12 MLB Handicapping Betting Tips from Expert Baseball Handicappers
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 handicappers employ a variety of strategies to beat the books on the diamond. But one thing that they all agree on is that baseball betting is a treasure trove for intrepid gamblers. Here are 12 MLB handicapping tips from some of the best in the business:
DOC’S SPORTS - Look for extreme weather early on and also late in the season. There are always some extremely cold-weather games in early April and then again in October, which is a shock to the players after Spring Training in Arizona or Florida or after playing all summer. Cold weather 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.
ROBERT FERRINGO - My top pieces of early-season betting advice are to play momentum and motivation. Look, it’s a long season. Even bad teams are capable of throwing together some winning streaks or capable of stealing some series. When teams get hot, 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.
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.
ALLEN EASTMAN - Pitching, pitching, pitching! Baseball betting is all about pitching. So, to have baseball betting success you need to pay attention to how pitchers are throwing. There are some guys that are notoriously slow starters and some guys that usually get off to great starts. Over the course of the season, the cream is going to rise to the top. If a really good, established pitcher has a terrible start or two, then you know they are going to bounce back. And if a weak starter has a great game, you should look to bet against him the next time out. It is all about pitching in MLB betting so that is where your focus should be.
ARUN SHIVA - One of the things that I always look for is a good pitcher coming off a bad start. If a top tier starter is coming off a terrible start where they have given up six, seven or eight runs, you can always expect them to rebound in their next outing. These guys are great pitchers and pros for a reason. They can and will make adjustments and you can usually find great value on these motivated starters the next time they take the mound.
STRIKE POINT SPORTS - Paying attention to travel schedules is crucial to MLB betting. These players are human. They play so many games, and that can wear on a team. Two things that we always look for are road trips that involve three or more cities. We like to bet against teams playing their last game of one of these long road trips, because they usually can’t wait to get home. Also, we like to play against those teams in their first home game after a long trip. It can be a tough adjustment, and that is a prime letdown spot. The schedule is important and needs to be considered.
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 for 4-5 teams are heavy-bet teams no matter how their team is. You can get good value fading those public teams with their fourth or fifth starting pitcher.
VERNON CROY - One of my favorite MLB betting tips I can give you is to look for a good pitcher coming off a bad start, since there is normally very good value with that pitcher in his next start. You can make a list of the Top 20 starters in baseball, and when one of those starters has a bad outing, which will almost always happen at some point in the season, look for them to bounce back in their very next start. Good pitchers almost always bounce back after a bad outing, and we can normally get better odds because of the bad outing. Obviously, do your due diligence as this is just one factor in making an MLB selection. Look at factors like how the pitcher has done against the team he faces in the past, and make sure you check the injury report as well. Hopefully this MLB tip helps you this season.
TONY GEORGE - Many times when a great starter with an ERA in the 2s, or even less, is starting a game against an average opponent, you can get that team for less than -130 on moneyline. Handicap the last 5 game Bullpen ERA, and you may a find in the last 5 games the bullpen ERA is 5 or above. in other words, there is a danger of that bullpen giving up some runs late. While the other starter may have a high ERA, you are betting against with your starter, you see that team’s bullpen ERA of 2 or less in recent form or something along those lines. This is the time when you bet the first 5 innings in this scenario and take the bullpen out of it on your side of the wager. Your starter does his thing, usually all starters go 5 or 6 innings if in good form, so you take a risky bullpen out of it. You may pay a slightly higher price on the first 5 innings, but you take the risk out of your wager with a bad bullpen.
SCOTT SPREITZER - The first piece of advice I have when it comes to betting bases -- search for a house that offers a dime line (10-cent line). Always look to put more value on your side and less in the hands for the books. By doing so you decrease the house edge, and in baseball this adds up over the course of a season. Look to play against pitchers with a high walk to 9 IP ratio if they're off at least 3 straight team wins in their previous 3 starts. It's only a matter of time before a pitcher with control issues hits the skids and off a couple of wins, you'll be getting a decent price when things come tumbling down. Look to bet totals. Start handicapping totals in reverse, beginning with bullpens. You'll eventually get to the starting pitchers. And one key with Over/Under bets, do not forget to include the home-plate ump in your handicap. Some umps have wider strike zones than others and you can use it to your advantage. There's a reason betting limits are lower on totals than sides. Put it to work for you and your betting bankroll.
DOUG UPSTONE - Though baseball has nearly twice as many games as hockey, the two sports share one common characteristic, they offer longer winning and losing streaks where you can jump on and ride. You are not going to catch every wave, but they bare watching. What do I consider a streak? It starts with winning four in a row. However, it has to be a very specific four. Any team can sweep another in a three-game series. A better indicator is winning or losing the last two games of one series and the first two of the next. Next, take a strong look at Game 5 and see if it matches your criteria. Stay on the streak till it ends. But don’t give up entirely at this point. If a team wins six straight, loses, watch for results in Game 8, and if they win, they are 7-1 and it is not uncommon for a team to win nine of 11 or 10 of 12. The same applies to losing. Keep your betting eye open for opportunities.
AUGUST YOUNG - Look to back the worst teams (sub 40%) as underdogs on the run-line vs. winning teams in the last few months of the season. When taking these teams +1.5 in October and September, you would have profited +5,224 since 2010 along with a 7.5% ROI. The price is often inflated on the winning team as the oddsmakers know the action will come in on the 'better' team vs. a team with nothing to play for. I would also recommend ignoring the obvious starting pitcher statistics which are easily quantified such as ERA, BB% and K%. Looking towards more predictive metrics such as xERA, WOBA and xWOBA is a better bet.