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Tricks of the Trade

MLB Betting: Tricks of the Trade

By Loot, MLB Handicapper,

When to Handicap: Really, you can do it anytime. A good rule of thumb, however, is to do most of it on the two light days of the week--Monday and Thursday. You can sit back and look at all the upcoming series before they begin to unfold. Then when the series begin, you're armed with information and a general sense of what you'll be looking for in the coming days.

Try to handicap games in peace. Not that you should require the same amount of concentration as someone trying to cure diseases, but you certainly want to avoid anything terribly annoying. At least be in a tranquil environment when actually formulating your picks, if not when sifting through all the data. We can't get irritated when an old friend from college calls when we're trying to figure out how well a hitter fares against left-handers. The world doesn't stop spinning because we're handicapping a baseball game. At the same time, you don't want to make picks on a subway with a crazy person screaming 10 feet from you.

Devotion: We need to be honest with ourselves in how devoted we can truly be. Being a bettor who bets on Major League Baseball daily requires a certain time commitment. To begin, you should have a natural attraction to baseball statistics--something that may have been fostered during boyhood. It's not work for you to pour over numbers and have baseball on the brain for hours on end. Then it's not such drudgery.

Even for the betting man who loves the numbers game, the grind can get to be a bit much at times. If you find yourself reluctant to dive into it, there is no rule saying you must. This isn't work. It shouldn't feel like work. You're not guaranteed a check here. The element of enjoyment should always be present. Even though we strive to be businesslike and professional with our wagering, there are times where it becomes a grind and it's OK to step away for a bit. Things in life come up. Time can be sparse. You might be exhausted. It's funny how when you force yourself to do something, the results are never that good anyway.

Connecting With Others: A lot of us like to go at it alone. For any number of reasons, we may feel reluctant to connect on the internet with people who share our same interests. We might not like that kind of thing in the first place. Not everyone likes to chit-chat away on a computer. Not to mention the web has a fairly well-deserved rep for being a sounding board for the idiotic and under-informed.

The more cynical bettor would be pleasantly surprised to know that there are actually quite a few bright people in forums talking about baseball wagering. There are more than a fair share of shysters and people talking out-of-school, but if you can find a good forum and hone in on a few good people, it can be worth a lot of good information and insight. Two eyes are always better than one. Having someone else who is intelligent and well-versed in the topic of baseball betting lending their thoughts can be worthwhile.

Offseason Work: Picture a baseball player who leaves the stadium after the last game of the season and then just lays around for months watching TV and eating Fritos. He wouldn't be ready to hit the ground running when the season started. The same applies to the baseball bettor who thinks he can just jump into the fray in April and be ready to win.

This isn't your daddy's baseball, where players spent their whole career on the same team, with managers and coaches given a long leash to make it work. Managers, coaches, and players are zipping around the league constantly. A team's complexion come April can be completely different from what you saw the past October.


When handicapping games or even trying to decide which games to really delve into, our understanding has to already be at a certain level. We can't be spending all the time we need to break down games on getting up to speed on the changing landscape of a team. That's why come April, your base understanding of a team should be as strong as when you left off in October. The only way to do that is put in the work in the offseason, so you're already up to speed come the beginning of baseball season.

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