Betting on baseball is a bit of a double edged sword. As you probably know if you’re a fan of the game, even the most dominant teams only win a shade over 60% of the time. In fact in living memory the best ever record was 72% when the Seattle Mariners won 116 games in 2001, so its clear that picking a winner in baseball is pretty difficult and there are going to be a lot of ups and downs in your baseball betting career.
Things are made slightly easier by the fact that the star pitchers tend to do a little better. If you take the likes of David Price who might win 20 games in a season, and then add on a few more victories to account for the times when the winning run is scored after he leaves the game, you expect the Red Sox to win about 23 times out of the 35 or so games where Price takes the mound, good for 65% or basically two-out-of-three.
The other side of the sword is that despite the inevitable losses, there are 10-15 baseball games on virtually every single day from the start of April to the end of September, so if you’re good at what you do and know the games, your downswings won’t last long and your luck will even out over the course of the season. Poker players will tell you that the more hands they play, the happier they are because it means the luck involved in individual hands becomes less significant, and their skill shines through in the long run.
There aren’t too many sports where you get over 1,000 games to bet on every year!
Succeeding at Baseball Betting
The key to success at betting on sports is research. Thankfully these days there are a myriad of sites that store baseball statistics, and they’re ready to be used by you. You can really go into as much detail as you want to when researching baseball games, and if you want to be a winner then you’ll have to be pretty comprehensive, as you can be sure that the sportsbook baseball specialists will be doing their own research. It’s too easy to just look at the win/loss ratio or each starting pitcher, or their ERA and try to decide who has a better chance to win based on these.
If you really want to get an edge, go and see how good their careers numbers at the stadium the game is on in, go through the opposition lineup and see how they’ve fared in past at-bats. Maybe Albert Pujols is only batting .104 with no homers and 5 strikeouts against them. Check how many pitches they threw in their last outing to see if fatigue might be an issue and if the manager might have to go to the bullpen early.
Beyond the starting pitcher, take a look at the bullpens. Remember, almost 1/3 of runs in baseball are allowed by relief pitching, so you can’t overlook their importance particularly in a close game, so go and check the box scores for the past week and see how much use the ‘pen has gotten. Check how the closers are doing. Have they had a run of blown saves that means their confidence is shot?
Beyond individual games, you should try and keep records every day of what price the sportsbooks were offering, or what handicaps they were offering and look back to see if they were right or wrong. Over the course of the season you might see that they tend to offer to big of a spread in Yankees games and their opponents often beat it. This will make you a lot of money if you spot a pattern.
Another important factor in baseball betting success is your bankroll. As I said, swings in baseball betting are fierce and if you’re not careful you have a pretty good chance of busting your bankroll. I’d recommend never risking more than 2% of your account on any one bet if you’re serious about baseball betting. That means if you have $100 in your account, you should only risk $2 at a time, until your account builds up to the points where you have $150 and might risk $3, and so on. Remember that you always want to get the best odds when you’re betting too. This should never be overlooked!
Baseball Betting Markets
Aside from the old ‘Who Will Win?’ and Handicap markets, sportsbooks offer a vast array of other bets you can make on every game nowadays. You can bet on whether you think there’ll be a hit in the first inning, or which team you think will be ahead after 4 1/2 innings, or the total runs that will be scored in the game, as well as up to 50 other markets. There’s a good possibility that you’ll be able to find several markets every day where the bookie is offering pretty good value and if you can identify them you stand a good chance to make a profit, and you’ll find that baseball is one of the best sports to bet on.