In today’s betting market, with Pinnacle long gone (at least to US players), and the Industry being less competitive in general, playing MLB totals is a great alternative for finding value in your wagers. And, in my opinion, an essential medium for earning long term profits for any serious or recreational gambler. Below are a few tips that may help you in your personal handicapping.
You have to know who is taking the mound every day. What kind of talent do they have? Are they a dominating starter like Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers, or a mediocre starter that has to pitch his best game to compete? How well is your starter pitcher, and how well has he performed vs. his opponent in the past? I find it necessary to see how each hitter has performed vs. the starters of the day. Some hitters just hit some pitchers really well and vice versa.
What type of pitcher is your starter? Is he a ground ball pitcher or a fly-ball pitcher? This can be very important when playing in particular ballparks under certain weather conditions. And, very important, in my opinion, is how deep does your starter pitch into games. Will he last 4 innings or 7 innings? How many pitches can he throw in a game? Some young pitchers and starters coming off injury are often limited in their pitch counts, regardless of performance. Hence, enter the bullpens.
You have to know your bullpens. This may be the most important, and often, the most overlooked part of handicapping MLB totals, and baseball betting in general. You’re just not going to see very many starters finish games anymore. As a result, the teams with the best bullpens hold leads and win games, and the teams with bad bullpens give up late runs, late leads and lose more games.
You have to know who the middle relievers are, especially if you think your starter may not last more than five innings. You should be familiar with who pitches the 7th and 8th innings, and who the closer is. Are there any key injuries to the back end of the bullpen? How rested is your bullpen? And, again, I think it’s important to know how teams have fared vs. particular closers in the past. All this information is available on the internet. Now, let’s talk about the weather.
Tracking weather conditions is absolutely critical when playing MLB totals. I personally check the weather forecasts the night before the games, early in the morning and throughout day, up until 30 minutes before game time. Why? Because, this is probably the most difficult variable an oddsmaker has to deal with on a daily basis. As we all know, the weather can be unpredictable, but if you’re in tune to it, you may beat your bookmaker to the punch before the lines move.
If you don’t know your ballparks, you shouldn’t be playing MLB totals. Without going into the physics of weather, as a general rule, when the weather warms up, the ball carries further, and more so in certain ballparks. However, you still have to know how each ballpark is configured, how the Stadium deflects wind patterns, the current weather conditions (wind direction, temperature), including in-game forecasts. Plus, you have to know who is pitching, and how well each team is hitting the ball.
Of course, you have to track how well each team is hitting the ball. If you have a team that is slumping at the plate, but are playing in over conditions, you should probably pass until their bats show some signs of life. Likewise, if you have a team playing in under conditions, and are pounding the ball, you should consider a pass as well. However, if you can line up all the above conditions in the right direction, I’m sure you’re going to find more winning totals than losers. Just pick your spots.
I can’t stress enough how important it is too have several outlets for your sports wagering, and this definitely applies to betting on MLB totals. On any given day, you can find totals varying 1/2 points to 30 cents on the dollar (sometimes more). Many handicappers will disagree with me, but I would much rather pay a little more juice to get around key total numbers. What are key total numbers?
The most common key total numbers in baseball, are 7, 9 and 11. Hence, if you like the Over, you should try to avoid betting against 7.5, 9.5 and 11.5 totals, unless you have a very good reason. On the flip side, if you like the Under, you should avoid wagering against 6.5, 8.5 and 10.5 total numbers. If you have an under wager of 6.5 runs, and your teams’ battle to a 3-3 tie, you’re screwed. Hence, you should be able to follow the logic behind the other key numbers.
In conclusion, wagering on MLB totals is probably one of the best mediums for winning money in any sport. Normally the prices are fair, and if you can do your homework, and find enough variables to support your wager, you will end up in the winners circle more often than not.