How to handicap the second half of the MLB betting season

Jul 5, 2017 |
How to handicap the second half of the MLB betting season
The second half of the season throws some curveballs when it comes to how MLB bettors handicap the daily odds. A set of unique factors come into play in the final two and half months of the regular season slate, and bettors should be mindful to adjust.
Photo By - USA Today Images
The second half of the season throws some curveballs when it comes to how MLB bettors handicap the daily odds. A set of unique factors come into play in the final two and half months of the regular season slate, and bettors should be mindful to adjust.
Photo By - USA Today Images

The grueling seven-month voyage that is the MLB betting season comes to port briefly during the All-Star Game, giving baseball teams and baseball bettors a quick breathier before hitting the home stretch of the schedule.

The second half of the season throws some curveballs when it comes to how MLB bettors handicap the daily odds. A set of unique factors come into play in the final two and half months of the regular season slate, and bettors should be mindful to adjust.

Here are some simple tips and tactics for capping the second half of the MLB calendar:

Watch for wear

As the temperatures get turned up in July, August and September, we also see more wear and tear of pitching staffs across the majors. Baseball bettors will want to take the All-Star hiatus to check up on which teams could be in trouble, as it pertains to innings pitched and starter depth.

If one or two starters go down, or even struggle on the mound, that forces a shuffle of the pitching staff and more reliance on the bullpen to pick up the slack. This can lead to issues on that side of the plate, leaving teams thin until September call-ups arrive.

Ride the Over

In connection with the wearing down of pitchers mentioned above, is the uptick in totals trends – primarily Over trends – in the second half of the season.

Teams going through issues on the mound tend to give up more runs and have a tough time plugging those leaks before September. That puts more value into following Over trends in July and August. The betting markets are also slower to react to totals trends, since they don’t get the mainstream media coverage that an extended winning or losing streak would garner, and hold their betting value longer.

Industry shift

Once the NBA and NHL playoffs conclude, baseball pretty much has the attention of the sports betting world for June and July – that means the lines are sharp and the action is heavy. But as the NFL kicks off its preseason campaign in August and with college football coming at the end of that month as well, the industry drastically shifts its attention and efforts.

The focus on baseball dies down, from both books and bettors, which means value betting on certain stats and trends has a longer shelf life. Die-hard MLB bettors committed to the sport, even when football rolls into town, will have an advantage as they are first to sniff out the best bets on the board.

Injuries and returning players

The marathon MLB season starts to take its toll on players after the break with a pandemic of ailments across the big leagues. Injuries to starting pitchers are perhaps the most destructive to a club’s success but don’t underestimate the loss of a key lineup contributor as well. They can upend the offensive production as well as leave gaps in the field. Take a deep dive into their contributions and advanced stats, like WAR (Wins Above Replacement), which should give you an indication of how far a team could slip without them.

On the flip side of this, players who suffered an injury before the break have had some extra time to heal up and could be coming back for the home stretch of the schedule. Those returning talents can give depth to a rotation, boost a bullpen, or spark a lineup with their bat. Make sure you keep a close eye on returning players and how they’re impacting the outcomes in the first few games back on the diamond.

Motivation and moves

As the fall closes in, baseball bettors will have a clear idea as to which MLB clubs are contenders and which ones don’t have a shot at October. Teams in contention could provide more bang for your betting buck, as they fight to make the postseason cut, while those with no hope of making the playoffs could start looking ahead to next season. Those teams could start working younger players into games, trying to build experience and gauge their roster for the following year. Always be mindful of the standings and a team’s situation each time out.

Going hand-in-hand with this is player movement, especially around the trade deadline. Those teams aiming for a postseason spot will make some moves to bolster their roster and fill any gaps they have, and betting on “buyers” in the second half of the schedule is never a bad idea. However, you will also have teams calling it quits on the current season and selling off their top talents to the highest bidder, stacking assets for the future. Beware those “sellers” in the final months of the summer.


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