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Baseball Handicapping

Baseball Handicapping

Now that we have a solid foundation in place, let’s get into some baseball handicapping tips. Again, I’m not giving you some kind of earth shattering information (nobody will, as much as they try to sell you), but rather some solid tips and information that should be used in your handicapping on a daily basis.

The information we’ll cover here is pretty straight forward. We’ll get into a little more of the advanced baseball handicapping within our Baseball Betting Strategy chapter, as well as others later in the guide.

Regardless though, these are very important and can easily be overlooked on a daily basis. If you want to be successful at baseball handicapping, you can’t overlook anything…just ask any professional and I guarantee they practice these on a daily basis (I know, because that’s who I’ve learned them from over the years).

Everything must be taken into account no matter how small it might seem. Even if it’s just checking the weather or injuries, you have to do it. Again, so many folks skim right over these factors because they don’t think about it or they don’t think it’s important (you cannot skim over anything when it comes to baseball handicapping)

If you’re betting on the under at Wrigley Field, then you better be damn well sure you know which direction the wind is blowing. If Albert Pujols is questionable, then you better have factored that into you numbers.

Again, it may not seem like much, but this information is critical to know. Over the years, you’ll learn many more and even develop your own baseball handicapping tips that you practice daily. What I’m trying to do is share with you a few guidelines that I, along with many professionals, follow on a daily basis.

So with that said, let’s get to it.

Avoid or Fade Public Teams
When first starting out, you always want to bet on those popular favorites like the Yankees, Cubs, Red Sox, or even the Cardinals (basically any team that’s “perceived” to be good). Well, you’ll learn very quickly that they can and will lose just like anybody else.

Those four teams are by far the most popular to bet in MLB…and believe it or not, the oddsmakers know this and they’re more than happy to inflate the line because they’ll still get plenty of action. Plus, the “perceived” good teams are usually very heavy favorites as well.

If you take a look at the the baseball plays I make on a daily basis at the The Sports Betting Blog, you’ll see it’s extremely rare that I ever put a bet on any four of those teams. However, I’m more than happy to bet against them.

These teams are normally heavy favorites, and there certainly isn’t much value in betting them. If anything, the value is betting the other side. It doesn’t matter what year it is, just go back over a 5 year period and look how much money is lost by betting on those four teams.

It’s amazing, but it happens year after year. Take this baseball handicapping advice and stay away from betting those public teams or look to take the other side…don’t learn the hard way. You’ll thank me for it, I promise.

Betting the Total in Baseball
Now we’ll talk much more about this in our Betting Baseball Totals chapter, but I wanted to introduce it hear first. Betting totals in baseball is a niche and there are some handicappers that are very good at exploiting that niche.

As with most other sports, oddsmakers spend much more time determining the moneyline on the sides than setting the totals. Sharp bettors are well aware of this and their more than happy to take advantage of it.

Sportsbooks know this too, and that’s why they’ll typically have reduced limits on totals (though not all the time). Baseball totals can and will move (a lot sometimes) throughout the day.

Books will normally adjust the odds at first, but if serious steam is coming in, they can adjust a total from .5 to 1.5 runs throughout the day. Sharp money will move those totals fast.

Just pay attention to the lines on totals through the day and you’ll see exactly where the steam is being bet. In other words, if you see value in a total, it’s best to get your bet in because they can move fast…however, it can also work for you if you see value against the steam since you’ll get a much better number/price after it’s been steamed.

Once the totals are adjusted, there’s typically no more value in the play (unless you’re going the other way). However, this is where it’s extremely important to have multiple sportsbook accounts because not all books adjust the lines at the same time, giving you a chance to still get that favorable number.

Betting totals can be a great addition to your baseball handicapping repertoire. It’s just another opportunity that often gets overlooked by many bettors.

Look Out For Streaks
Be aware of who’s on a winning streak and who’s on a losing streak. Seems easy enough, right? Well, you wouldn’t believe how many bettors don’t take this into account for their baseball handicapping.

I tend to always stay away from betting teams that have won 3 or more games in a row. Usually the hotter a team is, the more the oddsmakers will start shading the lines, so you’re best bet is to avoid the game or possibly find value in fading them (I’d be careful with that too).

Just the opposite though, I tend to stay away from teams that have lost 3 or more games as well. Although there certainly could be value in betting that team, I usually steer clear until the streak is broken.

