Baseball could possibly be the most exciting sport to gamble on for Las Vegas bettors. Not because of the game itself, but because, for a lot of people, it is very profitable and there are many opportunities to make wagers.
Unlike the National Football League, Major League Baseball schedules 162 games for each team every year. In addition, there is a game every day, whereas the NFL makes fans wait for either one game on Thursday, Sunday and one game Monday typically.
MLB is much easier to handicap than most sports because of the statistics, information and resources available to all bettors. Some professional handicappers may cringe when they read that the public has these too, but it is helpful to all if everything is interpreted correctly.
Baseball is not a sport that one can just wake up to and pick winners and losers. It requires heavy research weighing the value of each bit of information that comes with every single game.
With that being highlighted, here are eight tips and things a sports bettor must research before placing their pick(s).
Begin research by understanding the starting pitchers
This is an ambiguous tip, but let us understand its significance. When looking at starting pitchers, one must look at every relevant statistic. ERA, WHIP, strikeout percentage, home and away records, how does the pitcher perform against the team he is facing, fly ball and ground ball rates are the most important statistics.
Next, find out how far a starting pitcher goes into ballgames, meaning when does the manager typically turn to the bullpen.
If a pitcher usually lasts five innings during his start, a smart bettor will want to research the team’s bullpen, which is explained later on.
Be sure to understand these stats and more to handicap how they will impact the outcome of a game.
Hitting is the next most important component to projecting the end result of a game. Similarly to pitching statistics, one should research batting average, on-base percentage, strikeout rate, home run to fly ball rates, as well as hard contact rates.
In addition to these, try to find which teams are on hitting streaks. A ball club could be entering a series on fire, or cold as ice.
Lefty and righty splits
It is vital to understand how teams fair against each type of pitcher, and vice versa. Some pitchers and teams are better when they face a lefty or a righty.
L vs. R splits can pay dividends when finding a slight edge in a game.
I am certain most people have bet on the under of a total just to see their cards go up in flames because the shaky bullpen took over and ruined it.
Bullpens can certainly make and break the over-under. Research which bullpens close the door once they are called upon, and which ones treat the game like a home run derby.
Be cautious, however, because some bullpens might come into a game over worked. If a bullpen is tired, they will certainly allow more runs, even if they are typically stellar.
Plain and simple, understand the baseball stadiums that are hitter friendly and pitcher friendly. For example, if one plans to target the over, then find games being played in Yankee Stadium and Coors Field. When targeting the under, look for games at Petco Park and PNC Park.
Weather is also an important factor because it can determine how the ball travels when it is in the air. If there is a notorious fly ball pitcher on the bump, weather is going to have a serious effect on him most of the time.
Conditions like wind strength, humidity, temperature and precipitation all have the potential to make or break a game.
For example, if the humidity and temperature are low and the wind is high and blowing towards the back of the pitcher, it is plausible that the ball will not carry as far especially in larger ballparks.
Umpire strike zones
An umpire’s strike zone size plays a key role with pitching. Logically, the smaller the strike zone, the more likely pitchers are going to struggle to throw strikes.
The larger the strike zone, the easier it will be finding the plate.
Umpires with tighter strike zones will normally influence games to score more runs because pitchers are more likely to walk batters and leave pitches in hittable places due to the smaller frames.
In the betting industry, many people believe that it is smart to fade the public. Fading the public means, simply, to not trust the public when a majority of bettors pick one side of a matchup.
If there is a consensus that one team will win, or one side of the total will occur, it may be in one’s best interest to go the other way.
The public is not always going to be wrong, but be wary to trust them when there is 60% or more on one side of a bet.