3.52
  4. Ken Waldichuk (OAK): +3.50
  5. Mike Clevinger (CWS): +3.10

Biggest ERA Variations – Better on ROAD

  1. Bailey Falter (PHI): +2.38
  2. Tyler Mahle (MIN): +2.17
  3. Dustin May (LAD) +2.05
  4. Kyle Freeland (COL): +2.00
  5. Josiah Gray (WAS): +1.93

Biggest WHIP Variations – Better at HOME

  1. Ken Waldichuk (OAK): +0.739
  2. Clarke Schmidt (NYY): +0.635
  3. Trevor Williams (TB): +0.634
  4. Blake Snell (SD): +0.527
  5. Johan Oviedo (PIT): +0.509

Biggest WHIP Variations – Better on ROAD

  1. Dustin May (LAD): +0.337
  2. Tyler Mahle (MIN): +0.300
  3. Nick Lodolo (CIN) +0.277
  4. Hayden Wesneski (CHC): +0.256
  5. Kyle Bradish (BAL): +0.244

Biggest K’s/9 innings Variations – Better at HOME

  1. Clarke Schmidt (NYY): +3.3 Ks/9
  2. Braxton Garrett (MIA): +3.2
  3. Justin Verlander (NYM): +3.1
  4. Framber Valdez (HOU): +2.9
  5. Clayton Kershaw (LAD): +2.7

Biggest K’s/9 innings Variations – Better on ROAD

  1. David Peterson (NYM): +2.4 Ks/9
  2. Hunter Greene (CIN): +2.4
  3. Edward Cabrera (MIA) +2.3
  4. Ken Waldichuk (OAK): +2.3
  5. Antonio Senzatela (COL): +2.2

Using all of this information and more, here are the pitchers I deem to be the best five pitcher options at home and on the road in terms of overall pitching/betting stats performances:

Five top starting pitcher options at HOME

  1. Jacob deGrom (TEX): 19-3 team W-L, 14.3 Ks/9, 0.625 WHIP, 39.3% ROI
  2. Nick Lodolo (CIN): 11-5 team W-L, 11.8 Ks/9, 43.8% ROI
  3. Wade Miley (MIA) 16-5 team W-L, 2.99 ERA, 52.1% ROI
  4. Trevor Williams (WAS) 12-3 team W-L, 2.29 ERA, 1.085 WHIP, 59.3% ROI
  5. Jose Berrios (TOR): 26-9 team W-L, 1.117 WHIP, 9.6 ’s/9, 38.7% ROI

Five top starting pitcher options on ROAD

  1. Kyle Bradish (BAL): 11-4 team W-L, 9.0 Ks/9, 1.333 WHIP, 74.7% ROI
  2. Jack Flaherty (STL): 12-4 team W-L, 9.5 Ks/9, 55% ROI
  3. Logan Gilbert (SEA) 24-10 team W-L, 1.202 WHIP, 9.2 Ks/9, 53% ROI
  4. Kyle Wright (ATL) 13-4 team W-L, 1.291 WHIP, 47.9% ROI
  5. Julio Urias (LAD): 30-10 team W-L, 1.057 WHIP, 9.1 Ks/9, 35.3% ROI

As you handicap the pitchers on these lists in their upcoming starts, understand that most oddsmakers have a baseline power rating for each pitcher and don’t vary that too greatly depending on the game's location. Follow these numbers closely to validate that. Using these home-road dichotomy variations can give savvy bettors an edge.

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