MLB Betting Tips: How Weather Plays into Handicapping Baseball
The MLB Season is often described as a marathon, not a sprint. Not only do payers and teams go through the ups and downs of the regular season, but handicappers often fare the same way. Baseball lasts over seven months and has 4,860 regular-season games to wager on, which means it's vital that you pick the right spots. These so-called "right spots" can include games where the team doesn't fare well against lefties, day/night splits, road/home splits, returning home from a lengthy road trip, and every other angle you can think of. Perhaps the most important "spot" to handicap is how the weather might play a factor in determining the outcome.
There are four main weather factors that should be looked at when handicapping baseball - regardless of what month of the season we are in.
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If rain is in the forecast, you are likely going to be disappointed by a rain delay. Rain delays can last as little as 10 minutes or as long as three hours. There is nothing worse than having your spot all picked out only to be interrupted by mother nature. Unfortunately, MLB rules provide little guidance on rain delays beyond weather or field conditions. Sometimes a game will be halted with light rain and lightning in the distance (system moving in), and sometimes teams will try to soldier on through as much of the game as they can. In general, umpires are encouraged to try and complete all games if at all possible. This is why we are sometimes subjected to three-hour rain delays.
For those who aren't aware, a game is official after 5 ½ innings of action except as all baseball bettors know, that rule doesn't apply to totals. MLB Totals aren't official until nine innings of action or 8 ½ innings if the home team is ahead.
If the forecast calls for rain - light, hard, periodic or chance of showers, it would be best to look elsewhere and save yourself the disappointment of a delayed, canceled or postponed game.
We all know about the wind and Wrigley Field. Then the wind is blowing out, the totals are almost always released around 9.5 or 10. When the wind is blowing in, the totals are much lower, and with good reason. However, while the wind is arguably the most important weather factor to consider when betting MBL games, it's not the only factor you should base your bet on. If the wind is public knowledge to anybody looking to get down on an MLB game, you can bet your butt that the oddsmakers also know about the wind situation and as such will already factor that into the total that they release to the betting public. It should also be noted that the wind direction and wind velocity can change in a split second with no regard for your bet. Something else to keep in mind when factoring in the wind situation is who is on the mound for either team. If you think the wind is going to help push the game over the total because it's blowing directly out of the ballpark, but you have two extremely good ground ball pitchers on the mound, that's likely going to be a losing bet. Ground ball pitchers aren't as affected by the wind as fly ball pitchers, so that's another layer to add into the handicapping mix.
This is one of the least important factors to consider, but it should be talked about, nonetheless. Humidity can affect the ball's travel and similar to the wind can play a role in determining the outcome of a game both on the moneyline and total. Generally speaking, a baseball will travel greater distances in low-humidity conditions (dry air). It shouldn't be the only reason you make a bet on a particular game, but why do you think Coors Field is a hitter paradise? It's not the dimensions of the field (although that helps), it's the dry air up in the altitude of the Rocky Mountains. Factor this in, but not to the point where you are refreshing the weather network every 45 seconds.
The sun itself isn't a problem for MBL players. It's when you mix in some cloud cover and have games that start at weird times in the afternoon, that is the problem. Batters in the box facing a pitcher who is standing in full out shade can be in tough to track the ball out of the pitchers hand the entire way. It starts off dark and then you have to track a 90-mile an hour fastball within 45 feet of the plate. Not an ideal scenario. The same can be said if the roles were reversed. If the pitcher is in the sun and the batter is in the shade, the batter could very easily lose track of the ball towards the last few feet from home due to the lighting difference. These scenarios typically present themselves in the mid-to-late afternoon games and can be a great tool to when properly applied to handicapping the over/under number.
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