Baseball Betting: How To Benefit From MLB Umpire Assignments

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With the 2016 Major League Baseball season underway, sports bettors are looking for any edge they can get in order to make some serious cash. There are plenty of betting systems and trends that can be used in order to gain a better opportunity to win and that includes a new approach that is starting to get a lot more attention. Here is a look at how to benefit from MLB umpire assignments when it comes to betting on baseball.

How Umpires Impact MLB Betting

Major League Baseball uses a four-man umpire crew for every series. The majority of the time the assignments aren’t announced until hours before the series begins and the officials will rotate positions with every game. That means the second base umpire for the series opener will work first base the following day and then home plate the next. Underdogs have historically had a major edge in the major North American sports but it seems as though baseball is the only sport in which the importance of home field advantage has been undervalued and part of that equation could have to do with the officiating crews. The numbers have been recorded over the years and they illustrate the scenarios in which certain teams have thrived by umpire as shown in the table below.

Best Home Umpires

Umpire                      Record       Units Won
Lance Barkdale        211-137      +42.38
Wally Bell*                184-123      +31.42
Tim McClelland*      175-128      +23.37
John Hirschbeck      139-98         +21.42
Tony Randazzo        184-128       +20.83

Best Away Umpires

Umpire                      Record    Units Won
Joe West                    184-192    +24.01
Tom Hallion             182-175    +23.76
Paul Nauert              173-175    +19.66
Bob Davidson           177-189    +18.59
Tim Welke                 167-178    +18.32

*Denotes Inactive Status

The table shows how teams have thrived at home or on the road depending on the umpire behind the plate in those games. The fact that home teams have won 211 of the 348 games that Lance Barkdale has officiated cannot be just a coincidence. The numbers could very well be an illustration of which officials have the biggest bias in favor of the home teams if you do believe that the numbers are more than just a coincidence.

Home Team Bias

Home teams already benefit from the noise their fans make, the dimensions and unique aspects of their stadium and the fact that they get to bat last. So what if they actually do benefit even more depending on the umpire that is behind the plate? It is impossible to say for sure that the umpires listed above should be classified as “homes” but it is also very hard to argue against the numbers.

At the very least, it is a trend that is worth monitoring throughout the year to see if the trends continue this season. Baseball fans could potentially benefit from identifying the umpires in certain series’ and wagering on these trends to continue. There are plenty of factors that impact the potential outcome of games and if the numbers indicate the possibility that certain officials could show any sort of bias in favor of home teams then it could help provide an edge.