The 2020 MLB season is officially underway and it's nothing like we've ever seen before. 60 games instead of 162. Universal designated hitter. Man on second base to start extra innings. It's enough to make your head spin. If you're new to betting baseball or looking for a refresher, here are right easy tips to help you turn a profit during this unpredictable season.
Avoid Big Favorites: The public loves taking favorites. After all, they're the better team and expected to win. However, books know this bias and shade lines toward popular teams, forcing bettors to lay hefty, overpriced numbers. If you're constantly laying -200, -250 or -300 you're assuming big risk with little reward. If you like big favorites, look to bet them on the spread, also know as the run-line. For example, instead of betting a favorite -300 on the moneyline, take them to win by two or more at -1.5 (-140).
Lean On Divisional Underdogs: Underdogs playing opponents inside the division perform much better than underdogs playing non-division foes. This is due to the built in familiarity. They play each other often and know what to expect in terms of the opponent, coaching tendencies and the stadium. This levels the playing field and benefits the dog. Also look to dogs in games with high totals (9 or higher). When more runs are expected to be scored it leads to more variance and more upset opportunities. On the flip side, low totals (7.5 or less) are better for favorites because the fewer amount of expected runs scored makes it more like that it comes from the better team.
Monitor Line Movement: The way a line moves can tell you a lot about where the public is and where the sharp money is going. The goal is to bet against the Average Joes who bet based on gut instinct and bias, place yourself on the side of the house (who always wins) and, most importantly, be on the same side as the wiseguys who have the respect of the books and win more than they lose. Track how a line moves from open to close. If a line is moving toward a team, that's a good sign that action is in their favor. Also look out for late moves that happen right before first pitch. That's when limits are highest and big moves come in.
Check The Weather: Weather often gets overlooked. But it shouldn't, especially when betting totals. Always check wind direction, wind speed, temperature and humidity. If the wind is blowing out, that helps an over because it could turn a warning track out into a first row homer. On the flip side, wind blowing in benefits unders. Hot temperatures and humidity helps overs because the air is less dense and the ball travels further. Also keep track of juice movement with totals. It will tell you where liability exists. If a total opened at 8.5 (-110) and moves to 8.5 under -115, that indicates action on the under.
Shop For The Best Line: There are dozens of different sportsbooks to choose from. One mistake new bettors make is only betting through one book. This is a bad idea because you're forced to take whatever number that one book is offering. Instead, make sure you have access to multiple "outs" so you can shop for the best number. It also helps to have a live odds page. Let's say you want to bet on the Mets as a short home favorite. New York might be -125 at one book but -120 at another. Always look to minimize your risk and maximize your reward.
Manage Your Bankroll Properly: Baseball is a volume heavy sport. There are so many games every single day, which can be both a gift and a curse. On the one hand, you have countless opportunities to maximize your edge. However, it can also be a slippery slope if you end up betting too many games. One way to withstand the ups and downs is through a disciplined, consistent bankroll management approach called Flat Betting. This means always risking one unit, regardless of your confidence level, and betting 1% to 5% of your bankroll per play. A good medium is 3%. This will save you from going broke when you're struggling but also set you up for a positive return on investment when you're doing well.
Avoid Parlays: Everyone wants to get rich quick. Unfortunately, it's just not realistic. Sports betting is a grind. There is no silver bullet or shortcut. Many bettors fall into the trap of betting parlays because they want to turn a small amount into a big amount. Parlays are appealing but they're also dangerous. They provide a huge edge to the house, which is why they are considered the penny slot of betting. There's nothing wrong with the occasional parlay. But if you're making it your most common bet type, you're playing right into the sportsbooks hands.
Track All Of Your Bets: This goes for all sports, but especially for baseball. Whether you use a notepad, an excel sheet or an app, track every single bet you make. By documenting your plays, you'll learn a lot about who you are as a bettor. Your eyes will be opened to strengths and weaknesses you never knew you had. Maybe you realize you're betting too many games per night. Or you're doing great betting moderate dogs and getting crushed on big favorites. Or you're crushing it with unders and losing a lot of your overs. By keeping a running record of your plays, you can better track your performance and use it to your advantage.