Baseball betting tips: 5 golden rules

Moneyline sports like Major League Baseball can do a number on your betting bankroll. Today, we’re taking a look at five important rules that will keep your head above water. Here are five rules to keep in mind when betting on the big leagues.

1. Avoid heavy favorites

By heavy favorites, I’m referring to teams listed at –170 or more. While these may appear to be safe bets at first glance, in reality they’re far from it. Rarely will you find a –200 favorite that isn’t overvalued. With upwards of 15 games on the MLB board just about every night, there is usually much more value to be found elsewhere.

A perfect example of this rule is last year’s edition of the Tampa Bay Rays. They were heavily favored more often than not, and despite a good overall record (84-78), they had the moneyline bettor down over nine units on the season.

2. Don’t put too much weight in starting pitchers

Pitchers are just one part of the baseball equation. When it comes down to it, very few starting pitchers can be relied upon consistently. Where you can find value, is looking at current team performance. Oddsmakers overvalue certain pitchers all the time, knowing that the public will bite. For example, Zack Greinke was favored in all but four of his 33 starts in 2006. However, the Kansas City Royals went just 17-16 in those games.

3. Pay attention to the schedule

Few bettors take a team's schedule into consideration when handicapping a game, but it is definitely an important factor. There are plenty of letdown spots to be found. For instance, in 2006 the Boston Red Sox went on the road to face the then lowly Rays followed by a trip to Kansas City. They proceeded to drop five of six games.

Were they looking ahead to series against the league-leading Tigers and AL East-leading Yankees at Fenway in the next week? Probably. Another good spot to look out for is when a team is wrapping up a disappointing or lengthy road trip. We tend to see a lackluster effort in the final installment.

4. Avoid betting against streaks

While there can be value in betting against highly publicized streaks from time to time, the bottom line is you’re going against the grain, and that’s not usually a profitable decision. In most cases, you are better off waiting until a streak finishes to start siding with or fading a particular team. We saw numerous double-digit streaks last season. Whatever you do, try to avoid chasing a team on a losing streak. A long losing streak can put you in the poorhouse in a hurry.

5. Don’t rely solely on statistics

There is a never-ending list of statistical categories tracked when it comes to baseball. While these numbers can a useful, they can also steer you in the wrong direction in some cases. Remember, there are stats that will support either side in most matchups. Uncovering the most important ones is critical.

Some categories that I put emphasis on are: starting pitchers' K/BB ratio, team bullpen ERA and team batting average over the last 10 games. The lesson to be learned is, don’t blindly back a team based on numbers. Be sure to take a look at the fundamental and situational aspects as well.

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Posted by yankeesparlayer
6 months ago

You can always find some good spot plays in baseball with 3-4 games series
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Posted by picks77
4 years ago

to the guy that said friends don't let friends bet baseball. Friends ONLY let friends bet Baseball. Easiest money there is. Many small books still close during baseball season because they can get hammered. When you only have to pick the winner and don't care by how much.... That is easy gambling. Easiest sport to make money on by far. Avoid all plays over 150 and you can make a bundle.
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Posted by Trec
4 years ago

I have two golden rules for baseball. Friends don't let friends bet on baseball. the only good play is an under play, otherwise you're just wishing away
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Posted by B0NESAW
4 years ago

so basically we should bet the team with the average starting pitcher, the team with the luckier bullpen, and the team that has been losing and needs a win to snap a streak??? LOL Wow what great advice.... you apply this to all sports? Shall I avoid the team with the better goalie, better offense and better QB as well?
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Posted by bpilktree
4 years ago

Terrible article of course you look at the starters but you also have to take into account what team they play for. KC can't score and their bullpen is awful so yeah Greinke is not a great bet but look at just yesterday. 5 Team easy parlay. Halliday against the Nats, Buerlhe against the Indians, Carpenter vs the Reds, Hernandez vs the A's and Timmy against a weak Astros team. The money line on these teams is not great but put a 3 or 4 teamer parlay and go from their.
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Posted by coakley69
4 years ago

very poor article. this was written in 2007?? its now 2010 and ballparks have changed etc... I would never play 5 innings in the 1st week of the season. Sp are not at their peak yet. you saw what happened yesterday.
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Posted by goallinebob
4 years ago

Tampa Bay is -210 tonight,,,,I will play them in 5 inn not 9,,,,,and also the opposition SP has also something to do with that -210,,like an ERA of 12.96,,so i am to trust a SP with that ERA to win a game for me ?????????? I'll take my chances in 5 inn to get in and out before all hell breaks loose
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Posted by goallinebob
4 years ago

Playing SP's is best in 5 innings not 9
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Posted by boycali01
5 years ago

good statistics
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Top Response

Posted by coakley69
4 years ago

"very poor article. this was written in 2007?? its now 2010 and ballparks have changed etc... I would never play 5 innings in the 1st week of the season. Sp are not at their peak yet. you saw what happened yesterday. "