Baseball handicapping presents some unique challenges to prospective and experienced gamblers alike. Many factors make baseball gambling a much different animal than things like football and basketball, forcing bettors to adjust to the long season and the variance that goes with it. Even a good baseball handicapper can go through slumps over the course of a long year, so patience is at a premium and it pays to understand sample sizing.
With that in mind, what are some things to know about baseball handicapping? What must people understand when they sit down to look at a betting board or a score sheet?
Baseball Handicapping Based Upon Listed Pitchers
When you look at a betting board, you will see lots of information. Starting pitchers are listed in prominent fashion beside the team name and this is a clear indication of their importance. They are so important that players can choose to select a game and require that either or both starting pitchers makes the start.
Baseball handicapping, then, becomes a game of pitcher analysis. Handicappers are always looking for hot pitchers and guys that they can rely on. The core of any good baseball handicapping strategy is predicting starting pitcher performance on that day, since he has the power to take over a game or lose it on his own.
Run lines vs. Money Lines
Baseball handicapping provides two different ways for players to bet on a given team. For those who just want to bet on a team to win a game, moneylines are the perfect choice. The problem with that is that most players don’t want to lay the juice required to bet on big favorites.
When that’s the case, they will often opt for run line betting. There are some things to keep in mind when betting run lines, most having to do with betting home favorites. Betting small home favorites on the run line can be dangerous, since the game can and will end when those teams are up by one run.
The Factors that Contribute to Baseball Handicapping
When a handicapper is assessing a game, he looks at plenty of different things if he is smart. Not all handicappers take a comprehensive approach, but the successful ones almost always consider every little thing that might impact a game’s outcome.
The following factors should be considered by those who want to take a successful baseball handicapping approach:
- Game day weather, specifically accounting for wind strength and direction
- Umpire’s strike zone tendencies (large or small?)
- Does a team play well at home?
- How well does a team hit right handed and left handed pitching?
- Injuries (including those that haven’t been disclosed)
Though deciding whether to bet the moneyline, run line, or total is important and analyzing pitchers makes up a huge part of the process, players must also consider various matchups, fatigue factors, ballpark effects, and even the umpires. Unlike with other sports, the venues and umpiring tendencies in baseball can vary and have a distinct impact on the score.