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Regardless of the sport, it’s always a good idea to gain experience and various research methods if you wish to become a profitable bettor over time. This is especially true for baseball however, a sport featuring more games, analytics and lineup changes than any other sport.
Let’s go through the various strategies and betting methods to consider when betting on baseball. We’ll break down the deep data markets to research, along with common tips to look out for when wagering on America’s greatest pastime.
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Top Expert Strategies for Sharper Betting
Baseball features endless statistics one can use when wagering on the game, but it’s important to narrow down your research. Let’s go through the top advanced strategies when handicapping baseball.
Use Sabermetrics Wisely
Sabermetrics can range from strikeout/walk rates to groundball/flyball rates. The amount of sabermetrics used in baseball can be overwhelming, but is also used as a compass for betting on the sport.
If you notice a starting pitcher has a high groundball hit rate, perhaps you go UNDER the team run total for the opponents. If a certain batter has a consistent exit velocity against a certain pitcher, perhaps a prop bettor will fancy the hit or total base market for the batter.
Figure out which sabermetrics you feel matter the most, and then pair those categories with markets you can wager on. Again, the amount of data and math with most of the sabermetrics is overwhelming for casual bettors so use sparingly and wisely.
Don’t Bet Heavy Favorite Moneylines
Many will tell you to stay away from favorite run lines, but that’s simply not true. It’s better to take the favorite run line than it is to take a favorite moneyline. Why is that? Well expenses are the main reason.
If the Dodgers are home as -250 favorites and a -1.5 run line of +110 against the Pirates, it’s better to take the +110 run line. The price is not only cheaper to play but the odds of the Dodgers winning by more than one run are actually greater than winning by exactly one run.
If the Dodgers lose the game or only win by a run then you’re out $110 as opposed to $250 should the Pirates upset Los Angeles. This actually brings us to our next strategy.
Don’t Be Afraid To Bet Underdogs
This should be the case for any sport, but underdogs are much more likely to hit in baseball than any other sport. Why? The amount of games and no clock are main reasons as to why. The sport is typically played in a two to four game series, meaning it’s rare for teams to win all the games in a given series.
Underdogs are due to win at least one game per series, so it’s wise to ‘minesweeper’ the underdog moneyline market in baseball and hopefully hit on a day the underdog wins.
If the Dodgers are -250 or higher in all three games against the Pirates, it’s better to test the Pirates’ moneyline (especially off a loss) on a random day than it is to bet the Dodgers three straight games. If the Dodgers lose just one of those three games you’re going to lose more than you win in those three games.
Bank On Bullpens
Understanding each teams’ bullpen is extremely crucial when betting on baseball, as it can dictate whether or not you want to live bet a game. If a bettor knows the Washington Nationals bullpen gives up a ton of runs, they might ‘live’ bet the Nationals’ opponent should the starter leave the game with a lead.
If a bettor knows the Houston Astros have an elite bullpen, a ‘live’ bettor might elect to wager on the UNDER once the Astros relief pitchers come into the game. It’s important to have an idea of the team’s pitching staffs, but particularly the bullpens.
Bullpens come into play almost every game, and understanding the tendencies of each bullpen allows for more profitable and predictable live betting situations. Don’t just live bet against any pitcher at will, but understand not only who to live bet on but also when to live bet in a game.
Pitchers vs. Batters
This falls into checking the lineups before each game, but we’ll get into that later. Pitchers vs. batters is crucial when betting on baseball. Know exactly who is pitching the game for each team and know exactly what the lineup will be for each team as well.
Once a bettor knows who is pitching and who is batting, then the research can begin. If you notice the Giants are throwing a rookie left-handed pitcher on the mound against the Dodgers, you might want to back Los Angeles should they feature a lineup with great hitters against left-handed pitchers.
If you notice Chris Sale is starting a game and struggles against one individual in a certain lineup, perhaps the bettor takes the individual on a prop play and hopes the success against Sale continues – even if Sale dominates the game.
Understanding who is starting on the mound and in the lineup, along with their stats against the given opponent, is one of the most crucial elements to betting on a baseball game. Never bet without knowing who is starting the game on the mound and in the lineup.
