We’ve been talking about MLB live betting more and more lately as the popularity of in-game wagers expands.
For those that need a quick lesson on MLB in-play betting, the term refers to placing wagers during a game instead of before it. Live bets look similar to pregame bets with MLB odds on totals and spreads. The significant difference is that every event during the game changes said odds on the fly. Live betting is highly interactive, with action that is fast and furious.
While there are many considerations when making live bets on MLB baseball, the most significant factor is bullpen stats. Some teams have a bad habit of collapsing late in games due to weak relief pitching.
Bullpen stats can be beneficial because live betting is done inning-by-inning, similar to how relievers operate. With that in mind, let us take a look at three of the worst bullpens in the MLB and which players to keep an eye out for.
The closer job has been a revolving door of suck for Chicago and provides an excellent opportunity to beat the live MLB lines.
Chicago White Sox | 5.97 ERA
If there were a bizarro world version of the Relief Man Award in the MLB, Chicago White Sox reliever Reynaldo Lopez would be a frontrunner. He currently leads the MLB in blown saves with four and has a brutal ERA of 7.64. I wonder if you or I could be as bad at our jobs as Lopez and remain employed. Yet, Lopez remains a part of this roster and made five appearances in the first two weeks of May.
To try and limit the bleeding, the White Sox made a bunch of roster moves that included adding veteran righty Alex Colome in early May. The experiment was a total failure, as Colome pitched just three innings before being designated for assignment. He ended his brief stint in Chicago 0-1 with a blown save and an ERA of 6.00.
Chicago then decided that Nick Padilla was the logical choice to take over for Colome. He immediately was battered by the lowly Kansas City Royals offense. The second-year player allowed two runs on four hits over 2.0 innings pitched in a 9-1 loss.
San Francisco Giants | 5.84 ERA
Like the White Sox, the San Francisco Giants bullpen hires and fires employees more than a poorly run restaurant. The Giants have double-digit saves, but it’s because they are any better than the other teams on this list.
It has to be frustrating to be a Giants fan right now because the team wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for their relief pitching. The other two teams on this list have the first and second-worst team ERAs in the MLB. However, the Giants rank right around the middle of the league at 4.44. This tells us that the Giants pitching overall is decent, but the team is below .500 because of their bullpen.
They have one good reliever, Camilo Doval, who is 9-for-10 in save chances with an ERA of 2.04 and WHIP of 1.02. He’s their primary closer and does a fantastic job. Therefore, betting against the Giants in the ninth inning may not be the best idea.
Instead, focus on their garbage middle relievers, such as Jakob Junis. The veteran has allowed five home runs in the last ten innings of work and sports an ugly 5.32 ERA. Junis is a guy I’d bet online against when he’s up against a power hitter.
Oakland Athletics | 6.79 ERA
Last and also least, we come to the depressingly bad Oakland Athletics. The A’s are bad across the board, so the bullpen isn’t solely to blame for their total failure. But Oakland is on pace to break the New York Mets record of 120 losses in 1962, and the pen is doing them no favors.
The A’s have the worst bullpen ERA in the MLB (6.79), the worst WHIP (1.70), and allowed the most home runs (27). Oakland also has just four saves more than a quarter of the way through the season.
Oakland has tried to address these issues by shipping three veterans out of town. Adam Oller was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas, while Domingo Acevedo and Jeurys Familia were designated for assignment.
Acevedo made nine appearances with two holds and two blown saves. Familia played in 13 games with one two saves, one hold, and two blown saves. Trevor May and James Kaprielian have one blow save each.
I’m no math whiz, but it appears the A’s have more blown saves than converted saves.
Despite their complete failure, it’s hard to pin down just one or two guys to target when live betting. This is because the whole team is trash, and only two relievers are still on the roster from opening day.However, with a save percentage of 31%, it’s a safe bet to fade Oakland any chance you get with live MLB bets.