With a long 162-game season, baseball offers sports bettors amazing opportunities to make a lot of cash. However, it also contains many pitfalls in which bettors stand to lose a lot of money. As a sports bettor, you definitely need to make a majority of your wagers pay off, and preferably by increasing your unit wagers on games that you feel you will win.
That leads to a few questions: How do you make smart bets? What sorts of mistakes should you be wary of making? How do the professional sports bettors do it? Here are five tips designed to help you make bets that win a majority of the time.
The Gambler’s Fallacy, which has been discussed in a separate article on this site, is based on a belief that outcomes in an either/or situation (such as a coin toss) will eventually even out. Many people employ the Gambler’s Fallacy in sports betting, and especially when they wager on MLB.
Why do they use it when betting baseball? This is probably the case for two reasons. The first is that baseball is structured in a series format. If a team loses to its opponent yesterday, and they play again today, then the law of averages dictates that the losing team yesterday should win today. If they lose again and have another game with that same team, then the club that lost two straight should have an even better chance of winning.
However, this is simply untrue. One win or loss is independent of all others. If the law of averages did in fact work, then every team would finish with a .500 record, or 81 wins and 81 losses. This rarely happens in any season, even to a single team.
The other reason that people tend to think that games and bets eventually even out is that they believe that eventually a team will be due to win. It’s as though Fate is guiding the outcome of games and soon enough the fortunes of the team and the bettor will change. There is no evidence that proves this idea.
Some of the ways in which bettors use the Gambler’s Fallacy when placing a wager on MLB games are:
- Betting on a quality pitcher who had a rough previous outing, believing that he couldn’t possibly lose twice in a row.
- Betting on a team whose closer blew the game the night before, because there is no way that a closer can blow a second consecutive save.
- Betting on a first place team that has lost three straight, believing that they have to win their next game. After all, they are in first place for a reason.
The Gambler’s Fallacy is a fool’s game. Do not allow it to dictate your wagering decisions, because if you do then the losses will continue to increase.
The Right Odds
Find the right odds for the game on which you want to bet. If you cannot get the odds that you want, then don’t wager on the game. By the right odds, think of it this way:
The Red Sox are playing the Yankees and it looks to be a close game. You have crunched the numbers and done your research and you like New York by a run. You can get the Yankees on the money line at -120 or on the run line at -1.5 for +120. Which are the best odds in this case?
With the money line, you have to bet $120 to win $100, and with the run line you bet $100 to win $120. Although the run line pays more and ask you to put up less cash, the money line is the preferred bet. This is due to the fact that you’re anticipating a close game, yet you think New York will win.
Although you risk more cash to win less with the money line, the risk in real terms is actually less than it would be if you took the run line at +120. Your chances of winning are better on this particular game when you bet using the money line instead of spotting the other team 1.5 runs on the run line.
You should always wager using the right odds for a particular game and situation.
Pitching, Pitching, Pitching
You may be very excited about a team’s hitting. You may even have good reasons for your excitement. However, if they are facing great starting pitching and a deep bullpen, you could be in for a long night. If that great hitting team is also putting an average or struggling starter on the mound, this game could easily be a win for the opponent. Always weigh pitching first and foremost.
Although many sports bettors roll their eyes or want to go to sleep as soon as the term “bankroll management” is used, the fact is this concept and practice is crucial if you want to be a winning sports bettor. Basic bankroll management works this way:
- Never wager more than 6% of your bank on one bet.
- Make your average bet from 2 to 3 units.
- Never try to make up for losses by doubling up.
As far as unit distribution is concerned, here’s how to utilize your specified, measured betting amounts:
- 1 unit bets 20% of the time (placed on risky wagers)
- 2 unit bets 50% of the time (placed on games you expect to win)
- 3 unit bets 20% of the time (placed on games that you are nearly certain to win)
- 4 unit bets or higher 10% of the time (placed on sure things)
This formula will give you a good chance of winning more than 50% of your bets with about 70% of your units. That equals a good payout.
Don’t Follow the Crowd
When betting baseball (or any other sport), why should you avoid the crowd? Because a majority of the time, the crowd is wrong. The general betting public tends to go with the favorite a large percentage of the time, and a large percentage of the time they lose. It’s that simple.
Why are they wrong so often? Because the betting public does not do their homework, their wagers are based on minimal knowledge, and they don’t take sports betting seriously. If you’re following the advice in this article and others on this site, then you are way ahead of the game. Stay true to your handicapping process, and you’ll come out a winner.
The 55% Mark
When you bet on an entire baseball season, your goal is to win between 55% and 60% of your bets. You can have a higher goal, but the best of the very best sports bettors make their living by winning between 55% and 60% of their wagers. If you practice solid unit distribution and follow the tips in this article, you’ll be making smart bets with smart money and taking home cash.