There are many unique aspects of handicapping MLB games that sp,e beginner’s are slow to realize. I’ve put together a strategy that I think will help bettors find more value with their baseball bets and make money over the course of the summer. These are some pretty basic strategies, and I certainly go in depth with mine, but this would be a good place for a beginner to start.
Starting pitching is probably the most over-used factor when handicapping a baseball game, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. You need to know how the starter is doing right now. Is he getting shelled or has he been dominant? Has he been so up and down that you don’t know what you are going to get? The stats to look at are runs allowed, K’s per walk, WHIP, and pitch counts.
How has the team, the starter is facing, done against him historically? It’s especially important to know how the good hitters have done against today’s opponent, but it’s important to have enough at-bats to get a decent sample size.
While starters are always on the tops of bettors’ minds, bullpens aren’t given as much thought. Even good starting pitchers can come out of the game with a lead, only to see their bullpen blow the game wide open. How do you handicap bullpens? Look at their season long stats, their past week stats, and how much they have been used in recent games. I hate backing bad bullpens no matter how much I love the starting pitching matchup.
Even bad teams can play well at home, and good teams can struggle to win on the road. Home underdogs have been a good bet historically, while popular teams can get over-valued fairly easily when traveling.
Also look at how a team does against lefties or righties. If a team has a left side loaded lineup they might struggle against south paws.
Never fade a team that is hot. If they have won four or more games in a row, then you are taking a big risk in fading them. If a team is slumping and lost four games in a row, look to go against them. I never lay money down on a struggling team and I don’t suggest you do it either. Players are affected by how the team is performing and rising teams feed off the energy, while losing teams suffer.
In football and basketball, motivation plays a bigger role than it does in baseball, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a small factor. Teams that are coming off a successful series against a divisional rival might not be quite as “up” for the next series against a bottom feeder in a different division. Travel isn’t normally as big of a deal either since the teams play three or four games in a row in the same place.