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Baseball Betting Strategy

Baseball Betting Strategy: Being Selective

By Loot, Major League Baseball Handicapper,

Wagering on baseball is not like sitting at a blackjack table, where you bet on hand after hand. An asset you have in your corner is the ability to isolate only the situations upon which you wish to wager. It’s an important element of any form of sports betting--being able to draw the battle lines for your troops to fight.

You should look at it like you’re a general trying to win a war. The war is your entire life as a bettor and the individual battles are the bets you make. This is a specialized kind of war, however. In the real thing, a general often is forced to make a stand in battles where he is clearly at a disadvantage. When betting baseball, we can decide exactly which battles to fight and which ones are better to leave alone.

A guy who makes too many wagers and tries to slug it out with the sportsbooks is on a dangerous path. He’s like a kid in a schoolyard fight throwing 100 punches hoping to land a couple. We need to be like the boxer deftly looking for openings, while reducing his risk. The way to do that in baseball betting is to show discretion--only wager on propositions where you have an edge.

In a sport like baseball, you can have days where you pick blindly and have a good day. A lot of people think if they have an edge betting baseball, they will have even more of an edge if they increase the amount of games they bet. It doesn’t work that way. The results differential that comes from being very selective may seem negligible over a short term. Over time, though, the difference is enough to separate the winners from the losers in baseball wagering.

Fully exercise the power of choice. Make your standards high and more importantly, maintain them. We will know almost gutturally with enough experience if you are sticking to the script or going off the grid. Don’t let those standards slip. This can become a challenge if you’re winning, losing, or just looking for more action. A winner can start winging it more, treating his won money with less regard. A loser can start to chase, thus reducing his standards for what constitutes a game worthy of wagering. Then sometimes, we might have a day where no games qualify as bet-able, but the old lady and the kids are out of the house and we want to spice up our evening with a wager on a televised game.

Any number of factors can erode our selectivity and we have to fight against it. Once we are able to establish solid standards for when we pull the trigger on a bet, it should remain in place. The idea here is that by dictating the terms of the war, we will be able to survive and eventually win. The way to do that is by being cagey. Our opponent is formidable and deserves our respect.

Take a look at the books and then contrast them to the people who bet. It’s abundantly clear who is coming out in better shape and it sure isn’t the general betting public. That should foster a healthy respect within us for what we are facing. A lot of betting men run into problems through hubris--failing to fathom how truly difficult their opponent really is. Just like in baseball itself, a team that underestimates its opponent is a team that is well on its way to losing.

This opponent calls for us to be calculating and cunning. If we’re going to thrive, a special strategy is required. It’s stunning to see betting men actually believing they can beat such an adversary as the “house” by employing a “damn-the-torpedoes” strategy and charging right down the middle. That isn’t ever going to work on any kind of long-term basis.

Instead of screaming bloody murder and just attacking, we should be doing stuff like hiding behind a rock, looking for an angle, and waiting for something worth giving up our cover. We’re more like snipers, taking out specific targets that are worth it. We’re not like Scarface in the final scene with a machine gun in both hands shooting at everyone and everything. Then we end up facedown in the fountain. When betting baseball, we need to remain thoughtful and fully put our powers of choice and isolation to use.

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