Becoming a baseball handicapper that makes money takes time, patience and lots of work. We’re going to share 10 of the top tips for betting baseball that’ll help you with becoming a more consistent winner. If you’re just learning how to bet on baseball make sure you read our betting guides before diving into the tips below because you need a basic understanding of how to bet on baseball before you’ll be able to utilize these baseball betting tips.
• #1 – Shop for the Best MLB Lines
Lots of smaller bookmakers offer the standard $.20 line on MLB moneylines and totals. We’ve listed the best reduced juice MLB bookmakers in here going into detail about what a dime line and nickel line is. Any bettor not betting dime lines or nickel lines are losing money, as there are enough safe sportsbooks offering reduced juice MLB lines. The savings from betting on low juiced lines is massive at the end of the season and can instantly add 5%+ to your overall profits.
• #2 – Try Betting More Underdogs
In MLB it’s important to bet on underdogs as much as possible and to also avoid betting on huge favourites. When you bet on big favourites you need to win a big percentage of your games. If you bet on underdogs exclusively or at least most of the time you won’t even need to win 50% of your bets to make a profit. Last year (2011) the best regular season record was 104-63 (Philly) and the worst record was 56-106 (Astros). Even the worst teams win 60-odd games every season, so picking underdogs is an ideal strategy to make sure you don’t need to win a huge percentage of your bets.
• #3 – Bankroll Management is More Important Than You Imagine
The golden rule in baseball is that you should bet 2% of your bankroll maximum on a single bet. Some handicappers use a unit system where they will sometimes have a bigger bet, but any bet above 2% of your bankroll should happen rarely. You may be tempted to bet more than 2% of your bankroll when you’re winning, but remember that you can lose the money as fast or even faster than you made the money. Baseball is a sport of streaks and you need to be able to ride the variance involved in betting on a sport such as baseball, as there will be times you can’t seem to hit anything.
• #4 – Pitchers Are Your Friend & Worst Enemy
You need to follow starting pitching on a daily basis throughout the season. Some pitchers will have seasons where they’re either lights out or horrendous, but most of the time pitchers are very streaky throughout the season. Understand that you’ll pay a premium betting on the good starting pitchers, but it’s usually worth it. Apart from looking at season stats make sure you look at how the pitcher has done against the team in the past few years, as some pitchers struggle in certain ballparks or against certain baseball teams. Also look for undervalued pitchers that aren’t getting enough respect when looking for underdogs.
• #5 – Starting Pitchers Don’t Win Games on Their Own
There is no doubt that starting pitchers are the most important player on the baseball field every game. However, you can’t just bet on games based on looking at the starting pitching or else you’ll be in trouble. You need to handicap the bullpens and hitters of each team before placing a bet. With hitting you want to look at recent stats from the past 3, 5 or 10 games to determine how the team is hitting currently. You also want to look at how the hitters have done historically against the starting pitcher. One thing to consider with bullpens is how much work they’ve put in the last few games, as bullpens can get tired and wear out.
• #6 – Don’t Bet Parlays
Everyone I know that bets casually always talks about how they have a 10-gamer or some huge parlay that they bet. You should never bet more than 2-3 games at the very most on parlays although you should avoid them altogether. You should just bet each game separately. If you bet a 4-game parlay and win 3 games you lose money on a parlay, but if you bet each game separately you’d be 3-1 and have a tidy profit for the night.
• #7 – Look at the Umpires, Ballparks & Weather
These three factors will tell you a lot about how a baseball game will transpire. Umpires can affect a game and many bettors use umpire stats to determine if the umpire has a preference towards the over/under or home/away team. Ballparks vary in size so understanding what ballparks are hitters parks and pitchers parks is important. Some ballparks have roofs and when the roof is done the ball tends to fly a lot further. You also need to know what the weather will be like and if there is going to be any wind that will help/prevent the baseball from travelling in the air.
• #8 – Learn the Basics of Baseball Sabermetrics
While most handicappers look at basic stats like a pitcher’s ERA and a batter’s AVG, serious handicappers are busy using the latest sabermetrics to help handicap games. Some of the commonly used sabermetric stats include WHIP, WAR, TPR, OPS, ERA+, Runs Created, DIPS, EqA and BABIP. Our article on how to use sabermetrics goes into more detail on each of these stats
• #9 – Learn to be Disciplined
Part of being disciplined is managing your bankroll like we talked about above. However, discipline goes far beyond managing your bankroll and it’s important you’re disciplined or else you’ll most likely go broke. Never chase losses in MLB. Games are spread out throughout the day/night most days and it’s easy to chase early losses on games you don’t even want to wager on in the first place. You also need to be disciplined enough to not bet huge favourites (Locks) or parlays with lots of games.
• #10 – Learn the Types of Bets in Baseball
Often times I’ll wager on a prop bet or another type of bet before a moneyline. Predicting how a team will perform day in and day out over the course of a full game is difficult. You should always look for value betting on the 1st 5 innings or betting on the 1st inning props such as whether or not a run will be scored. Often these 1st inning bets are juiced pretty high (-130/-150 Range), but with two solid pitchers and two poor hitting teams this type of bet can be profitable. There aren’t many types of MLB bets to remember and once you gain some experience handicapping games on a daily basis you’ll remember them quickly.