Just be aware of streaks and make sure to account for which teams are on them when you’re handicapping baseball. If nothing at all, it’ll give you more insight into understanding why the odds are set they way they are for that streaking team.

Risk Betting vs. Win Betting
This is a pretty straightforward baseball handicapping tip and I wasn’t sure where I was going to address it, so I thought this chapter was as good as any. If you’re not familiar with this, we’re talking about whether you’re risking a certain amount (risk betting) or betting to win a certain amount (win betting) when placing your wagers.

There is a very big difference between the two. For example, let’s say you’re betting team A at -140 and your normal bet size is $100. Well, if you are risk betting, then you would risk $100 to win a lesser amount (in this case $71.43).

While if you’re win betting, you’ll be risking $140 to win to $100. You can see there is a significant difference between the two when betting favorites (there is no difference when betting dogs because you’ll be risking $100 either way to win a greater amount).

Everyone has their own opinion, but I prefer the more conservative risk betting route. Though I normally never bet favorites of greater than -150, I’m still not very comfortable risking 50% more than my normal bet size.

As I said, I practice risk betting and my advice to you is to do the same, but again, everyone has there own opinion. More importantly though, it’s vital that you’re consistent in whatever money management strategy you practice.

Know Who’s Injured
Yes, I know this isn’t a ground breaking tip, but again so many people forget to take this into account in their baseball handicapping. Looking at the injury report takes absolutely no time at all and it’s so easy to do.

Player injuries can be found at about any mainstream sports site on the internet (ESPN, Sportsline…etc). However, if you’re wanting up to the minute injury information as it comes off the wire, I’d recommend Betbubbles, Show Me The Odds, or Pregame (wire alerts on the left side).

Injuries must be accounted for within everyday handicapping activities. They play a very important role and should never be overlooked.

Follow the Weather
Certainly not as important as it is in football, but weather can play a factor in a baseball game, particularly with the total amount of runs scored. Now, I won’t get into humidity or barometric pressure because they really have no affect at game time.

However, the hotter it is outside, the longer the ball will travel. As the point is made in Betting Baseball 2009 by Hank Myers and Michael Murray, “hot days lead to more runs.” They suggest, as do I, that it’s a good idea to add 1/2 a run to your total when it’s over 90 degrees and take 1/2 a run off your total when it’s less than 55 degrees.

Also within the book, they have a very interesting chart that I’ll outline here (giving them full credit, of course). It states that games with a game time temperature of greater than 90 degrees average 11.2 runs/game, between 80-89 average 10.3, between 70-79 average 10.0, between 56-69 average 9.4, and below 56 average 8.9.

That is very telling information. However, full disclosure, I have not verified it, so I cannot say that it is 100% accurate or from what years the data is taken.

The other important factor as far as weather goes, is wind speed and direction. This is essential information to know and it takes a matter of seconds to figure out (Show Me The Odds has a really nice weather feature). Wind speed cannot only be a factor in how far a ball goes, but it can also have a major effect on off speed pitches.

Be aware of the weather in your baseball handicapping because it’ll save you and make you money over the long term. You don’t have to be a meteorologist, but just take a few minutes every day.

Good Pitching vs. Good Hitting
Because starting pitchers play such a prominent role in how the line is established, many bettors only look at pitching when it comes to handicapping the game. Rather than just comparing the two starting pitchers, it’s much more important to compare how the pitchers stack up against the hitters they’re going to facing.

Some pitchers, no matter how good or bad they’re pitching, tend to pitch very well or very poorly against certain opponents. In your baseball handicapping, you must take this into consideration.

Don’t get blinded by how the starters have fared against different teams, but rather how they stack up against the lineup they’ll actually be facing that day. Focus on this piece of baseball handicapping advice and I can assure you that you’ll save money by passing on plays that don’t look quite as good as they did at first glance.

However, you’ll also find plays that are much stronger than how they looked at first glance. Bottom line is to always look at how the pitcher has performed against the team/hitters he is playing.

Baseball Handicapping Wrap Up
Well there you have it, some tips and ideas that you can add to your overall baseball handicapping arsenal. No doubt you’ll learn many more over the years, but these are a good base that you can start with.

As I said earlier, we’re not reinventing the wheel here, but rather giving you some basics that may seem easy, but so many people overlook in their every day handicapping. Take the time because I can assure you these tips will increase your overall win percentage in the long run.

Now that we’ve got these down, let’s dive into some more Baseball Betting Tips in our next chapter. As always, best of luck in all your sports betting


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