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Adding Layers to Your Handicapping

Adding More Layers to Your MLB Handicapping

By Loot, MLB Handicapper,

If you're not making the most out of your baseball handicapping, don't be too hard on yourself. Most don't. In fact, if you look at the total number of bettors who are able to win at baseball wagering over the long-haul, the percentage is discouragingly low. It brings to mind the fact that in order to make this work, you have to be something special. You don't have to be Rainman or Lefty Rosenthal, but you have to do something different than what the masses are doing.

The general baseball betting man is well-intentioned. He may even know a ton about baseball. He understands the bets and knows just about everything about the game. That alone guarantees you absolutely nothing. And when you really break it down, his actual handicapping basically consists of throwing doo-doo against the wall to see if it will stick. The general betting man is heavy on intuition and low on actual data.

If you find yourself doing this is, it's important to recognize the mantra that governs all sports betting, not just baseball--match-ups rule. For all teams and most players, there are situations and scenarios where they are more or less likely to thrive. It's important to tap into the specifics of the match-ups. With pitchers rotating daily, baseball is a bit unique in that the teams change their identity from day-to-day. When betting on football or baseball teams, not that it's easier, but the teams feature a level of constancy that is missing from baseball teams. It heightens the importance of taking account of the different scenarios and conditions and how they might affect the teams in the games you bet.

Some teams have a lineup that hits certain pitchers better. Not to generalize, but there are teams that are better fastball-hitting teams. Other teams thrive against more of a finesse pitcher. You can even look at the umpires, namely the home-plate ump. If you're betting on a team whose starting pitcher is a guy who likes to paint corners, the last thing you want to see in the game is an ump who never gives pitchers that borderline strike. Struggling to get strikes, that pitcher will have to get more over the plate and will probably be hit good that day.

Take account of the different ballparks. If you're betting on a game where one of the pitchers gives up a lot of fly balls in relation to grounders, you'd obviously like a ballpark with deep fences. If the team you're betting is a power-hitting team playing a game in SoCal where the air is heavy that night, it's gonna be hard to drive the ball. Anyone who's seen night home games with the Padres or Dodgers knows some nights you have to be Dave Kingman just to reach the warning-track. At the same stadium on the right day, balls are flying out like they're in Colorado or at Wrigley with a strong wind blowing out.


Beyond weather, there are just some parks where pitchers or hitters either do appreciably better or worse. You can probably remember in little league, there were some parks where things just suited you better. It could have been something as simple as the layout of the playing field or the way the light hit the field. It could be anything, but there are times of the day and different settings that could suggest a pitcher or hitter will be more or less likely to thrive. Not that these edges are always going to be available, but they often times will be. We just have to look for them. And when we do, that doesn't mean we automatically bet it. We use this information to help tip the scale one way or another, when combined with other factors.

The season is a long one and games start to blend into one another. We can get lost in it all. But baseball is unique in that the playing field changes on a daily basis according to a slew of different factors. Within these margins, there lies little clues. And they're not always given their proper respect. People don't pay it any mind, they think it all evens out, or that it's already been accounted for in the odds. In other words, they find an excuse to be lazy. Then when it's time to make picks, they rely too much on their gut and swing it from the hip. That might work here and there, but it's not how winning in baseball betting is done. At the end of the day, you have to do the hard work and get into the nitty-gritty.

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