There’s no question that Major League Baseball’s new rules will have a profound impact on how the game is played. Pitchers have 15 seconds to make their pitch with no one on base and 20 seconds with baserunners on. Hitters can’t step out of the box as often as they used to. The shift has been banned, which will benefit most hitters who naturally try and pull the ball. Larger bases are being used, which makes stealing bases easier. Yesterday, 19 of 21 attempted stolen bases were successful.
With all these no rules, both bettors and bookmakers have to determine how this will affect the line on every game. While it may seem bookmakers have more knowledge as to how this will impact the season and each team, the truth is no one knows. Stolen bases are likely to be up. Pull heavy hitters will likely see their batting average go up. However, beyond that, it’s hard to determine what will or won’t happen over the course of the season.
However, we think the rule will favor offense over time. Between more stolen bases, the shift being banned, and less time for pitchers in between pitches, hitters and baserunners seem to have the upper hand. In addition to that, consider that most fans want to watch offense. Most casual fans would prefer a 7-6, back and forth type of game, compared to a 2-1 pitchers’ duel. We don’t think MLB would put these rules into effect unless they thought we’d see an increase in overall offense.
Right now, it’s all about who’s going to find the edge first, the public or the bookmakers. History has shown that bookmakers are usually the ones who learn and adjust faster. But with a whole slew of new rules, that may not be the case now.
Ultimately, the only way we’re going to find out is by watching the games together.