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Understanding MLB Stats

When evaluating MLB odds, it is important to have an understanding of what the statistics mean as you evaluate matchups and make your MLB picks. MLB contains so many statistics that it is easy to get lost, but here is a rundown of some of the basic stats to look at.

The old saying is that an MLB team is only as good as their next day’s starter, so it is important to look at pitching matchups. While wins and losses, K’s (strikeouts), and BB (walks) give you a small peek into how a pitcher’s year is going, other stats can be more beneficial.

Earned run average (ERA), WHIP, and K-BB% are all stats worth evaluating. For ERA, this indicates the average number of runs that a pitcher gives up for every nine innings they pitch. The higher the number, the more runs they tend to give up. 

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WHIP, which stands for walks plus hits divided by innings pitched, gives an idea of how many baserunners a pitcher allows. Lastly, K-BB% indicates strikeout percentage minus walk percentage. The higher this number is, the more they strikeout batters as opposed to walking them.

Offensively, individual player stats can be examined by looking at stats like AVG (batting average), HR (home runs), R (runs scored), and RBI (runs batted in), but when looking at making an MLB pick, it is better to look at the team as a whole. One of the easiest stats to evaluate is runs per game. Runs per game tell you, on average, how many runs each team scores. For instance, during the 2021 season, the Houston Astros led MLB in runs per game averaging 5.34 runs.

Splits is another useful tool when evaluating teams. It can tell you how teams do when facing righties versus lefties, day games versus night games, versus AL or NL, and a myriad of other breakdowns. Both offensive and defensive splits can be evaluated. One last team statistic to look at is run differential. If a team has a positive run differential, it means they have scored more runs than they have given up throughout the year. The higher the run differential is, the more they have outscored their opponents throughout the season.

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