Sports Betting 101
Basics by Sport
Insider Betting Tips for Major League Baseball
by Dave Schwab
The Boys of Summer are usually the only game in town once hockey and basketball wind down in June and before football starts back up in September, so if you are one of the millions of avid sports betting fans out there, it pays to have some inside tips when it comes to betting on MLB games.
Important Baseball Stats
All sports have more statistical measures then they probably need, but baseball by far leads the way with stats for just about anything you can think of. You can probably find stats for how many times a player adjusts his batting helmet at the plate when at bat, but when it comes to betting on the games you will want to focus most of your attention on a few stats that can have the biggest impact on the outcome of the game.
When it comes to pitching it is important to know and understand earned run averages (ERA) and walks issued plus hits per inning pitched (WHIP). Both of these stats are the best measure of the effectiveness of a pitcher in terms of limiting the opposing team to scoring runs.
When it comes to batting, you will want to look at slugging percentage (SLG) and on-base percentage (OBP). Very simply, these two stats measure a batter’s ability to put the ball in play and get on base, which in turn will lead to more runs being scored.
When you role-up all four of these stats on a team basis you can get a pretty good idea of just how good each one is at limiting runs when it is in the field and scoring runs when it is at the plate.
Tracking Team’s Bullpens
There is now doubt that each team’s starting pitcher is the most important factor when it comes to handicapping a baseball game, but you should also have a good feel for the effectiveness of a team’s bullpen. The average starter probably lasts between six and seven innings if they are pitching well, so there are still two to three innings in most games where a team’s relievers will have to try and shut the other team down.
If a team has a number of marginal pitchers in its starting rotation, the wear and tear on the arms in the bullpen can takes its toll as the season wears on. Knowing just how fatigued a bullpen may be in terms of total innings pitched can be an important contributing factor in predicting the outcome of a game.
Know Your Home Plate Umpires
The home plate umpire can consciously or even subconsciously have a major impact on the outcome of a game. That is why just about every betting report for a MLB game will include detailed betting trends for each and every umpire in the games when they are calling balls and strikes behind home plate.
A home plate umpire can figure prominently into betting on the games when it comes to the total line. Umpires with generous strike zones tend to have more of their called games stay under the total, while the ones with a tight strike zone have a tendency to have most of their games go over the total.
Cashing-In on the Underdogs
The predominant bet in baseball is on the moneyline so you can afford to have a .500 record betting on underdogs and still be way ahead of the game with your overall dollar return. Even the worse teams in baseball still win around 40 percent of their games so there are always plenty of opportunity to bet on underdogs on any given day of the season.
You still need to do your homework on each individual game you bet, but it is always better to go into things with the mindset of looking for value in underdogs. Home underdogs should always be taken into consideration unless there is a total mismatch on the mound with each team’s starters.