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Baseball Betting Strategy: Improved Teams

Baseball Betting Strategy: Looking For Improved Teams

By Loot, MLB Handicapper,

It seems like almost every season there are surprise teams that separate themselves from the pack. Some of these teams are expected to improve. They landed some key signings, young rising players are more seasoned, and the signs are easy to see. From a betting standpoint, however, the value on these teams is iffy, being that everyone more or less anticipates they will do well. We want to look for teams that are truly going to be a surprise.

A lot of teams quietly finish seasons strongly--and no one really seems to notice. At the end of the season, the division races are heating up, people are looking at different things, and the bottom-rung teams get less and less attention to where they’re almost an afterthought by season’s end. Still, it’s a good sign to see a team that may have finished with a poor record that played inordinately better in the last month or two of the previous season. A sharp bettor will red flag this information which is sure to offer value during the early part of next season.

Naturally, we want to look for improvements in the starting rotation or bullpen. Not all improvement on a pitching staff will be a result of highly-publicized signings or trades that are the top story on Sportscenter. There can be more under-the-radar player moves that really bolster a team’s prospects, even though the national sports media isn’t exactly carrying on about it.

Look for an upgrade in the pitching that might not have been getting a lot of headlines. It could be something like a young pitcher is ready to take flight in his career. Look at how he finished the previous season. Look for clues that a guy is ready to hit another gear. Look for some veteran signings. Not every effective pitcher is going to get a lot of attention. A team could sign a more obscure pitcher, whose level of merit far exceeds his reputation.

See if a team added some key pieces in areas of weakness. Maybe they have a good closer, but their middle-relief was sub-par. A team can sign a quality reliever capable of throwing innings who no one really knows about. A key addition or two in the bullpen could manage to slip under everyone’s radar, but that team is now in a far better position to start getting in the win column more than what people are forecasting.

Sometimes, we can get an idea if a team will improve by taking inventory of other teams. If a team just improves a little bit, while their division rivals have taken a step back--that could have dramatic results. So we don’t just analyze teams in the area of possible improvement as if they exist in a vacuum. It’s all relative, so you’d like to see that the teams they play the most are not as good as before.

You may notice that a mediocre or bad team seems rudderless. There is no cohesion in the clubhouse. It just seems like a bunch of young guys running around like a chicken with its head cut off. The right player could add an element of leadership that gives the team a major boost. It won’t always play out as dramatically as, say, Kirk Gibson joining the Dodgers and whipping that group into shape for a World Series Championship. It doesn’t need to be that dramatic for us to cover some wagers. Improvement comes in many forms.

Look for positive changes in the coaching category. Sure, we like to see a team get a top-notch manager. That could do the trick. But we need to look at the whole staff--not just the skipper at the helm. There are coaches around the league who have been known to inject life into a team upon their arrival. It could be a hitting or pitching coach. In other words, don’t only look at managers. A team can improve under the same manager who was there during down-times, partly on the basis of a few key coaches being added into the mix.

Doing some of these things will give us a leg-up. It will take the rest of the baseball betting world time to come around and realize a team is vastly improved. Meanwhile, we’re winning wagers because we saw the writing on the wall before everyone else did. Once everyone knows about something, the value has been sucked out of it. That means we need to be cutting-edge, able to spot something before it becomes public property.

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