After a brief delay due to a 99-day lockout, the 2022 Major League Baseball season is underway. If you’ve never bet MLB before, it can be a serious grind. However, with a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck, betting on baseball can be incredibly profitable.
Whether you’re a baseball betting veteran or you’re just starting to learn, this article will be a great help to you. Here are 4 tips for betting Major League Baseball in 2022.
1. Consider the Math Behind the Moneyline
Unlike football, there is no point spread in baseball (though there is the -1.5 run line option). The majority of baseball betting is done on the moneyline, which means you simply have to pick the winner. While that may sound easy, it’s no walk in the park!
Let’s say the defending champion Atlanta Braves are playing against the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates. If Max Fried is on the hill for the Braves, the moneyline on Atlanta to win may be -300. This means you’ll have to risk $300 to win $100.
At -300 odds, you’ll have to win 75% of your bets just to break even! This just goes to show how meaningless a bettor’s winning percentage is when betting on baseball. While 55% is a great winning percentage in football betting, you can quickly go broke with that same winning percentage if you bet primarily on big favorites in baseball.
2. Look for Value in the Underdogs
The majority of successful baseball bettors focus on finding the best underdogs on the board each day. Baseball is a funny game. The worst team in the league can and often will beat the best team in the league around 30% of the time. Even awful teams like the Baltimore Orioles and Arizona Diamondbacks still won 32% of their games in 2021.
Because of this, it makes sense to make underdogs the cornerstone of your betting strategy. Did you know that at +150 odds, you only have to win 40% of your bets to break even? That sounds a heck of a lot easier than trying to win 75% of the time with -300 favorites!
3. Understand the Stats that Matter
A lot of novice baseball bettors get too caught up in general stats like earned run average (ERA) and batting average. While there’s nothing wrong with checking those numbers, keep in mind that those types of stats aren’t predictive. Too many bettors burn way too much money by basing their wagers solely on those two stats.
If you really want to crunch numbers for starting pitchers, pay attention to some of the advanced metrics like FIP, xFIP, and SIERA. All three of these stats paint a much clearer picture of what’s really going on with the guys on the mound. Checking a pitcher’s hard-hit percentage and comparing it to the league average is also helpful.
Also, look into BABIP, which stands for Batting Average on Balls In Play. This is a stat that usually regresses back to the mean. The league average for BABIP is usually around .285 or so.
Here’s an example of how to use BABIP in your handicapping. Let’s say you come across a starting pitcher who is 1-4 over his last 5 starts. You check and see that his BABIP is something crazy high like .335 but his hard-hit percentage is actually better than the league average.
More than likely, that pitcher has just been getting unlucky during his starts. Maybe he’s just not receiving any run support from his offense or lots of seeing-eye ground balls are finding the holes. He’s probably due for some positive regression and may be worth a bet.
4. Know the Basics When Betting Totals
If all of the moneyline math makes your head hurt, you can try your hand at betting baseball totals instead. Most of the time, the juice on totals will be in the -110 to -125 range so they’re a little less intimidating than -300 favorites. Here are a few basics to consider whenever betting on baseball totals:
- Ride The Streaks– Hot offenses continue to stay hot until proven otherwise. When betting Overs, make sure at least one of the teams involved has been in a good groove at the plate. When betting Unders, make sure that at least one of the starting pitchers is in good current form.
- Know Thy Umpire– Knowing the home plate umpire is vitally important when betting totals. An ump with a large strike zone like Rob Drake is great for betting Unders. By that same token, an ump with a tiny strike zone like Alfonso Marquez works well when betting Overs. Keep in mind that whichever ump was at first base the day before will be the home plate ump in the next game.
- Check Weather Reports– This one is a biggie! You never want to be holding an Over ticket if the wind is blowing in at 20 miles an hour. When that happens, balls that would normally be home runs are just fly ball outs. Find a trustworthy source for weather when betting MLB totals.
So, as you can see, betting on baseball can be a fun and profitable endeavor. It can also be a fantastic way to build up your bankroll before football season. Stay tuned throughout the season for some of our MLB best bets and winning strategies. Best of luck this season!