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Baseball Betting Strategy Guide

Baseball Betting Strategy Guide
If you’ve searched around the internet for baseball betting advice, you’ve probably run into a few things. You’ve probably run into some sites that give you such basic information like “Bet the team with the best hitters” that you wish you could have those few minutes of your life back. On the other end of the spectrum, you may have run into some sites that have assumed you’re a mathematician or that you already understand every concept and they hit you with so much jargon and formulas that your head spins, and you learn nothing.

Both of those types of baseball strategy sites are going to be of no help to you. What we’re going to do here is give you quality baseball betting tips that are actually effective in helping you raise your bottom line by winning more bets. But, we’re going to do it in a way that bettors of all skill levels can understand. We’re not going to make assumptions about what you do or don’t know, but we’ll present the concepts in a way that anyone can get some value from it regardless of whether you’re a brand new baseball bettor or an experienced bettor who has been in the game for a while.

Choose a Good Place to Bet

After our big tirade about not giving you “simple” advice, we do need to start off with something simple. Why? Because it’s that important. You need to make sure that you’ve got somewhere to place your baseball bets that’s easy to use, offers a lot of betting flexibility, and is somewhere you can trust.

Here’s what we recommend.

Where do you find the top-rated and most trusted online sportsbooks offering baseball betting action? Just look down, and we’ve got you covered. These are the best of the best, and we work hard to keep this list up to date.

Strategies for Using Baseball Statistics

One of the biggest assets you have at your disposal when betting on baseball is statistics. While your mind and your eyes can lie to you when watching games, the numbers are always going to tell the truth. But, there are a few things that you need to be aware of when breaking down baseball stats.

Rate Stats vs. Counting Stats

One of the best tips when it comes to analyzing baseball stats is to stick to rate stats instead of counting stats. The problem with count stats like RBI, runs, and wins and losses for pitchers is that they are contingent on the rest of the team.

If you’re looking to evaluate a player as an individual, you need to look at stats that do not require someone else to do something or support them to get that done. You can’t get RBIs unless your teammates get on base. If your teammates aren’t doing their job, it’s going to make your stats looks worse here.

Rate stats are statistics that are typically divided by something else. For example, batting average is the number of hits divided by the number of at bats. This statistic has nothing to do with how the other players on their team are playing. The rest of the team could be playing horrendously, but that won’t have any effect on the player’s batting average which makes this a much more useful statistic to determine their abilities.

On Base Percentage Instead of Batting Average

Is batting average the best statistic to look at, though? Well, a lot of experts say that on-base percentage is a much stronger stat to look at based on how it is calculated. Batting average is the number of hits divided by the number of at-bats. But, the problem here is that at-bats don’t account for walks, batters hit by the pitch, or sacrifices.

On base percentage, on the other hand, uses what are known as plate appearances. Plate appearances refer to every single time that a player comes up to the plate. The only exceptions to this are if a runner is thrown out to end the inning while they are at the plate or if the game winning run scores on a balk, wild pitch, or passed ball.

This is the reason that plate appearances and not at bats are used when computing which player wins the batting title every year. Players that get hit a lot or are walked often (when pitchers don’t want to pitch to them) will have skewed batting averages because these aren’t accounted for. But, when you utilize plate appearances, this is factored into the equation.

Don’t Get Carried Away With Batting Average With Runners in Scoring Position

One of the baseball statistics that people often get carried away with is the batting average with runners in scoring position. For some reason, people feel that batters bat differently when they have runners in scoring position. While it is true that these are much more important times for a batter, there really is no explanation as to why they would hit any differently than if they had no batters on base.

Additionally, statistics show that if a batter is hitting better with runners in scoring position one year, they typically will bounce back the other direction and the stats will even out. Basically, this is one of those stats that may seem important but really isn’t.

Understand the Smaller Betting Markets Effects

There are well over 2000+ baseball games during the regular season. More accurately, there are 2,430 with the current schedule. A lot of these games also fall on weekdays and during the day. Because there are so many games and games not in primetime, the amount bet on each game is typically going to be lower.

What does this mean for you as a baseball bettor? It means that the betting lines are going to be much more volatile. When there is a ton of money bet on a game, another large bet isn’t going to shift the line that much. But, when there really isn’t that much money (relatively) bet on a game, it doesn’t take that much to move the line.

