With winter refusing to die and give way to spring, it may not feel like baseball season out there. But sure enough, the ice will thaw and MLB teams will toss out the first pitch of their new campaigns and sportsbooks will be posting MLB betting odds before you know it.
If you’ve been too buried in the March Madness brackets to think about baseball or you’re trying your hand at the MLB odds for the first time, here are some tips and tactics that can help you cash in on the early-season action on the diamond.
GET TO KNOW YOUR UMPIRE
One of the best-kept secrets when it comes to baseball handicapping is Covers’ MLB ump trends. You cap the teams and starting pitchers, why not the guy calling the balls and strikes? Every home plate umpire is different and have varying strike zones.
That means an ump with a liberal strike zone matched up with the pitcher that likes to paint the corners could give added value to the Under in those starts. But place that same pitcher against an umpire with a tight strike zone, and those strikes soon become balls, those balls become runs, and those runs quickly get exchanged into cash for those that bet the Over.
WHAT'S THE WEATHER?
Mother Nature throws just about everything she’s got at major league clubs early in the season. It’s no surprise to see games called due to snow storms, especially on the East Coast or in Colorado. Temperatures can be awfully chilly this time of year, especially in night games, so take a look at how warm-climate and indoor teams take to the cold when playing a freezing road game.
The change in seasons also stirs up some strong winds, which can wreak havoc on your Over/Under bets. Baseball bettors can find in-depth MLB weather reports on Covers, showing wind speed and direction, then can check out our stadium pages to see the average run production in those exact weather conditions.
Many baseball bettors don’t think twice about spring training results, and they’re not completely wrong. While the final score of those exhibition games doesn’t matter, what does is how the starting pitchers performed in those tune-up tilts.
Starters that struggled in the spring session can often carry over those woes into the start of the regular season, so take a dive into their warm-up games and why they could be out of form. And on the contrary, pitchers that performed well during spring ball – especially those number three or four starters in a rotation – can stay hot in the early workings of the schedule and present some good moneyline value in their first few appearances.
DIG FOR DOGS
As is the case for most sports, the playing field between books and bettors is never more level than in those first few weeks of the season. Many of the early-schedule odds will be based on last year’s results, so if you can find a team or a starting pitcher that is performing above their previous standard there are some live moneyline underdogs on the board. It usually takes about a month to get a good grasp on teams and around three or four starts before pitchers are priced correctly, so make the most of this opportunistic window in late March and April.
It is much easier to get a feel for baseball odds once teams have played 50 or so games and stats and trends begin to reveal themselves. But early on, bettors don’t have that luxury. However, there are some places baseball bettors can find some meaningful stats. We’re talking about splits. Does a certain starter pitch better at home or on the road? Is there a certain lineup they struggle against? Or did a team have trouble hitting against left-handed pitching the season before. These are the types of numbers bettors should be looking at early on.
For more MLB betting odds and insight, visit Covers baseball home page and be sure to follow us on Twitter @Covers all season long for the best MLB betting news and notes. This baseball season, “Winning Starts Here.”