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How to Handicap Major League Baseball - Part III

How to Handicap Major League Baseball, Part III

By Loot, Baseball Handicapper,

We have told you about some of the statistical information that gives you an edge when betting baseball. It is only fair, however, to discuss some of the limitations that accompany such an analysis. After you bet on MLB for a certain time, you will realize the inherent failure component that accompanies baseball wagering.

We can end up spending a lot of time breaking down stats. A lot of the time, we’re going over stuff the bookie has already meted out. In other words, it isn’t easy to find worthwhile information that the bookie somehow missed. When you notice that the bookie is the one who survives and thrives year after year, that should tell us that they don’t sleep on details.

In other words, don’t look for one magic stat that you think will give you an edge. The bookie also saw it. We shouldn’t be in the mindset of re-handicapping the game or checking the bookie’s work. We’re not handicapping editors. We need to understand where we fall in the equation. Unless you’ve been killing it at MLB wagering for decades, it’s probably not a good idea to butt heads with the bookie, thinking you know more than him.

The mindset should be that we’re looking for different statistics to paint a picture that might lie in contrast with what the bookie is saying. We look for certain conditions to fall into place--for the stars to line up right for us. Let’s say we’re thinking of betting on a team. We see the pitcher we have has been hot. The game is during the day and this pitcher seems to do better at that time.  The opposing pitcher is a guy who likes to paint corners and the umpire on that day has a typically tight strike zone and that pitcher is typically better at night. In addition, his ERA on the road is almost two runs higher than at home. Two hitters in the lineup of the team you bet have a history of dominating that pitcher. And that team has been working its bullpen overtime lately and their top relievers won’t be available.

See, now we’re developing a story. We’re looking for things to line up to suggest an edge and then we pounce on it. But when we do so, we keep in mind how inexact this analysis can really be. You can have every stat fall into your column and still lose. It will happen all the time. This is where we need to be make sure our expectations are realistic.

When we undergo an exhaustive statistical rundown, we don’t do it and then expect to win the bet every time. What we are hoping to do is to allow our analysis to win us a couple extra bets a month and to avoid some losing bets along the way. We see even the best teams lose 60 games and some of those were certainly times where the stats and conditions were in their favor. They just came up short--it happens a lot in a 162-game season.

In football betting, you will see teams covering the whole spectrum in terms of a won-loss record. There are teams that are 2-14 all the way up to teams that are 14-2 and beyond. Baseball is different. Imagine if in the NFL, the best team was 10-6 and the worst team was 6-10, with most teams falling in the 9-7, 8-8, and 7-9 range. With Major League Baseball, that’s basically what we’re looking at.

Straight baseball betting revolves around who will win the game. When even bad teams win 70 games and good teams lose 70 games, our expectations need to be in-line. You can only be so disappointed when things don’t go according to plan. We can just hope that our sound analysis of a game can nudge the results ever so slightly more in our favor.

The way baseball works also raises the importance of betting on underdogs. Make that a featured part of your baseball wagering profile. Consistently laying big numbers on favorites in a sport where the best teams lose over 40% of the time is not a good long-term plan.

Speaking of long term plans... It's also wise to bet at a sportsbook where underdogs pay more, due to reduced juice offerings. Find this mega-valuable opportunity at the web's best sportsbook: 5Dimes.

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