Betting on Baseball: Avoid Making These Rookie Handicapping Mistakes

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The casual sports bettor can get into some risky business when trying to wager on Major League Baseball for the first time. Most bettors love the action, which means when baseball season rolls around, they can’t help but wager on it. The NBA is the only other sport going, so action junkies need to fulfill that need through MLB betting. It’s crucial that if you are one of those people that you are prepared instead of diving in head first. There are a few simple traps I’ll go over to help make sure you avoid. Played right, you can make more money over the course of a baseball season than any other sport.

Riding Teams Without Looking at MLB Odds

Knowing that baseball is one of the only sports without a spread, it’s easy to just ride teams knowing all they have to do is win the game. If you want to ride the best teams in the league, it’s going to cost you over time. No squad can cover consistent prices of -250 to -300 and higher. It’s not always about taking a team that is most likely to win. It’s about finding the teams out there that have a great shot to win along with great odds. Just as with any other sport, it’s about finding value. I have always had more success riding underdogs than favorites over the course of a season because you get more money back than you bet when you win. I never lay -200 juice or more, and if I’m going to bet a favorite it’s going to be -150 or less 90% of the time, depending on the situation.

MLB Rosters: Injuries to Star Players

This is the case with many sports, especially baseball. The average bettor believes the outcome of a game will be decided due an injury to a star player. The fact of the matter is that these are all professional athletes and teams can overcome an injury or two even to their best players. Considering there are nine spots in a lineup, a baseball team can overcome an injury easier than in any other sport. Don’t bet against teams just because one of their best players is out, because the odds are usually adjusted for that and the value simply isn’t there. You will tend to find more value betting on teams with key injuries.

Ignoring MLB Trends and Streaks

Baseball is a very streaky game, and the key is to ride teams while they’re hot and fade teams when they are cold. It’s easier said than done, but you should almost never go against a team that has won five or more games in a row and never back a team that has lost five or more straight. Over the course of a 162-game season, steaks can have a big impact on a team’s mentality. Teams on losing streaks lose confidence and feel like no matter what they do they can’t win, time and time again blowing games late. Teams on winning streaks gain confidence with each victory and feel like they can’t lose. Don’t get caught trying to beat a streak because more often than not you will get burnt.

MLB Tip: Examine Starting Pitchers

Considering the game of baseball is played with nine hitters in a lineup up against one pitcher at all times, it’s easy for the casual bettor to just ride a lineup. But a starting pitcher can shut down a lineup, and if you can keep up on pitchers then your chance of winning is much greater over the long haul. Teams like the Yankees and Red Sox have had problems at the bottom of their rotation, so even though they are two of the most-followed teams in the game, they tend to get beat with their weakest starters going. You should almost always start your research in every game by figuring out which team has the better starter on the mound, then check out the odds to find the best value. Many times the underdog will have the better starter on the bump, and this is when you will find that value.

Don’t Fall in Love With Aces

This obviously sounds contradictory to the last one, but there is clearly truth to it as well. The point I’m trying to make here is don’t always back teams when they have their ace on the mound. You will pay a heavy price for doing so, because when an ace is going a team is going to be a heavy favorite most of the time. Even an ace can’t overcome factors like hitting problems, injuries and losing streaks. There’s no question that a pitcher can carry a team and shut down the opposition, but he can’t score runs for himself. Backing aces and the top names in the game is a good way to go broke because you are going to be laying -200 juice or more a lot of the time, taking away all the value.

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