Baseball is here and with it comes a marathon race between bookies and bettors from April to October. Betting on MLB action is a grind, with a huge board of options each and every day. That means baseball bettors must approach the season unlike other sports, such as football or basketball, thinking more about long-term results.
If you’re looking to do some damage on the diamond this spring, summer, and fall, here are some handy tips and tactics to follow to make sure you don’t strikeout at the sportsbook.
A money management system is just good practice for any sport you’re betting on. However, it’s most important during baseball season. With teams playing six out of seven days a week, bettors have to make sure they aren’t blowing their bankroll in the first month of the schedule.
Regardless of the size of your bankroll, MLB bettors will want to limit their individual wagers to between 1 and 5 percent of that total amount. For example: a player with a bankroll of $5,000 should wager between $50 and $250 on single games – depending on how confident they are in that particular wager. If you’ve done your homework and feel good about a bet, wager 3-5 percent. If you aren’t so sure, limit the play to 1-2 percent.
After you figure out your bet size, you’ll want to be very picky about which games you wish to wager on. With up to 15 games to choose from on the board most days, you’ll want to narrow down the slate to a select few. Set a bet limit and stay within in.
One of the worst things about betting on baseball is that you can handicap a game to perfection, and see everything fall into place for seven or eight innings, then have the bullpen blow it all up. There’s nothing more frustrating than have relievers ruin what should be a winner.
Due to that, most sportsbooks offer odds for online gambling on the first five innings of a game – effectively taking the bullpen out of the equation and just leaving you to worry about the starting pitchers. Five-inning odds do come with some adjusted juice, making them a bit pricier, but those extra cents on the line are worth the peace of mind – especially when betting on teams with bad bullpens.
One of the most undervalued factors in MLB handicapping is understanding the home plate umpire. This is the guy calling the balls and strikes, and umpires are all different. Some umps have a broader strike zone, which gives the advantage to the pitcher – and therefor the Under as well – while other umps squeeze the strike zone and force pitchers to be pin-point accurate, which can lead to bad pitches and more runs – giving value to the Over. You can even find some umpires who lean – perhaps unconsciously – toward the home or away team or call certain clubs or starters different than others.
When it comes to outdoor ballparks, bettors should know what the weather forecast is for game time. Some major league stadiums change drastically depending on the wind direction and strength, such as Wrigley Field and Yankee Stadium, turning would-be fly balls into home runs or keeping deep shots inside the park. Baseball bettors will also want to cross check the starting pitchers with the wind conditions as well. A fly-ball pitcher playing with gusts blowing towards the outfield could be bad news, while ground-ball pitchers aren’t impacted as much by strong winds. Heat and humidity can also play a role in how a ball carries, especially once the schedule roles into August and September in places like Texas.