MLB: Betting Baseball in the Second Half



2009-07-20

With the All-Star game behind us and three well-deserved days away from wagering on Major League Baseball, it's time to get back in the saddle and continue the delightful daily grind. If you have had the good fortune of making a solid profit like this reporter betting baseball, it is time to consider a few adjustments for the remainder of the regular season. What could change in three days with no games played?...A lot! Stick with Sportsbook.com the rest of the way for the best in baseball wagering opportunities.

Playing Favorites is more costly

Remember when the New England Patriots were in the midst of unbeaten regular season and were 9-0 and 8-1 ATS? The very next week oddsmakers had enough of squares and sharps kicking their behinds and made the Pats 16-point road favorites at Buffalo. Their thinking was you want to play them, go ahead, beat this number and it continued the rest of the season. Though, not to that extreme because of pitching matchups, the same thing occurs in baseball the rest of the season. Boston, the Yankees and the Dodgers will see ever increasing prices if they continue to win, making them poor risk-reward choices. The same will be true on the opposite end of the spectrum, with baneful teams like Washington and San Diego, helping inflate numbers of their opponents.

My advise on money line wagering is stick to certain limit (I use -175, normally about -155 otherwise) on favorites, since virtually anything above that number means you have to win two games for every loss.
Find bad teams playing well

It's impossible to determine at the moment, however a few sub .500 teams are going to play unexpectedly well for long stretches and can be real bankroll builders. The absolute best recent example is the 2005 Houston Astros. At the end of July, Houston was 47-56 and going nowhere. Phil Garner was brought in as interim manager and nothing happen at first, then the Astros sky-rocketed, winning 42 of last 59 games and made the playoffs as wild card team before losing in the World Series to the Chicago White Sox. Keep antennae on high alert for this opportunity.

Ride Streaks Good and Bad

Just like in surfing, it's not easy to catch the right wave. Too often, we as sports bettors are leery of streaks. We pay attention when a team wins or loses five in a row and often lack the confidence to "ride the tide" figuring the game we choose will be the loser. I'm not advocating "chase systems", rather finding teams that have won possibly three in a row, are scoring runs like people flocking to a Harry Potter movie opening weekend and the right pitcher is starting. Play that team and who knows, they could have streak of seven or eight wins and you profited each time. One other piece of advise, think about playing that team one more time after a loss, since like many streaks, its not always consecutive wins, but winning nine of 11 or 12 of 15, those add up quickly also. Do the 2007 Colorado Rockies jog the memory, winning 11 in a row and 13 of 14 starting in mid-September? The exact method works for Play Against teams on losing binges.

Bullpens still matter

As innings start to mount on starting pitchers, the significance of the bullpen increases. Teams that have their house in order can see ERA of bullpen drop a half a run or more from here on out. This collection of relievers can provide a number of winning bets, saving small leads or games that are tied in the middle innings. Watch these numbers carefully.

Follow home/road records

By now, most teams have set up a pattern of playing tangible baseball home or away. The Red Sox, Dodgers, Tigers and Giants are all strong home wagers, while the Phillies, Rockies and both Los Angeles teams are the most profitable bets as visitors. Knowing this enhances chances to cash winning tickets more frequently.
September can be scary

For most sports bettors, once football starts, baseball is either finished or put on the back-burner. This is not a bad strategy for a number of reasons. Start with what teams care about winning and those waiting for the season to end. Contending teams offer little value unless they are playing each other, which is more a crap shoot late in the season. Expanded rosters, means more research to check who is or isn't playing and being unfamiliar with called-up pitchers adds to the quandary.
Don't blindly bet just to do so, since a bankroll that took five months to build can disappear quickly in 30 days. Be extremely judicious and only play games you feel are next to "locks". Otherwise, set aside a few days to do baseball exclusively. An extremely successful bettor friend of mine bets baseball just on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in September, giving him what he feels is ample time to prepare for football weekends.

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