Sports Betting Insights: Betting on the Second Half of the MLB Season
by Dave Schwab - 7/16/2014
Major League Baseball's All-Star Game marks the official separation between the first half of the regular season and the start of an extended stretch run to the playoffs. For anyone who likes to wager on MLB, it also marks a slight change in how you have to handicap the games.
The basic fundamentals that go into handicapping MLB matchups will always remain the same, but heading into the second half the season, there is a distinct change in the overall mindset of teams that consider themselves contenders as opposed to teams that are content to ride out the string.
The first thing you have to pay close attention to is the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Contending teams will be 'buyers' over the next few weeks in hopes of adding the one or two missing pieces that will hopefully put them over the top in their respective division race. The non-contending teams are obviously the 'sellers' that are looking to unload some high-priced contracts in an effort to start rebuilding for next season. The majority of these transactions will involve pitchers, which in turn will have a direct impact on handicapping the games.
Once the smoke clears from any player trades that do take place, it's a good time to reevaluate a team's starting rotation as well as its overall bullpen. MLB betting moneylines are heavily influenced by pitching, especially when it comes to starters. What you really want to look for is lopsided matchups between a contending team's ace or second-best starter facing a non-contender's third or fourth starter in their rotation. The oddsmakers will adjust the moneylines accordingly, but you may be able to still find some solid value in a run line bet.
The other thing that you need to take into consideration is a team's motivation in any particular matchup. This tends to be more of a factor in the first game of any new series. Contenders that are playing well love to get off to a fast start by winning that first game, especially when playing at home. The overall motivation for a team riding out the string is already pretty low, but it becomes extremely hard to get up for a game in a new city on an extended road trip. The ideal matchup in a Game 1 scenario is a contending home team facing a non-contending road team that had to play the night before in a different ball park.
There are also opportunities in the final game of any series. In this case you want to focus on a contending team that may have lost one or two of the earlier games to a non-contender and now suddenly find themselves in need of a win to salvage a spit or avoid a sweep. Even though the MLB season is 162 games long, at this time of the year an extra victory here or there can be crucial to a team's playoff chances, so these type of games almost become must-wins for the contending team.
Betting on Europeans in The Open Championship
Professional golf's third major of the year takes place this week with start of The Open Championship this Thursday at Royal Liverpool G.C. in England. When it comes to wagering on a winner for this event, conventional wisdom may draw you to narrowing the field down to the Europeans in the field that have a wealth of experience competing in the brutal weather conditions that go hand-in-hand with this event. These players have a perceived edge because of their ability to play well in rain and wind on a wide-open links-style course.
Looking back at the list of winners in The Open Championship, this theory has some serious holes. The last time a European player actually won was Darren Clarke from Northern Ireland in 2011. Since 2000, there have been just two different winners from Europe with the addition of Padraig Harrington's back-to-back victories in 2007 and 2008. He just so happens to be from Ireland, so you might want to narrow your field down to the golfers that hail from the Emerald Isle if you are still looking to bet on a European player to win this week.
Read more articles by Dave Schwab
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