Look for value
in the underdog
The best baseball teams lose at least sixty games a year and the worst teams
win close to that same number. The rest of the league falls somewhere in between.
Consider that the more favorites you bet, the higher the percentage of wins
you'll need to break even. For example, if your average bet is a 150 favorite
youll need to hit 60% winners just to break even. At 170, that number
increases to 63% and so on.
Now consider the opposite. If your average bet is a +120 underdog, your break-even
percentage drops to approximately 45.5%. At +140, its down to just over
42% and the higher you go the lower the breakeven percentage. Keeping in mind
that even the poorest baseball teams seldom win fewer than 37% of their games,
it is apparent that looking for opportunities to bet on underdogs is essential
to profitable baseball wagering.
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Set a limit for betting on favorites
While most successful baseball bettors look to play underdogs first, favorites
can frequently present good value as well. Often times, one will find a top
team playing on the road as a minor favorite or other situations will present
themselves where small favorites are a good play. To bet baseball successfully,
you should implement a strict limit on how much youll lay on a favorite,
say -150 or lower. Once you establish your cut off for wagering
favorites, never wager more than that, regardless of the circumstance or situation.
too much stock in starting pitchers
Too many sports handicappers place too much emphasis on the starting pitcher.
Its understandable, of course, since the bookmakers list the starting
pitcher when setting the line for each game. If you pay any attention to baseball,
however, youll know that the quality of starting pitching has reached
a state of equality, if not mediocrity. Sure, there are a small number of elite
pitchers, but all others are a cut below these few. And since youll never
get these guys anywhere near your favorite cut off point, dont worry about
An obvious fact that baseball is a game of streaks, and nowhere is this more
evident than in pitching. If a starter is demonstrating particularly good or
particularly bad recent form, it might not be compensated for in the line and
there may be value in playing on (or against) the starter in question. Overall,
however, starting pitching receives way too much emphasis when evaluating baseball
from a wagering standpoint.
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baseball is a game of streaks
This is no secret, of course, but it is something to be aware of when betting
on baseball. No matter what else you find relevant about a game, you should
think twice about betting against a team that has won three or more games in
a row or on a team that has lost three or more games in a row. This may sound
superstitious, but it's a valuable rule to follow. You'll always be better off
in the long run by not going against a winning or losing streak the majority
of the time.
Home field advantage
just doesn't matter
Of all major sports, there may be less advantage to playing at home in baseball
than in any other. This is especially true during the long regular season. Granted
there are teams that do better in certain ballparks than others, but this is
more a function of the design of the ballpark and the personnel of the team
than any home field advantage. Some parks are clearly pitcher's parks
or hitter's parks, but it works both ways - the opposing pitchers
and hitters often have the same advantage or disadvantage as the home teams
players. Furthermore, bad teams are frequently overvalued at home, which results
in good value on the visitor. Over the course of season, most teams will probably
do better at home than on the road but the higher prices youll have to
pay will negate this fact. More often than not, home field advantage
shouldnt be a consideration in handicapping a game.