Advanced MLB Betting Strategies to Help You Profit This Summer
It’s the dog days of summer and while the Olympics have been a welcome distraction, it seems like we’re all just counting down the days until football starts. There is one lone bright spot in the desert of summer sports and that’s MLB regular season baseball.
Much like gambling, baseball is a goddam grind. If you don’t love the game, it’s hard to tune in for an early August matchup between two of the worst teams in the league. There is one thing that makes it worth watching though…and that’s by betting on it.
We’ve already covered some basic tips for MLB betting in the past, but today we’ll be diving into a few more advanced betting techniques to help your profit all summer long.
Advanced MLB Betting Strategies to Make You Money This Summer
1. First Five Innings Betting
One of the most basic tips you’ll find for MLB betting is to focus on starting pitchers. Baseball can be a random game, especially over the course of a 162 game season. But having a dominant ace is the most sure-fire way to predict the outcome of any baseball game. However, as the innings drag on, luck can begin to turn, and anything can happen. That’s why I like to make a first five innings bet.
A five first innings bet is simple enough. You’re essentially wagering on what the results will be at the end of five innings as opposed to the full game outcome (similar to betting the first half in a football game). Like a regular bet, you can wager on the moneyline, run line (0.5 runs for a half-game), or total runs.
The best time to make a first five innings bet is when there’s a dominant starting pitcher and/or weak bullpen, creating much less risk than a full game wager. If you’re betting on a full game, you run the risk of an ace tiring out or hitting a pitch count quickly. You have to rely on bullpens, which is a crapshoot across 75% of the league. And more importantly, hitters begin to key on pitching in their second and third times around the lineup, making runs easier to come by in the later innings.
It’s important to do your research before making this kind of bet. And luckily the folks at OddsShark have it covered with a great table laying out results for best and worst teams and starting pitchers for the first five innings. I’ve included some screenshots below, but check it out here for more info.
2. Divisional Dogs
One quirk of MLB betting is that the moneyline odds are generally pretty large. It’s not rare to find a favorite that pays out at a -500 or -600 rate, which honestly isn’t worth your time investing in. The real value will come from betting underdogs and, to be more specific, underdogs in a divisional matchup.
Over the course of a season, teams that play within the same division face each other 19 times a year. Meanwhile, they face other teams within the conference just 6-7 times. This familiarity with each other ultimately benefits the underdog team. Even if they’re nowhere near as talented, having played the same team 19 times allows them to pick up on tendencies, get used to starting pitchers and bullpens, and steal games they might otherwise lose.
The math backs it up. Look at these crazy stats from the Action Network:
“Since 2005, all underdogs in divisional games (think Red Sox vs. Yankees) have lost 72.1 units, while dogs in games outside the division have lost an astounding 645.7 units."
"Divisional dogs perform even better if we layer in two more filters: First, road teams (the public overvalues home-field advantage, creating inflated value on visitors) and second, a high total (8.5 or more). With more runs expected to be scored, it leads to more variance, aiding the underdog. This system has produced an incredible +71.2 units since 2005.”
When in doubt, bet on a road, divisional dog.
3. Series Betting
Similar to the divisional dogs concept is the idea of betting on an individual series. During the course of the 162 game series, teams play 52 separate series, where they face the same opponent 3-4 times in a row over the course of several consecutive days at the same ballpark.
Not only does this breed familiarity by the end of the series, but it also creates an opportunity to use the Martingale system. We’ll cover this in a later blog, but the Martingale system relies on the concept of doubling bets after each loss until the bettor ultimately ends up winning and making their money back.
For this system to work, you’ll need a decent-sized bankroll and confidence that your team won’t be swept.
Here’s how it works.
Pick the team that you think will win the overall series (ideally a slight underdog). This is generally who you think the better overall team is and is less reliant on starting pitcher. Though depending on a team’s rotation and the timing of the series, the starting pitcher could be a big factor.
After picking your team, bet one unit on the opening game. We’ll call a unit $10 here for the sake of simplicity. If your bet wins, repeat the same bet for the second game.
But if you lose, double your bet in the second game to $20. A win will bring you back down to one unit, which you’ll bet on the third game. Meanwhile, a loss will double your stake in the next game to $40.
As long as you don’t get swept or run out of money, you’ll end up making a profit by the end of the series.
4. Research Umpires
This one will be quick and straightforward – research your goddam umpires. It’s the easiest way to make money, especially on run total bets. An umpire with a tiny strike zone can balloon total scores and vice versa.
Covers does a great job of breaking down baseball betting stats, especially when it comes to umpires, so check out their site for more data before you bet.
Here’s a quick preview of the kind of data they offer:
Happy betting out there, and stay tuned for more advanced betting tips all summer long.