It is remarkable that baseball betting isn’t more popular. It a different ‘ballgame’ than wagering on football or basketball. It seems that seasoned sports gamblers are intimidated by the runlines, the absence of point spreads, and also the sheer quantity of wagering opportunities presented. Just contemplating sides and total plays on every single game, you will discover 5000+/- wagering opportunities during the course of a single season. And, those wagers do not include first half lines, runline plays, World Series wagers, futures bets, over/under season win totals, and more. Adding to the confusion, the inexperienced baseball gambler faces are the enormous amount of baseball statistics and data – most of it unhelpful to wagering on the sport. Compared to football handicapping were there is plenty of resources like publications featuring matchups and point spread statistics, baseball handicappers have very little resources to turn to.
It’s unfortunate because betting on baseball is a superb moneymaker for the sports gambler. The major advantage, baseball betting allows the sports bettor an opportunity to make tiny daily profits for the entire MLB season. There are currently 162 games in regular season play and 30 MLB teams, so on an given day there can be an opportunity for wagering on 7 to 15 games. It’s due to this vast wagering opportunity that sharp sports bettors wager on baseball. Add to the opportunity, wagering on underdogs, and you can return a seasonal profit while winning less than 50% of your wagers.
Consider this… the best baseball teams consistently win 61% +/- of their games year every year. That means they lose 39% +/- of them (or 63 +/- games). And the worse teams win 68 +/- games a season or 42% +/-. There are some very obvious wagering opportunities to consider for the smart baseball handicapper.
This article is to give you some “fast & simple” baseball handicapping tips to consider that may help make your baseball betting more profitable. Nothing technical, no statistics to crunch… Just some simple rules to consider when making your baseball picks.
1) Consider wagering on underdogs whenever possible. As stated previously – the very best MLB teams lose 63 games a season and the worst teams win around 68 games. Everyone else in the league falls between these two numbers. Now take into consideration that if your average bet is a -150 favorite, you’ll need to win 60% of your picks just to breakeven, and at -170 your breakeven rises to 63%. The more favorites you wager on, the higher your winning percentage needs to be just to breakeven. If you normally wager on the public favorites, your going to have a tough time making any money betting baseball.
But what if you were to wager on the underdogs? I can hear you saying, “They only win 68 games a year!” If your average wager on an underdog is +120, your breakeven drops to just 45.5% winners, and at +140 – you only need to win 42% of the time to breakeven! And the more your sportsbook lays, your percentage of picking winners continues to drop to breakeven. The worse team in the league last year won 63 games and lost 99 games for a winning percentage of .426. Do you think sportsbooks were offering more than +140 on a team like that? You bet (no pun intended)! As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities for the sharp sports bettor to make a profit wagering on underdogs.
2). Many stock investors put a ceiling on the price they are willing to pay for any given stock investment – this is called a “limit order.” You should consider adopting the same practice in your baseball handicapping. Set a limit on what your willing to risk for betting the favorites and stick to it. Laying -150 still has a high amount of risk even for top teams. Setting your limit to -120 or -130 still allows you baseball wagering opportunities while reducing your risk considerably. You will often find better teams listed in this range which makes for great plays.
The real key to winning sports betting is money management. If you set a ceiling on risk – stick to it! I don’t care what the opportunity is. There are plenty of sports betting opportunities in a season and not taking action on one game is not going to make a difference in the long term. In fact, it’s through strict money management that astute sports bettors make a profit every year. If you only follow one piece of advice in this article, I hope it’s this one. Undisciplined sports wagering is one of the quickest ways to lose a bankroll.
3). Too much importance is given to starting pitchers. Yes, I understand that oddsmakers use them when handicapping and for setting the opening line, but hear me out… Unlike football were the quarterback typically stays in for the entire game, baseball pitchers are routinely pulled from games for bad performance. If your laying a high price for a “name” pitcher and he’s having an off day, he could be pulled from the lineup early in the game. There goes your advantage and reason for betting. It’s for that reason that I consider starting pitchers an overrated factor in baseball handicapping.
4). With a season of 162 games, any given team is going to have winning and losing streaks. Teams with a streak of 3 or more games will have a certain momentum that, as a baseball handicapper, you should pay attention to. Maybe it’s one of the ‘mental factors’ of the game that you can’t put a number to, but a team that has won 3 or more games is probably going to continue winner more games. It’s even more true for teams in a losing trend – they are going to continue losing more games.
Example: in 1961, the Philadelphia Phillies lost 23 consecutive games from July 26 to August 20. What do you think they were thinking around that 4th or 5th loss? Imagine the team’s attitude around that 8th or 9th loss… I’m sure their head’s were not in the game.
The point is, pay attention to the teams momentum in your handicapping. If you’re thinking about betting with an underdog team on a losing streak – think twice. You will probably be better off avoiding such wagers in the long run. An exception to the rule is if the streak is greater than 10 games – check your matchups and you might find a great opportunity.
5) Unlike football, home field advantage during regular season is just not important. There are exceptions, but for the majority of ball clubs, it doesn’t have a great impact on the typical game. Certain teams do perform better in certain ballparks than others, but this has more to do with the design of the facility and the team personal. Some ballparks offer more advantages for pitchers and others for batters, but both teams will share the same advantage in those locations.
An advantage for baseball handicappers is the fact that oddsmakers will usually overvalue a home team. This can present the baseball bettor with an edge. If the home team is bad, but over valued by the oddsmaker, the visiting team could be a good opportunity to get a nice price. As a general rule, 60% of the teams will win more games at home than on the road, but that still leaves a lot of opportunities for those baseball handicappers that are playing attention!
Baseball handicapping can become very complex with all of the data that can be analyzed. Sometimes, it’s important to remember the simple things that can make a difference. I hope you found some value in this article and that it helps you become a better baseball handicapper. With more knowledge and strategies to turn to, you’ll become a sharp sports bettor in no time.