MLB Wagering Strategies
Howard Bender offers up some strategies to think about when it comes to wagering on MLB baseball games.
Wagering on baseball can be a tricky proposition. Let’s dive into a few of the important notes that apply to betting on MLB.
First things first, set a bankroll for the season. This will be the total amount of money you will use for wagering all year. You need to be disciplined with this amount and understand that, for better or worse, this is disposable income you won’t need in order to pay your rent. Look at it as a hobby and, especially if this is your first time wagering to make money, treat it as if you were making any other investment. There will be time spent in making it grow and it will not be easy. You can have success for sure, provided you stay within your means.
There are two schools of thought when wagering every day on baseball. Some feel that betting on baseball in April is unwise, as most teams have the hope and belief they can get to the World Series. Obviously, as the calendar turns, the realities of the game set in, but April can be very difficult and disappointing to even the experts who feel they know the game well.
On the flip side, others feel April is a great month for underdog betting because, often times, you will see teams that may potentially lose 100 games, actually win several in the month of April before the steep decline. In this way you’ll need to look at the individual match-ups and not just blindly bet underdogs.
The most important factor in betting on baseball is clearly the money line. When betting on favorites, the rule of thumb needs to be risk-aversion. Regardless of how good the match-up is, betting on a favorite of -130 or more will drain your bankroll. Consider that losing -- a bet where the favorite LOSES is you risking 150 to win 100. Essentially this is like losing a bet and a half. Be very wary of betting big favorites with frequency or be prepared to reload your account.
Simply betting on underdogs is not as risky, considering that, if you can identify value in a pitcher or lineup on any given night based on data, your chances of sustained success are much greater. This would be risking 100 to win 150. The recommendation is always a mix of underdogs and favorites based on the data that MLB provides which is more readily available than most of the major sports.
There is also something to be said for letting “The Trend be Your Friend” when betting on baseball. The game runs hot and cold; so do the players. This really applies more to the implied total for both teams. For example, if the Athletics have gone over their implied total several times in a row, it is not completely outrageous to ride that wave until it breaks. The key, obviously, is jumping in at the right time, which you’ll really need to study the data, batter versus pitcher stats, in particular, to see if the hot or cold streak can be sustained based on the opposition’s starting pitcher and bullpen.
Speaking of starting pitchers, I cannot stress enough, the ability to wager on starting pitchers instead of the full game if you have an online account. Major league bullpens are extremely volatile and the first five-innings wagers contribute to a much more predictable outcome on a consistent basis.
Also, to dive in on the run line here (betting a full game -1.5 runs or +1.5 runs) remember that if you are going to side with the favorite on this, always take the ROAD team. Why? As the road team, the hitters have another opportunity to score runs and enable the club to win by 2 or more. If you wager on the home team -1.5 runs and the team is up two, a meaningless run can come across and ruin your bet. You want the full complement of at-bats from your hitters to produce the most runs, and you are eliminating that opportunity by taking the home team who would not bat in the bottom of the ninth with any kind of lead.
Finally, you should treat September baseball as you do April. There is so much uncertainty with young players and pitchers, the percentage of your bankroll you use on a game-by-game basis should be decreased. Then again, if you feel you have a good handle on prospects and players who are virtually unknown to most, then perhaps September is the month for you.
Hope these tips are helpful!