Posted: 4/5/2009 12:35:48 AM
As the MLB season is upon us, it might be time to think about your strategy for betting bases. There are 2 main schools of thought for handicapping, handicapping a winner - or handicapping a line.
From my perspective, the vast majority of MLB bettors handicap a winner. They come up with reasons to bet a team and while the line comes in to their thought process, they are looking for a winner. This leads to betting lots of favorites, and often paying too high of a price for teams. Chasing is not only for bet amounts - a lot of people chase a line too - thinking "if its a winner at -150 it is a winner at -160 so Im still betting it". In my opinion, this is a recipe for longterm MLB disaster.
The second way to bet baseball is to handicap a line, and bet on the side that gives you the most value in relation to your line. When you come up with a line, you are not coming up with the line you think will be closest to the betting line - you are coming up with a line that you think is an accurate reflection of results. If those 2 teams played 100 times, the line you handicap would break a bettor even if they took one side all of those times.
Using this method, you could end up on either side of any game on any day based upon what the line is, regardless of whether you think they will win that day or not. In MLB you are often betting on teams you think have a better chance of losing that day than winning, but the line is the great equalizer. Lots of guys go sub .500 in MLB and win lots of money.
Baseball, more than any other sport, is a longterm venture. So overpaying even 3 or 4 cents will kill you longterm - its just like paying a tax. Do yourself a favor and get numerous outs - and always always always bet the best line you can - and make sure you have reduced juice books in that mix. Dont make the mistake of saying "5 cents is no big deal" - it is a big deal - every penny is a big deal on lines.
The average bettor would be better off line shopping and betting the best available line than increasing his win percentage by 3%. For some reason, people like to put all of their time in to handicapping and then pay too much for the team they bet.
Remember - the number one determinant of longterm sportsbetting success is how often you beat the closing line and by how much.
So the next time you read someones writeup and it is loaded with comments about how they think a pitcher will come to play, or how a team is motivated, or anything of the sort - remember one thing - all of that doesnt matter if you are paying too much for that team - and if that line is 10 cents too much you should be playing the other side.
In my opinion, the only way to make money at MLB longterm is to handicap the line by predicting results, and betting whichever side is value in relation to that number. This takes a totally unemotional approach, as you cant "fall in love" with any team on any day, but instead you will be falling in love with your bankroll as you profit on the marathon that is MLB.