Baseball Betting Strategy (continued)
You've made it to the next section of our Baseball Betting Strategy chapter...nice work. We'll cover a few more strategies and pieces of advice that we feel are very important to your overall baseball handicapping philosophy.
Remember, we're sharing this information to help you increase your ROI...not become rich over night. Creating a baseball betting strategy (or strategies) can take time.
There can be a lot of trial and error involved. Before ever placing real money on the line, it's good to either back test your hypothesis as far back as you can (the further back you can go, the better...of course other factors may need to be accounted for as well).
What's important is that you actually run the numbers before jumping in and betting games. A successful handicapper will formulate and then test a baseball betting strategy before ever placing a dime on it.
Now these strategies we share with you in this chapter are designed to make you think and then create your own from there (or take ours a step further). Remember, we're not going to do everything for you, simply because you'll learn so much more along the way doing it yourself.
Enough of me on my soapbox already, let's get back to the good stuff.
Know the Run Line
As you probably know by now, the run line is a 1.5 run spread. You can either bet on a favorite at -1.5 runs or the underdog at +1.5 runs. It's basically a one and a half run point spread.
For run line wagers to be official, the game must go eight and a half innings if the home team is ahead, and must go nine innings if the visitor is ahead (no different than betting on a total, which we'll discuss later in the guide).
There's a number of ways to look at the run line and we'll examine a few of the different strategies here. You may like one over the other, but we simply want to give you different ideas in how to get the best value for betting the run line.
Remember that betting the run line on the away team is going to cost you more because they will bat all 9 innings regardless (while the home team may only bat 8). Because of this, road favorites are only about 50 cents cheaper, while home favorites will be about 90 cents cheaper (again, on average). The extra at bat in the 9th inning by the visiting team can make a big difference...to bad the oddsmakers already take this into account, but it's still important to know.
Historically, baseball games are decided by 1 run about 27-28% of the time (roughly). Home teams win by 1 run about 31% of the time, while away teams only win by one run about 23% of the time (this is regardless of whether the home or away team is the favorite).
It's also very important to look at the total (over/under) set for the game when betting the run line. A higher total typically means a better chance of more runs, which means a better chance of it not being a one run game.
In other words, it's better to take run line favorites when there is a higher total and run line dogs when there is a lower total (obviously, this is not a "set in stone" rule, but something important to remember). However, there's also a very good possibility that the oddsmaker has already accounted for this within the run line odds as well (damn oddsmakers).
I am not a huge fan of betting run line underdogs because I'd much rather have the payout of a money line winner. Plus, the increase in the amount of juice you have to pay to insure against a one run loss is hardly worth it (in my opinion).
Ask yourself if it's really worth to pay an extra 75 cents to insure against a one run loss on an underdog that only happens about 17% of the time (in other words, the favorite only wins by one run about 17% of the time, thus making a run line underdog a pretty expensive baseball betting strategy).
If you're going to bet the run line, then I recommend taking the favorite, but only when it's in your favor to do so. Something that is very interesting to consider is that it doesn't matter if it's a -110 favorite or a -200 favorite, they all win by one a run about the same amount of time.
While most people never consider betting a run line unless it's a favorite of -160 or higher, I look at it the exact opposite because the better value is the other way around.
I can get a much better payout on the run line (plus money) and still have the same chance of winning with a -110 favorite compared to a -200 favorite...in other words, a -110 favorite wins by two or more runs just as much (if not more) than a -200 favorite, plus they have a much better payout (now that is value we like).
Andrew Iskoe over at The Logical Approach did an interesting study that solidified this baseball betting strategy even more. From his analysis, he came to the conclusion that your best value when taking run line favorites is to only take them at +160 or better (the same study also found that you should only take underdogs straight up at +122 or better).
Obviously, you need to incorporate other factors into applying this baseball betting strategy and not just blindly bet +160 or better run line favorites (or +122 or better underdogs). Although a simple study, I truly feel it should open your eyes to run line favorites and the possible +EV that can be found in betting them.
Making a -1 Run Line
Another important baseball betting strategy you can implement is making a run line favorite a -1 run favorite (since it's pretty frustrating to lose your bet if they only win by one run when taking the run line). You can do this by splitting your original wager in half. Half will be bet on the money line, while the other half will be bet on the run line.