This means that leading up to a baseball game, you can expect to see a lot more swings in the betting lines than you would in a lot of other sports. This is less true of primetime games, big matchups, or post-season games, but during the regular season, it is true. This means that you’re going to want to spend a lot more time trying to decide when you want to bet, figuring out how you think the line is going to move, and shopping for the best lines (which we will cover later).

These are things that are important in any sport that you bet, but they become much more important when you’re betting baseball games. Making the right pick is only part of the equation. Making sure that you’re getting the maximum profit on every right pick is crucial to being profitable in the long term.

Take Account of the Weather

Even though baseball games are not played in the rain, the weather is still important to take into account when making your baseball bets. More specifically, you should be taking a look at the wind speed and wind direction where the game is being played if you’re betting totals bets.

If the wind is blowing in (from the outfield towards home plate), you can expect that a lot of balls that would normally be home runs are going to be outs on the warning track. If the wind is blowing the opposite direction (from home plate towards the outfield), balls are going to sail a little bit further which means balls that would normally be outs are now going to be home runs.

The first scenario is going to favor the under and the second scenario is going to favor the over. While this may be factored into the line already, there may be situations where it is not and can help you to make a close decision one way or the other.

Know Who is Behind the Plate

This is a baseball betting tip that is only going to be a small factor in your predictions, but it’s one that warrants at least a quick look in case there is something there worthwhile. You should take some time and look up who the umpire behind the plate is going to be in the game. While all umpires try their best to call everything the same and by the book, that is just not the case. Some umpires have tendencies and predictable behavior that might make an impact on your bets.

For example, if an umpire has a tendency to have a wider strike zone, you might give a small advantage to the pitching and defensive side of the game. If the umpire has a tighter strike zone with left-handed batters, you might look to see how many lefties are on a team and see if you can find a small edge one way or the other.

Again, we want to make sure that it’s clear that this is not something you’re going to be basing any of your baseball bets on. It should never be the basis of a bet, but it can be something that helps in your predictions. Sometimes sports betting is about finding small edges especially when the lines are tight.

Shop for the Best Baseball Lines

We’ve mentioned it several times in the guide already, but we’re ready to address it now. When it comes to betting on baseball, you have to be willing to take the time to shop your betting lines. What does that mean? It’s nothing more than taking a few minutes to check a couple different sportsbooks to see what odds they are offering on the bets that you want to make.

Because sportsbooks want to balance their action, they are going to sometimes offer different lines on the exact same bets. With baseball, because the betting market on individual games is typically smaller, the lines are going to be more volatile which means a lot more movement and a lot more variation in lines from sportsbook to sportsbook.

This means that you have to be willing to take the time to find the best line for each individual baseball bet that you want to make. If one sportsbook is willing to pay you more money for the exact same bet, then you have to be ready to take advantage of that. It only takes a few minutes or less to shop your lines, so make sure you’re doing it.

Two quick things that we want to make sure are clear before we move on. One, you don’t need to shop at more than a couple of online sportsbooks. Two or three books is plenty to make sure you’re getting the best odds. You could get some additional value from time to time by checking more books, but it’s probably negligible.

Two, make sure that you’re only shopping at reputable online sportsbooks. You should never place a bet with a sportsbook you don’t trust just to get some better odds on a bet. Risking the safety of your money or personal information is not worth a few extra points on a bet.

Study the Pitchers

If you’ve ever seen what the betting line does when a team switches out pitchers, you probably have already realized how big of an impact they have on the outcome of a game. If they weren’t that important, you wouldn’t see such a drastic change in the lines. Because of this, you should really be spending a lot of your time (potentially the bulk of it) researching the pitchers playing in the game.

Starting Pitchers

The first place you’re going to want to start is the starting pitchers. Break down their past performances and how they do against certain types of teams and batters. Try and draw a conclusion that gives you a strong idea of how each team will fare against them as well as how long you think they’re going to be in the game for. Additionally, there are a ton of statistics on pitchers that you should get familiar with.

If you have a particularly strong feeling about a starting pitcher but not as strong about their bullpen, you could look into making a first five innings bet. This is a wager that only counts the first five innings and then is finished with whoever is leading after the end of the 5th.

