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The five biggest early-season baseball betting mistakes

It’s a week into the baseball season and already your bankroll has gone from New York Yankees to Oakland A’s. Not even Brad Pitt and the fat guy from Superbad can fix this mess.

Chances are, between Opening Day and this weekend’s slate, you made at least one of the baseball betting mistakes listed below. We talked to some pro handicappers to find the most common errors MLB bettors can make at the start of the year.

Hopefully, you still have a few shekels left to dig yourself out of that hole, like a batter down 0-2 in the count.

Spring got you sprung

For baseball fans – from purists to sabermetric nerds – spring ball is a breath of fresh air after a long, hard winter.

It’s easy to fall in love with the Grapefruit and Cactus League games when you haven’t seen the sun since October. But don’t put any weight in what you see in spring training. It doesn’t matter if an ace pitcher got stung for big runs or if the all-star slugger was swinging a wet noodle. As Bobby Boucher’s dear momma would say, “Spring training results is da devil!”

“Both pitchers and hitters tend to work on refining things during the lengthy exhibition schedule - new stances, pitching mechanics - and as a result, numbers compiled just don't mean a whole lot,” says Covers Expert Sean Murphy. “As far as team records go, you can take those with a grain of salt, as few clubs put much emphasis on winning in March.”

Loading the bases

We get it. You’re excited about baseball season. We could tell by the eye-black you sported on Opening Day – to the office. But that doesn’t mean you should bet every game on the board, from the matinees at Wrigley to the late-night degenerate specials at Petco Park.

Playing too many games isn’t a mistake reserved for the start of the baseball schedule, but it’s a mistake that tends to rear its ugly head in April more than August. Overzealous MLB bettors spreading their money too thin on games they don’t have a solid opinion on can kill a bankroll like an inning-ending double play.

“Baseball, more than any other sport, is a marathon, not a sprint,” says pro capper Ted Sevransky. “It's like a poker tournament. You can't win the thing in the first hour, but you sure can lose it.”

The best practice is to take all your leans for that day’s slate and trim it down like David Ortiz, cutting the fat by dropping picks you’re not completely sold on.

Hey big spender

Like any wager, you want to get the best bang for your buck. And in baseball betting, that means spotting value in the moneylines and being careful when dealing with heavy favorites, especially in April.

“Good teams prove that they’re good over the course of the season, not necessarily in April. Bad teams prove that they're bad over the course of the season, not necessarily in April,” says Sevransky. “Many good teams don't have their confidence and rhythm in good form. Most bad teams haven't thrown in the towel, effort wise, like they'll do in the dog days of summer.”

We don’t want to sound like your father and say “Don’t bet the Yankees or the Phillies at -200”, but you’ll just want to pick your spots and be damn sure you’re correct when taking on a pile of chalk. Nothing turns your pockets inside out faster than losing $200 to win $100 – just ask Angels fans.

Seeing is believing

Are the Red Sox a better team than the Orioles? Yeah, sure. Are they playing better than the O’s right now? Nope. But despite crappy play from good teams, a lot of bettors continue to wager on these clubs, hoping the turnaround is on its way.

Covers Expert Steve Merril points to Boston’s cold starts the last two seasons. It opened 2011 0-6 and has limped out to a 2-5 start this spring, costing Red Sox Nation a wicked-bad 3.30 units heading into Saturday.

“We often see some streaks early in April, especially when teams are struggling,” says Merril. “My point is not to expect good teams or any team to suddenly turn things around until you actually see them win a game or two. Then you can start to back them.”

Total recall

Hey, see those numbers in the column next to the moneyline? Those are called totals, and they don’t bite. Many baseball bettors make the early mistake of limiting themselves to just sides, forgetting that there is money to be made betting the over/under.

“MLB totals are easier to beat than MLB sides, that's why you don't see dime-line totals – period,” says Sevransky. “Unders begat more unders. Overs begat more overs, as staffs stay fresh or get worn down and lineups find their grooves or stay slumping, often for weeks at a time.”

Sevransky points to the Pirates, who have opened the season 1-6 over/under, and the Rangers, who have played under the number in seven of their eight contests, heading into the weekend.

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Posted by rarejerbear
2 years ago

I like playing big dogs as much as the next guy but yesterday (April 15th)eight big favorites won versus one big dog (Pitt). In the end, you have to pick out the right big dogs at the right time, regardless of what time of year it is.
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Posted by tomnolan
2 years ago

wow that dolphin ass is so fine. is it for sale?
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Posted by moejoe318
2 years ago

it's pretty easy betting baseball pick 1 shitty team and pay attention to them i mean really follow them. i follow te orioles. W hen they play the al east teams in the beginning of the year they usually fall short 2 outta 3 and almost all the game go over. you'll see the lines set at 9 or 10 TAKE THE WHITE SOX TOMORROW I LIKE THE YOUNG PITCHER FOR THE ORIOLES AGGERATE OR WHATEVER HIS FUCKING NAME IS BUT THE TOOK 2 FROM THE JAYS AND NOW THERE ON THE ROAD TO PLAY THE W SOX SOX TAKE 2 OUTTA 3 OR SWEEP
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Posted by bettor2win
2 years ago

I rarely bet MLB in the first month, but did this year. Started great then took a dive last 3 days. Luckily, I'm still up. time to slow it down.
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Posted by bej0101
2 years ago

fine ass'
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Posted by ykmichael
2 years ago

Hey, looks like I made all 5 of the biggest mistakes!
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Posted by mrusso
2 years ago

Apr.14, the big odds- HOU +152, W 5-4MIA CHI +173, L 5-1 STL MINNY +147, L 6-2 TEX BAL +149, W 6-4 TOR If you just bet these games, yea you only went 2-2, but at $100 per game, you netted $101. You old pros know what the deal is, this is for the novice bettor. Have fun, be smart, don't get left behind.
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Posted by mrusso
2 years ago

Note also that TEX and LAA were on the losing end of 5 of those games while KC was on the winning end of 3 of those games.
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Posted by mrusso
2 years ago

Early on, rule #1, bet the dogs, the big dogs, +140 or better and you'll get off to a good start. Here are some early season results for you. These are the odds posted on covers that I'm using. April 4-10, 1 week. 4th- STL +161, W4-1 MIA 4th- KC +143, W7-6 SD 6th- SEA +140, W7-6 OAK 7th- KC +168, W6-3 LAA 7th- CHW+155, W4-3 TEX 7th- PITT+ 150, W2-1 PHI 8th- KC +157, W7-3 LAA 9th- SF+149, W7-0 COL 9th- HOU +155, W8-3 ATL 10th- TB+153, W4-2 DET 10th- SEA +196, W4-3 TEX 10th- MIN +155, W6-5 LAA Now these are not all the big spreads, some heavy favs' did actually win, but this is most of them, you get the gist. It's like this every year.
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Top Response

Posted by mrusso
2 years ago

"Early on, rule #1, bet the dogs, the big dogs, +140 or better and you'll get off to a good start. Here are some early season results for you. These are the odds posted on covers that I'm using. April 4-10, 1 week. 4th- STL +161, W4-1 MIA 4th- KC..."