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How to Handicap MLB Games - Part II

MLB Betting: How to Handicap MLB Games, Part II

By Loot, MLB Handicapper,

As we continue giving a general overview of how to handicap Baseball games, we would be remiss in not mentioning that we really don’t have an excuse nowadays to not do the necessary homework. Stats figures into MLB wagering in a big way. But we need beyond what it says on the back of baseball cards. We need pointed information and with the internet, it is a cinch nowadays.

Baseball betting has been around for a long time. Only recently, however, has the average betting man been able to have information at his fingertips that would require painful record-keeping in eras past. It enables bettors to apply statistics for their own purposes. Rather than just seeing how a player or team does in an overall sense, you can boil it down to the precise situation which you are betting. Over the course of a bunch of 162-game seasons, you can start to pinpoint definite player tendencies.

With a few mouse-clicks, you can find out a lot about a player--where he does best, at what time of the day he thrives, against which pitchers/batters he finds success, how he’s been doing recently, against which pitchers a hitter knocks the cover off the ball, and everything else that comes to mind.


In sports like football, the power of a statistical analysis is negligible compared to baseball. A betting man doesn’t have to battle books who had a week to tighten up a line air-tight. With 162 games, it’s bang-bang-bang. Oddsmakers have just a few hours and a keen statistical observation or two can really make a difference.

When you find a troubling statistic, what should you do? In all honesty, you probably had an inkling before diving into the statistical analysis. But if red flags are found, that doesn’t mean to bet the other side. It might and it might not. Whatever troubled you might not be enough to change your opinion. It should just give you pause--a reason to reconsider your position. With the sheer amount of games on the MLB schedule, you should isolate your action to the games where your edge is clear. The oddsmaker is forced to put out a line on every game. You are not forced to wager on every game; advantage YOU!

Take into consideration the complexion of a team’s games directly preceding the one you bet. If you just jump in without looking around, you can get blind-sided by unpleasant details. A closer might be coming off 3 appearances in 4 days and won’t be available for the game you are betting. The top guys in the bullpen might be fatigued after a lot of recent work. If you have a starting pitcher who is only a 6-inning guy, you’re going to be miffed when you see them putting in a guy straight up from the minors.

Don’t forget to account for the home/away conundrum. It seems elementary enough and you’re not likely to outfox a bookie along these lines, but try to know everything you need to know. It’s just different when a player is home as opposed to on the road in hotels, eating strange food, and not in his stomping grounds. It can be draining to travel and even though these are professionals, there is a human reason why teams have better records at home that lie outside the normal analysis one conducts when trying to formulate a baseball wager.

Don’t neglect other factors like weather. There are times of the season and certain cities where it’s more of a concern. Obviously in a dome stadium, you don’t have to sweat it. But what if the young star pitcher from the hot-climate country playing on a team from Southern California suddenly finds himself in near-freezing weather on the east coast? What if the wind is blowing out and you’re betting against a team with a lot of power in a stadium with a short porch? Or what if you have a team that relies of offense when the wind is blowing in? It’s a real blow to the gut when you make a bet on a game, then tune in to find a weather concern that you could have handicapped, but did not. Again, with the access we have today to information, there is no excuse for being blind-sided by conditions which we should have been aware.

Be sure to check out the third and final article of this series: How to Handicap Major League Baseball Games - Part III

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