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Baseball Betting Psychology

Baseball Betting Psychology: The Mental Wiring of a Good Gambler

By Loot, MLB Handicapper,

When betting on baseball, it’s important to have a vast knowledge of baseball. Let’s not forget the second part of “baseball wagering” which is of course the knowledge of gambling. Some of those who bet baseball don’t like to look at it as “gambling” in the typical form. While handicapping baseball games is certainly a more thoughtful endeavor than playing slot machines, that doesn’t mean it’s not gambling.

Even if baseball wagering is a profession for you, it takes place in the framework of gambling. There is endless theory and mathematics associated with it. It’s pretty much a discipline onto its own, just like every other realm of knowledge. Though it has a negative image in the minds of many, it is still an area of knowledge that not a lot of people will ever master. Those who have are among the brightest people in the world.

Not that we need to get to that level. We’re not in the business of managing a casino, but becoming a capable bettor of baseball does require you to have a handle on many of the ins and outs of gambling. The more, the better. You want to eventually get to a point where you understand everything about the procedure, mathematics, and inner-workings of baseball wagering. It all becomes second-nature to you. You’re not just a guy trying to pick winners of baseball games. You are applying it to a framework that might seem foreign to most--baseball wagering.

You have to know the math that drives this biz. You don’t have to get all Good Will Hunting about it, but it does require a solid handle on arithmetic. Call it “street math” or whatever you will, but it involves some big numbers that should become automatic after a certain point. The bookie isn’t going to pull any fast ones on you. You won’t be falling into the trap of taking bets with horrible value.


The advanced bettor keeps an even keel. Sure, he might get irritated at losing or feel a rush when he wins, but it’s done within a narrower range than a casual betting man. The peaks are lower and the valleys not as deep. It’s the only way to be in a sport where the best win about 60% and the worst win about 40%.

Baseball wagering is a form of betting where one expects to gradually squeeze out a profit. We can’t play it like a guy at the craps table getting on an incredible rush for an hour or a guy winning a poker tournament. We wager on a bunch of games and hope our strategies and other tactics earn us a small edge. Multiplied over time, that small edge becomes quite substantial.

It’s important how you process wins and losses. It’s more about the bottom-line. We either won or lost. Yeah, it stings when a team comes back from a 4-1 deficit in the 9th against us, but we have to be callous to it otherwise it can affect you negatively moving forward. 9th inning comebacks happen pretty frequently in a sport with so many games. We need to be almost numb to it. We don’t go storming around looking to steam off a bunch of money. We don’t start feeling snake-bitten or like victims. Bad runs happen to everyone over the course of a long season. The fact that you’re losing is bad, but how you handle it becomes an even more important consideration.

The same applies to good runs. Don’t get a big head. Stick with the girl you brought to the dance. We’ve all met guys who have a few good weeks betting baseball and are now entertaining thoughts of doing it for a living. Whoa. Have a good run for five years and we’ll talk. Until then, there’s still a lot to prove. Once you start buying into self-generated thoughts of greatness, that will also be the time you stop doing all the things that allowed to have a good run in the first place.

Remember when you were on a bad run? You didn’t just conclude that you were a terrible bettor, did you? Similarly, you shouldn’t think you’re great on the crest of a big winning run. Be pleased, but in the short term, that success could have just as easily happened by accident. See how it all shakes out over a long and extended period of time before drawing any significant meaning from it.

If you liked this article you may also be interested in checking out my article on Having What it Takes to Thrive in a Long Season.

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