Here's an example: Let's say your normal bet size is $100. The money line on Tampa Bay is -150 and the run line is +130. As opposed to risking $100 to win $130 on the run line, you can split your wager in half and bet the money line of $75/$50 and the run line of $50/$65.
If Tampa wins by 1 run, then you will have broken even as opposed to losing $100 when taking only the run line. This type of strategy is a great way to hedge down your run line bet just in case of a 1 run victory (where you'd normally lose $100).
Hitters and Pitchers Bouncing
Back or Falling Back
You probably get the point by now that we make a lot of bets based on mean reversion and that's exactly what this baseball betting strategy is as well (this applies to all sports betting).
Oddsmakers love to inflate or deflate lines after a team/pitchers poor or great performance because they know the public will still bet it...especially on publicly televised games (again, this goes for all sports, not just baseball).
Great value can be found in betting on a team that scored zero runs in there last game (check out the numbers and you'll see it's shown a consistent profit over the years). The same can be said on betting a pitcher that is going through a rough patch (we'll talk more about this in our next baseball betting strategy).
Now this isn't 100% accurate and you definitely have to pick your spots. Since most bettors will only look at recent performance, they can drive the line up, so that it offers a great value to go the other way.
To sum it up though, pay close attention to "good" teams/pitchers that have been slumping because over 162 games, things tend to even themselves out (reversion to the mean...I think I've said that enough).
The exact opposite is true is well. Overall average teams and pitchers can only stay so hot before coming back to their original form. Keep a very close eye on these situations and if you play them correctly over the course of the season, you'll see a nice increase in your ROI.
Pitcher Form Reversal
Now this is a baseball betting strategy that's been around for years, so you may have heard it before, but I still feel it holds some great value. It's all about reversion to the mean (just as you should keep an eye on in all sports betting).
What we're looking for is a pitcher to revert back to his original form after a hot or cold streak. Streaks can happen at anytime throughout the year, but what we're betting on is that the pitcher will revert back. Good pitchers go through rough outings, and bad pitchers will go through good outings.
Jim Barnes is where I first heard of this strategy (a great sports betting author). Basically the way to figure form reversal is to take the pitchers season ERA and double it. Then subtract the pitcher's ERA from the last 3 starts to give you an estimate of true expected performance.
Example of bad pitcher: He has a season ERA of 5.02. Multiply this by 2 and get 10.04. Over the last 3 starts, he's averaged an ERA of 2.99. Then take 10.04 minus 2.99 to get 7.03. 7.03 is a much truer number than the 2.99 in the last 3 starts. Now is the time to be betting against this pitcher because the public will be betting for him, thus driving the line up (great value can be found in form reversion)
Of course the opposite is true as well for a good pitcher. Take his season ERA of 3.10 and multiply by 2 to get 6.20. Take his average ERA over the last 3 starts of 5.02 and subtract from 6.20 to get an ERA of 1.18. Now is the time to be betting on this pitcher, because again, there's a very good chance of finding value in this line.
Obviously, this baseball betting strategy isn't without faults (trust me, none are). Certainly tweaks will need to be made and other data factored in, but it's always nice to have another weapon in you baseball betting arsenal.
Baseball Betting Strategy - Wrap Up
Hopefully you were able to pick up a new baseball betting strategy that you haven't heard of before and can implement into your overall baseball handicapping philosophy. Obviously these are only a few to give you a good base because you'll certainly add many more over the years.
As I've said before, none of these strategies are going make you rich overnight, but they absolutely can add to your ROI over the long term. The information in this chapter along with the tips and advice we've already mentioned in the Baseball Betting Guide should without a doubt help you become a better handicapper.
It's up to you to implement this advice and strictly follow it on a daily basis (discipline is an absolute key to becoming successful). Disciplined bettors make for successful handicappers.
Now that you have some ideas for developing a good baseball betting strategy, let's move on to one of the most profitable strategies that we devoted an entire chapter too: Betting Baseball Totals. As always, best of luck in all your sports betting endeavors.
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