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The spreadsheet below, for the 29th April 2019 can be downloaded here
The first thing to look at is the overall strength of the team. These do take into account various overall team stats and the opposition they are facing today. Everything is colour coded, the more GREEN you see for the first-named team in the 2nd column, the better their chances, clearly the more RED then the worse their chances.
TIME = The time of the game in GMT of when each match starts.
TEAM & RANK = Each team is ordered by their overall rank for today's matchup.
RATING = The first-named team's rating.
H/A = Whether the team is playing Home or Away.
VEGAS = The early Vegas odds-line, the larger the negative score, the stronger that team.
RUNS = The first mentioned teams forecast total runs to score in the game.
K% = The percentage of time that team's batters strike out. We want a low figure.
ISO = The power/strength of the batters, the higher the better.
OPP & RANK = The opposition team and rank, the higher the better for the first-named team.
OPP RAT = Opposition Rank, again the higher the better for the first-named team.
OPP RUNS = How many forecast runs the opposition are estimated, the lower the better.
OPP K% = How often the opposition batters strike out. The higher the better.
OPP ISO = The opposing batters power/strength figures. The lower the better.
RUN ADV = The run advantage the first-named team has, anything over 1 is strong.
WRC ADV = A ‘Weighted Runs Created” metric, this compares the first named teams figures to the other team, the higher this figure the better in terms of superiority at creating runs over the opposition. NOTE: This figure is based on the last 2-weeks data to show current form.
HOW TO USE TEAM RATINGS
Now, team ratings are really only one part of the pie when determining whether an offense is a good bet for today's matchup. The 2nd part is to look at the Pitcher ratings, more of that in a minute.
First of all we look for as much ‘GREEN' as possible in a column. For example, above you may consider the top-rated HOU (Houston Astros) as a good win bet against Minnesota. However, the opposition have a lot of power, are ranked 7 spots below them and have home advantage. I would probably still throw in HOUSTON as a selection for an accumulator as they are one of the strongest favourites on a shorter slate, have the lowest K% rate of all teams and have the highest run advantage, but it would not necessarily be a ‘strong' bet.
Alternatively, the 2nd-rated team ATL (Atlanta Braves) are not too far behind on the actual ‘RATING' figure, always pays to look below the simple rank. They are at home, are almost as strong with Vegas, have more forecast runs, similar ISO power figures, but are crucially up against the 4th-weakest offence in San Diego who don't have such great power figurs and the WRC Adv is much higher. For me, they would look to be a stronger favourite than HOUSTON tonight.
Sometimes it pays to look a little further down the ratings for better matchups though. For example both 10th ranked LAD (Los Angeles Dodgers) and 11th ranked NYM (New York Mets) are up against weaker opposition (ranked 16th and 17th respectively), have plenty of green in their favour, so could be worth throwing into an accumulator with the other two teams.
At this stage we are just getting an overall idea of TEAM strength and advantages over the opposition but we have a workable shortlist already of 4 teams. I'd then move on to looking at the PITCHER ratings and stats.
Analysing a game involves analysis the team and the pitcher ratings as a strong pitcher can swing an entire game in favour of a team, that works both ways obviously! So let's take a look at pitcher ratings, remembering the more GREEN in a row, the better for the pitcher.
PITCHER – Name of the first-ranked team's pitcher, so in this case JUSTIN VERLANDER is the number-1 ranked pitcher for the number 1-ranked Offensive Team so gives further strength behind the selection.
TEAM – The team name reproduced for ease of use.
HAND – Whether the pitcher is a LEFT or RIGHT-handed pitcher. This is worth noting when taking into account whether he is facing a team containing mainly left or right-handed batters.
PITCH RANK & RATING – The lower these figures the better, again make a note of the actual rating figure itself.
v LH and v RH – The pitchers ratings against left-handed or right-handed batters. This is not only useful to determine which pitchers to play, but also those to target.
DK$ – The $ Salary of the pitcher on Draftkings
DK PTS – Average Draftkings points each pitcher scores.
DK V% – A simple measurement comparing DK Pts with DK$ Salary that can help highlight value pitchers.
IP AVG – Important to note how many average innings a pitcher plays, the closer to 9 the better.
WIN/G – How many Wins the Pitcher has earned versus how many outings he has played.
SIERA – A statistical measurement of a pitchers ability.
L-ERA – Earned Run average versus left-handed batters.
L-K% – Percentage of left-handed batters the pitcher strikes out.
L-K9 – How many batters a pitcher strikes over an average 9 innings.
R-ERA – As above against right-handed batters.
R-K% – As above against right-handed batters.
R-K9 – As above against right-handed batters.
HA-ERA – As above record at home or away, depending on where they are that day.
HA-K% – As above record at home or away, depending on where they are that day.
HA-K9 – As above record at home or away, depending on where they are that day.
HOW TO USE PITCHER RATINGS
Just like the team ratings, we are looking for strong pitchers, with as much ‘GREEN' in their row as possible. Also look for variances between left and right-handed records and take into account the pitcher K% rates, considering the opposition Teams K% rate and ISO. Ideally you want a pitcher playing against a team that strike-out a lot (high K% rate) and have a lower ISO (power figure). Home/Away records are also worth noting.
Clearly JUSTIN VERLANDER is standout here, which augurs well for the already strong HOUSTON team. He is better against left-handed batters than right, so you can already get an idea that left-handed Minnesota batters like Max Kepler and Eddie Rosario may struggle to get some hits tonight. Also take into account the opposition pitcher, Jake Odorizzi is only 14th ranked on the pitcher ratings and has a low IP AVG figure.
