With its constant downtime between pitches and between innings, baseball is the perfect candidate for live betting.
But even though you’ll have a little more time to make up your mind live betting baseball than you do in basketball, football or hockey, you still need to be able to pounce quickly when value presents itself. Exploiting the live baseball betting lines is all about staying one step ahead of the oddsmaker, which isn’t necessarily easy but is doable if you are able to anticipate things before they happen.
Here are five tips to help you do exactly that.
One big advantage that you have as a live bettor is your ability to watch the action. While baseball live betting lines are based on computer algorithms that rely completely on statistics and mathematical probabilities, you’re able to place wagers based on what you’re actually seeing on the field.
Why is this an advantage? Because a lot of things that happen over the course of a baseball game can be misleading.
A pitcher can be giving up line drive after line drive but still carry a shutout into the fourth inning because those line drives are being hit directly at fielders. Or a pitcher could be pitching really well, yet find himself trailing on the scoreboard due to a couple of seeing-eye singles and a costly error by one of his fielders.
Both of these cases are examples of where the results in the game to that point are unsustainable and likely to change, something that the computer algorithms aren’t able to take into account. By watching the action, you can recognize the potential for things to happen before they do, and capitalize on favorable odds before they change.
Have you noticed how starting pitchers suddenly aren’t going as deep into ball games? That’s because the increased use of analytics has alerted teams that the more at-bats that a hitter has against a pitcher in a game, the better that hitter’s chances of success are.
In a 2013 article, respected sabermetrician Mitchel Lichtman pointed out the increased wOBA (weighted on-base average) that pitchers allowed every time they went through the batting order, based on nearly 500,000 plate appearances between 1999-2002.
You can take advantage of this on the live betting lines when the game gets to the fourth or fifth inning and the starting pitcher has to face the top of the lineup for the third time. For example, if the game is still relatively low-scoring by that point, an Over bet makes a lot of sense because of the potential for hitters to enjoy more success in their third at-bats.
In most sports, the scoring of goals and points are essentially random events that are difficult to project. For example, the probability of a goal being scored in the 60th minute of a soccer game isn’t much different from the probability of a goal being scored in the 30th minute. The same is true for hockey, football, and basketball games, where scoring is generally spread pretty evenly throughout (other than the last few minutes when the losing teams get more desperate.)
Baseball is different. Only one team can score at any given time (when they’re up to bat), and their chances of scoring runs are heavily influenced by the caliber of hitters who are scheduled to come up to the plate in the upcoming inning. If a team is at the bottom of their order and has its weakest hitters coming to bat, they’re not as likely to start a big rally as they are when their big bashers are scheduled to hit.
When you’re placing a live bet on the moneyline, try to time it so that the team you are betting on has its top players coming up soon and the other team has its weakest part of the lineup hitting next. And if you’re looking to make an Over bet, an ideal time is when both teams have their heavy hitters coming up next, since that’s when they’re most likely to score.
When you bet on a game before it begins, there’s only so much information that you have at your disposal. You know the starting pitching matchup (which is what the odds for the game are heavily based on), each team’s batting lineup and the weather forecast, but you don’t know for sure how long the starting pitchers will last or when the teams will start making substitutions.
When you do live baseball betting, however, you can start to put together the pieces as the game progresses. You can tell when a starting pitcher is tiring and get a sense of when he might get pulled from the game, you can see which relievers are warming up in the bullpen, and you can project when pinch-hitters might come off the bench.
Try to get inside the managers’ heads and anticipate moves before they happen. If a poor pitcher is warming up in the bullpen and is likely to come into the game, it’s a sharp move to bet against his team or on the ‘Over’ before the lines adjust. The same goes for if a team gave their big slugger the day off and you see the potential for him to pinch-hit in a key situation, creating value that the oddsmakers might not account for until he actually enters the game.
Also, make sure you know about the availability of top relievers. Most teams don’t like to use their top pitchers if they’ve already had to pitch several days in a row, so you might be able to take advantage of an inexperienced closer blowing a save. Once again, the live betting odds are based heavily on algorithms and don’t always take these types of factors into account.
It generally pays off to be a contrarian in sports betting, and live betting is no exception. The natural tendency of most bettors is to bet on the team that has the lead since their chances of winning the game are higher. As a result, the greatest value on the live betting lines is typically with the team that is trailing, as oddsmakers have to offer more generous odds in order to generate action on that side.
Don’t be afraid to take a shot on teams who are down by several runs, especially if it’s early in the game and they have a lot of time to catch up. Although it’s true that the team that scores first in baseball wins nearly 70% of the time, the extra value you’ll often get on teams who are trailing still makes it a worthwhile wager. If you’re regularly getting odds of +200 or higher on your live wagers, you can still turn a profit even if you win just 40% of your wagers.
Although baseball is played at a slow pace, the direction of a game can change quickly. So can the live betting odds, which is why it’s important to have some strategies in place in order to take advantage of value before it disappears.
By paying attention to what’s actually happening on the field, being aware of how pitchers struggle going through the lineup for the third time, knowing where each team is in the lineup, projecting which relievers and backups might come into the game and generally being a contrarian, you’ll be able to exploit value on the live betting lines that wasn’t present when the game began.
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