After seven months of betting on sports like football and basketball, where point spreads mean that even strong wagers can turn into losses thanks to fluke backdoor beats, the coming of Spring and Major League Baseball are like a breath of fresh air for gamblers. Instead of worrying about beating a number, sports bettors "only" have to worry about picking winners in this moneyline sport.
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Every one of our MLB handicappers has a different style, but all have enjoyed vast success in professional baseball betting. Our 10 handicappers employ a variety of strategies to beat the books on the diamond. But one thing that they all agree on is that early-season baseball betting is a treasure trove for intrepid gamblers.
April and May MLB betting is one of the best times of the year to beat the sportsbooks for people that know what they are doing. Here are 10 MLB handicapping tips from some of the best in the business:
1. DOC'S SPORTS - Look for extreme weather early on in the season. There are always some extremely cold weather games in early April, which is a shock to the players after a month-plus in Arizona or Florida. That usually favors the pitchers, and we should see some really low-scoring games as a result. The betting markets will surely adjust, but the totals can only go so low. Look for pitchers who throw extremely hard to dominate in cold weather games in April.
2. ROBERT FERRINGO - My top pieces of early-season betting advice are to play momentum and motivation. Look, it's a whole new season. I know that seems obvious. But the books and most gamblers start the season betting on teams and pitchers based on how they ended last year. But those same teams and players may have entirely unique motivations and situations early in this season. And that's reflected, positively and negatively, in their early-season performance. Also, there are plenty of terrible teams and bad pitchers that can get hot early in the season, and vice versa with good teams playing poorly. Don't fight it. These guys will find their level as the 162-game season progresses. But don't bust yourself betting against hot "bad" teams or betting on cold "good" ones.
3. JASON SHARPE - I think MLB betting is more beatable early on in the season because no other sports betting market reacts slower to offseason news and the early-season results than baseball. I think overall it's a good strategy for sports bettors to try and be proactive when it comes to early-season information and stats, and especially so with baseball. Most of the bigger MLB bettors use computer math models, which strongly believe in having large sample sizes. I think because of all these math model guys the MLB betting market moves very slowly and someone can gain a nice edge by being proactive with the current information.
4. ALLEN EASTMAN - Pitching, pitching, pitching! Baseball betting is all about pitching. So to have early-season success you need to follow pitchers through spring training. Find out who was sharp this spring and who was terrible and then look to bet them accordingly in their early-season starts. Over the course of the season the cream is going to rise to the top. But there are some guys that are notoriously slow starters and some guys that usually get off to great starts. Jered Weaver and James Shields have great April splits. But guys like Rick Porcello, Ubaldo Jimenez and Mike Pelfrey usually get off to terrible starts. Keeping an eye on how these guys do in spring training can give you an idea of whether or not they are ready to go when the season starts.
5. ALAN HARRIS - Don't get caught in a pattern of betting big favorites early on. This may work later in the year if you pick your spots, but early in the season we really don't have a feel for how teams are going to play on a day-by-day basis so looking for nice-sized dogs works well through the first six weeks or so.
6. MIKE DAVIS - A couple of things to keep an eye on during the first couple of weeks are pitch counts and bullpen depth. A team with a great bullpen and great bullpen depth can be tough to beat early in the year. A lot of the best pitchers in the game are on pitch counts during the early part of the season, and bullpens can be huge to the success of the team during that time.
7. INDIAN COWBOY - Money can be made when the public sees something but your analytics clearly tell you something else, which is where the "edge" comes against the books. This is where lines will be the "softest" and where you can take the greatest advantage before lines tighten up and what you knew to be reality well in advance becomes reality for others few weeks or months later.
8. STRIKE POINT SPORTS - Experienced teams with established players can help provide winners because players know their roles whereas teams that are younger are still trying to establish themselves and managers are working on different line ups that will prove to be the most effective.
9. RAPHAEL ESPARZA - Bad teams usually start off poorly. And in some instances the bookmakers haven't figured out how high to make the moneylines for these bad teams for the first couple of months. Betting against the public is a big money maker in baseball. Everybody knows that anywhere from 4-5 teams are heavy-bet teams no matter how their team is. You can get good value by fading those public teams with their fourth or fifth starting pitcher.
10. VERNON CROY - MLB betting is perhaps the best sport to bet period, because there are so many games each day, so there will be some lines that are off on a daily basis. Momentum in MLB goes only as far as your next day starting pitcher. It normally takes the books the first few months of the MLB season to get a real grasp on pitching matchups and to fully evaluate a teams' line-up.
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