How to beat the heat - and the books - in the 'Dog Days' of the MLB season

Jul 4, 2018 |

July is here and with it comes the middle chunk of the MLB season. Here are some tips and tactics to follow when betting those hot summer days at the ballpark.

With 162 games on the schedule for each team, the major league baseball season is almost an organic entity. It grows and changes with every passing month, and so should the way you handicap the daily MLB action. With the All-Star break on the way, and temperatures as well as playoff races heating up, we’re delivering some helpful handicapping “how-to’s” right down the middle. Batter up!

The heat is on

If you couldn’t tell from the buckets of sweat pouring down your face, we’re in one of the hottest starts to summer in some time. Punishing heat has plagued the majors in recent weeks, and is something baseball bettors need to consider when making their plays.

First, heat usually goes hand-in-hand with humidity, which can give those flyballs a little extra hang. That means more home runs and deep shots, especially in places like Texas. If you find a big-swinging team matched up against a flyball pitcher in hot and humid conditions, you could score some hidden value betting the Over.

Find up to the minute forecasts, including stadium maps and wind speeds, on our MLB Weather page.

Heat is also tough on starting pitchers, simply because they have to stand out there on the mound, cooking in the sun, while batters can come and go from the shade of the dugout. Slender pitchers seem to be impacted by the hot weather more than heftier hurlers, who can absorb the punishment of the summer sun. When facing scorching conditions, it might be smart to see how the scheduled hurlers handle the heat.

Wear and tear

With the calendar flipping to July, major leaguers have three-months of nightly punishment wearing on them. It’s around this point in the season that we see crowded disabled lists, with star players, starting pitchers, and key components breaking down.

Baseball bettors will want to dissect any injury to a regular contributor. If a lead-off hitter is out of action, how will that lineup perform without them setting the table? If a starter is suddenly injured, who is the replacement arm and does it deplete the bullpen? All questions you need answers to. 

On the back end of this, returning talents can give a team a sudden lift, so be mindful of healthy additions and what the team was lacking before those bodies were back on the diamond. 

Trust the numbers

Early into the baseball season, we see some surprises results and anomalies. But now that we’re three months in, what you see is pretty much what you get from big league clubs. So, don’t expect a sudden 180 from teams or starters who may be streaking or slumping. 

Handicapping MLB umpires is one of the best ways to get an edge over the books. Find out how to cap ump trends.

If anything, streaks and slumps should hold a lot more weight. In other sports like football or basketball, teams get extended breaks to correct or cool off. That’s not the case in baseball, which sees teams playing six and seven games in a week. 

The odds are really tight come July and August, due to all that data being available, so rather than betting against those trends, you should lean in and play on hot teams and fade the cold ones. Don’t try to be too contrarian, if you can help it. 

For more MLB betting odds and insight, visit Covers baseball home page and be sure to follow us on Twitter @Covers for the best MLB betting news and notes. This baseball season, “Winning Starts Here.”