How to Bet Pitchers Coming Off No-Hitters

How to Bet Pitchers Coming Off No-Hitters article feature image

Kiel Maddox-USA TODAY Sports

Last weekend, Sean Manaea stole the spotlight and ruined my Saturday night by no-hitting the Boston Red Sox. It was the first no-no of the season and first since Edinson Volquez’s last year.

Naturally, this got me a bit curious. How do pitchers do the next go-round? Well, luckily I have some mighty powerful tools at my disposal and researched how they’ve done from a betting and DFS perspective.

Using Bet Labs, I analyzed at how bettors have done taking every team in a pitcher’s next start following a no-hitter since 2005. These are in order of date pitched, exclude combined no-hitters and are graded as if a bettor risked one unit on every play.

* Perfect game
** Start not made after regular rest
*** Start made in playoffs

Not so great …

As a whole, these pitchers averaged a 3.97 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 7.71 K/9 en route to a -11.7% return on investment. Most wins came in games in which the team was a relatively heavy favorite, while the largest plus-money payout came on Volquez’s start last year at just +129.

I also took advantage of FantasyLabs to look at how these same guys did on DraftKings since the start of the 2014 season.

* No DFS data
** Traded from NL to AL
*** Next start made following season

Clearly much better, but I don’t believe this is a fair representation or expectation going forward. The group of pitchers in that small sample is far superior than the overall group. Five of the 13 starts were by Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer and Jake Arrieta in their primes. Those studs are a bit different than Jonathan Sanchez, Edwin Jackson, etc.

In my opinion, the better pitchers have a far greater chance of carrying their success over to the next start, whereas the random guys have more of a chance of letting the no-no get to their head. Most no-hitters are a result of luck more than anything else, so you should essentially expect pitchers to return to their normal form.

On Friday in Houston, the Athletics opened as a +150ish underdog against Dallas Keuchel and the Astros. I would have guessed they would have been bigger dogs, but I guess that’s why I’m not an oddsmaker. With that said, Manaea is $900 more expensive than he was for the no-hitter, which is only a little more than what we’ve seen on average. Since I was expecting him to be more of an underdog, I was assuming his price would only go up $500 or so against a lethal Astros lineup. I’ll be interested to see what his ownership looks like. Will his price and tough opponent deter players or will folks hop on the hot hand?

Top photo: Sean Manaea wears a gum bucket atop his head following his no-hitter against Boston.