Factors to Consider in MLB Betting
There are various other factors to consider when betting on baseball, many of which require daily research prior to placing a wager.
In baseball, if it rains then the game might be suspended or postponed. These two terms are very important to differentiate between for bettors. If a game is postponed, then usually a baseball bettor will get the wagered money back as if the bet never happened.
If a game is suspended, then the bettor will have to wait longer as the game will be played eventually. Because of this, typically bettors who want a quick payout either avoid baseball all together or try an inning market instead.
Besides the rain, the heat or the chill can impact betting the game too. The ball is known to fly in warm weather, whereas it’s tougher for batters to succeed in cold weather.
Time of Year
This goes hand-in-hand with the weather, as the time of the year impacts how bettors wager. Typically, the offenses shine in June and July when weather is the hottest. This is why pitching is so important in the postseason, because it’s played late in the year during cold weather occurrence.
Also note the longevity of the season. If you notice the Braves struggle to begin the first two months but start winning games in July and into August, perhaps consider a new outlook on the Braves. It’s a long season and team performances change on the dime, from bad to good and vice versa.
Baseball schedules are very different, as teams could play anywhere from four to seven games in a given week. Series also change, as teams play anywhere from a two-game series to a four-game series.
Schedules begin to get real complicated when teams begin to play makeup games as well. It’s important to note team schedules when betting on baseball, which does include travel. If you notice a team is playing their seventh straight road games in eight days, then maybe you fade them knowing they are tired.
This should be a given, as no baseball bettor should blindly wager money if they don’t know who is pitching the game. If you see someone starting a game with a 12.00 ERA then perhaps take the OVER.
Knowing which pitchers are starting is also as crucial as knowing who the starting pitchers are facing in the box. So once you get all the data on the starting pitchers, look at the lineups next.
Checking lineups should be routine for baseball and basketball bettors, but especially for baseball bettors as the lineup changes quite frequently. Managers make lineup changes all the time, for various reasons. Injuries, call ups, strategy, etc… are all things managers consider when making a lineup.
Check to see if any batters in the lineup have success or failure against the starting pitcher in their careers.
As mentioned just a moment ago, injuries are quite common in baseball. Pitchers land on the DL constantly while catchers take a day or two off per week to avoid injuries to the knees. Know which players are available for each team prior to wagering on them.
Baseball venues are the most important for any sports bettor, because each field has differing dimensions. Take Yankees Stadium for instance, the right field is very short. It doesn’t take much for a hitter to go yard in Yankees Stadium because the fence is further into the outfield.
Take the Oakland Athletics for example too, with more foul ball territory than any other ball park. This allows for more foul ball outs which makes it tougher for hitters. Some ballparks are very difficult to hit in, such as Marlins Park in Miami, Florida where the outfield walls are very far back.
Understanding what game you’re betting on includes where the game is being played. San Francisco is notorious for being a pitcher-friendly field, so taking the OVER for games in San Francisco wouldn’t be ideal. If you notice the Braves go OVER the run total in nine of 10 home games, then taking the OVER for Atlanta home games would be a strategy to consider moving forward.
Betting on Baseball Underdogs
As mentioned above, baseball presents the best underdog sport to bet on. Betting on heavy favorites isn’t always a bad idea, but in baseball it is. The sport is played too frequently where the odds of a team winning every game in a series is low, although possible.
It’s more profitable to consider underdogs for a few reasons – the most obvious is the expense. Hitting an underdog once is still better than missing a heavy favorite once and winning the other two times. Also, the opportunities are ample.
With 162 games per team each season, there is plenty of time to get back to betting should you lose a bet. The turnover for getting another chance to win is short with baseball, so try to wager on underdogs with the thought you should be able to hit at least once every four attempts.
Finally, betting underdogs in baseball is a good idea because there is no clock to play against. In other sports such as basketball or football, a team that is trailing is trying to win the game but also win the game before time expires. With baseball, the underdog will have the same amount of chances as the favorite does to win the game.
The amount of outside factors to determine an outcome is limited in baseball. There is no clock and there is no penalty either. If a three-run home run is hit to win a game, it won’t be called back because of ‘holding’ or ‘charging’. Limited outside factors to determine the game’s outcome is a great reason to consider underdogs here.