We also have strength for the 3 other teams pitchers we picked out above ATLANTA (Mike Soroko ranked 4th against a 12th ranked pitcher), LOS ANGELES DODGERS (5th ranked pitcher Kenta Maeda against a 10th ranked pitcher) and NEW YORK METS (3rd ranked pitcher Zack Wheeler against the 17th) – so the upshot is that on Team and Pitcher strength the following 4 Teams looks strong tonight -:
LOS ANGELES DODGERS -132
NEW YORK METS -155
Now the teams and pitchers don't always align perfectly like this, but they do tonight so this looks a solid 4-team Accumulator that pays 6.27 odds. I usually back them in a 2pt win Acca with 4 x 2pt win Trebles, giving a total outlay of 10pts. Often one team will disappoint but the treble can help limit losses.
Now, Batter ratings are useful. However, most teams and pitcher ratings stay fixed for that night's game – they have to announce the pitcher early for the game. However, some batters get injured, some get rested and some have off-days. There is far more variance for batters, simply because they don't get as much ‘action' as the pitchers, so there is far less data to work with. Any batter can get ‘hot', or ‘cold' on any one night depending on their form, the support they get from the other batters and how good, or bad, the opposing pitcher plays. However, they can be useful for watching batters in strong spots against weak pitchers and those perhaps to avoid in weak spots against strong pitchers.
I primarily use this to find good plays for DFS (Daily Fantasy Sports) contests on Draftkings, to find players for each position. The main positions are -:
1B – First Base
2B – Second Base
3B – Third Base
SS – Short Stop
OF – Outfielder
I'll cover DFS on another page and some strategies to employ, for now though, lets take a look at the ratings data, which are far more in-depth than the team and pitcher ratings.
These are much clearer in the spreadsheet but due to size constrictions they may appear a little blurry. There is a LOT of information on batters, simply because the more data, the more we can make an informed decision on which ones to include in our teams. Once you look through each position for a strong matchup, it can often give an indication of an additional team to perhaps throw in the mix or ‘stack' ie. play more than a few players from one team, in DFS contests. Again, we are looking for as much green as possible alongside each batter.
POS – The player position, as mentioned above. Useful for filtering
PLAYER – Batter Name.
BATRAT & BAT-RANK – Batters Rating & Rank overall.
INJ – Whether there is any injury news on this player, when they are likely to return.
SALARY – Draftkings Salary,
DKPTS – Average Draftkings points.
DK V% – Comparison between DK Points and Salary to highlight value batters.
TEAM – Batters Team, again vital fof filtering.
TEAM RANK – The Rank of the Batters Team on Team Ratings to give additional strength.
TIME – Time game starts in GMT/BST.
OPP – Batters Opponent.
OPP RANK – Rank of Opponent Team.
OPP PITCH – Pitcher the batter is up against.
O-PITCHR & O-PITCHRAT – The rank and rating of the opposing pitcher, useful to see weak and strong opposition.
P-HAND – Whether the opposing pitcher is left or right-handed.
P-KBB – The ratio of strike-outs to walks allowed by the opposing pitcher. The lower the better for the batter.
P-K9 – The average strike-outs over 9 innings by the pitcher, again the lower the better for the batter.
P-Type – Whether the pitcher is a high ground-ball (GB) or fly-ball (FLY) pitcher.
P-LEFTIES & P-RIGHTIES – The pitchers rank against left-handed and right-handed batters. Again we are looking for good matchups here. CODY BELLINGER for example is an excellent right-handed batter in a strong position against the 18th worst pitcher on the slate against right-handed batters.
B-Type – Whether the batter is a high ground-ball (GB) or fly-ball (FLY) batter.
PLAYER – Batter Name.
REV-RAT & REV-RANK – The rank of the batter against pitchers of an opposing ‘hand' to the starting pitcher. This shows whether a batter will handle relief pitchers who come in with an opposing ‘hand' to the starting pitcher which can be worth bearing in mind.
14-D RAT & 14-D RANK – This can show which batter is in form over the last 14 days.
FC Runs – Whether the batter is playing at home and the forecast runs for his team.
HITS – How many hits the batter has had over the season.
HR – How many Home Runs the batter has.
RBI – How many runs batted in the batter has.
BB% – How many walks the batter induces, an indication of plate discipline.
GB% – Batters ground ball percentage.
FB% – Batters fly ball percentage.
SB – How many stolen bases the batter has.
SPD – The players speed around the plate.
ISO – How much power the batter has.
BABIP – Batting average on balls in play.
WOBA – Weighted on-based average.
WRC+ – Weighted Runs Created.
SOFT – How much soft-contact the batter has.
HARD – How much hard-contact the batter has.
GBFB – Ground Ball/Fly Ball Ratio
HOW TO USE BATTER RATINGS
There is a LOT of data here, essentially we are looking for batters against a good ‘hand' and solid overall stats. Again, I use these mainly for DFS which I will cover in a separate page over the next few days. I filter players by position, looking for strong stats, matchups and at different price ranges, bearing in mind that it can be hard to determine the final starting positions. I also look at the opposing pitcher ratings but also their REV-Rank and 14D Rank. Finally, I like to throw in players for teams I have picked for the accumulator with good matchup and overall stats as when the Accumulator lands, you often get players scoring points.
Again, you are looking for batters in strong positions against weak pitchers, bearing in mind the ‘hand' stats of the pitcher/batter.