Baseball Betting Strategies
Baseball is America’s favorite pastime, and with a 162-game season that spans over six months, that means there’s plenty of games to bet on every single day throughout the summer. It’s no surprise then that baseball is one of the most popular sports for gamblers to bet on.
You might sometimes hear people say that they hate betting on baseball
, or can’t understand why other people would choose to bet on the game. The usual reason for this mistrust is the fact that there are few games where one team is an overwhelming favorite to win; since even the worst teams usually win at least 60 games, and the best rarely get over 100, any team can beat any other team on a given night. But this doesn’t mean baseball is bad for betting! In the long run, all that matters is whether or not you can make a profit from it, and you don’t need to win every game – or come anywhere close to it – to be a winner at baseball betting
. Here are a few baseball betting strategy
tips that will help you get started.
Pitching, Pitching, Pitching
When it comes to betting on baseball, there’s nothing that matters more than knowing who the starting pitchers are for each game. Nothing impacts a baseball game more than pitching, and the ability level between one pitcher and the next on the same team can be wildly different. For instance, if you see the
Yankees with a -200 money line against the Royals, you might think that’s a good bet; however, if the Royals are pitching Zach Greinke against a minor-league call up making an emergency start for the Yankees, those odds won’t look nearly as good.
Luckily, finding out who the starting pitchers are for a given game is simple. It’s such an important piece of information that it will almost always be listed anywhere you see a scheduled list of baseball games, including at your favorite sportsbook. If you’re not familiar with a pitcher’s ability level, their ERA (Earned Run Average) will give you a quick look at their effectiveness – lower is better. A pitcher’s win-loss record is usually also listed, but this is of limited importance; not only is it only a weak indicator of a pitcher’s skill level, it also doesn’t include many games in which the starter did not ultimately get the decision, meaning it’s not a true indicator of how the team does when that pitcher is on the mound, either.
Overrated (and Underrated) Teams and Pitchers
Looking at a team’s record isn’t always enough to get a handle on how good or bad they are. By the end of the season, most teams perform fairly close to their ability level, but during a season, teams might get lucky or unlucky and have records that reflect this, rather than how likely they are to win going forward.
One way to tell the difference is by looking at a team’s Pythagorean Record. This statistic uses the number of runs scored and allowed to come up with a team’s expected record. If a team is doing much worse than their Pythagorean Record, they’re likely to be undervalued; most of their bad record is probably due to misfortune. Similarly, a team that is well above their Pythagorean Record is likely overachieving.
Pitchers can also have deceiving short-term results. One statistic that can be used to tell if a pitcher is good, bad, or just on a run of luck is Batting Average on Balls in Play (or BABIP). Most pitchers will tend to give up a BABIP of about .300 for their careers, but this number can vary wildly from season to season. If a pitcher’s BABIP is, say, .200, chances are he’s just getting lucky – but the bookmakers might be overvaluing him when setting their lines.
These are just a couple of the most important strategies you should be using when handicapping baseball games. By doing the necessary research, you’ll find that contrary to popular belief, baseball can actually be one of the best sports to bet on.