The Freshness of the Bullpen

Most starting pitchers are not going to last the entire game especially if they give up some hits or have some long at bats. This means, as you probably already know, that the bullpen is going to be called on to close out the game. You should have a very firm grasp on the quality of a team’s bullpen, who they like to play when, who they are likely to play in the game you are going to bet, and how fresh the bullpen is.

If a team has a few games where their starters are struggling, they may end up with a very tired bullpen where they’ll have to pitch a tired pitcher or go to someone who is not that strong of a closer. You need to be 100% aware of all of this before you make any sort of bet. To be honest, you should be so on top of the bullpen that it’s almost like you’re the pitching coach yourself.

Action vs. No-Action

Make sure that when you’re making your baseball bets, you understand the different options of action or no action. After you select a baseball bet, you will usually be prompted with four different choices. Let’s say there is an upcoming game and the starting pitcher for the first team is Mike Jones and the pitcher for the second team is Mark Smith. Yes, we made those names up. These are the four options you will have.

What these options have to do with is whether you want your bet to be live or not depending on who the starting pitchers are. At times before a baseball game, pitchers will get changed out for one reason or another. We’ve already talked about what a big impact this can have on a game.

The first option with both pitchers names means that your bet will only be live if both scheduled starting pitchers start. If one or both of them are switched out, your bet is refunded to you. This is the ideal choice as your betting picks should be heavily dependent on who is on the mount.

The second option means the bet is live as long as Jones starts. If Mark Smith is replaced, your bet is still live. The third option is the same thing, but the opposite. There will be some instances where you select this option if you are confident in one pitcher beating literally anyone else that the other team could start.

The last option means you will have action on the game no matter who starts on the mound for either team. There really should be no instances where you select this option unless you are betting solely for the purpose of entertainment.

Vs. What Kind of Hitters

Make sure you break down each pitcher based on how they pitch against different types of batters. The simplest place to start is by breaking down how they do against right and left-handed batters. When you get a good grasp on who they excel against and who they struggle with, you can compare that to the lineup of the team they’re going to be playing against. If there is a disparity in batters the excel or struggle against, you can find edges for and against them.

Putting It All Together

We’ve covered quite a bit here today, and your head is probably spinning. To help, we wanted to take a minute and tie everything together for you. You see, it’s easy to take one piece of the puzzle and get carried away with it when you’re betting on baseball. But, the key to being successful is taking a full picture of everything including all of the small pieces and molding them together to make one solid prediction.

The best way to go about this is to start with the big picture. What are the implications of the game? What’s the weather like? Who are the starters and who is injured? Are there any other external factors that might play a role in the outcome of this baseball game?

Once you have the big picture stuff down, start working on some of the smaller details. By starting with the bigger picture, you ensure that you’re not going to miss anything that might have an impact on the littler things that you’re going to look at.

With the smaller details, we recommend starting with the pitching. Start with the starters and the bullpen to get a good idea of who is on the mound for both squads and who is inline and rested to come in and relieve them when their time on the mound is done. Once you have a good grasp of the pitchers, start breaking down how they’re going to mix with the batting lineups of the opposing team. This is where you’re really going to start to be able to find edges one way or the other.

Once you finish here, start looking at the defensive abilities of the team. How great are they at fielding? Will they be helping or hurting the pitcher on the mound? Do they employ any shifts or interesting tactics to try and negate the other team’s offense that might be effective or ineffective?

Once you’ve done all of that, you should have a pretty good idea as to how the game is going to go. Take a few minutes and look for any other small details that might fit into the equation. Once you’re done with that, you should have a prediction of exactly how you think the game is going to go. Take that information and start looking for bets that would match up with. Did you predict one team to win by more than two runs? Maybe you should make a run line bet. Are you not sure about who is going to win but you predicted a ton of runs? You might want to make an over bet.

Once you pick out your bets, it’s time to go line shopping and see where you can get the best odds. If you don’t find any odds that you find appealing or you think have value, then don’t make a bet. But, if you find odds that you like and find appealing, then go for it and hopefully you win big! Following the process we just laid out will help you to stay focused and help to prevent you from missing anything by getting out of order.