If bookies and sports bettors had their wish, every World Series would go the full seven games. It is the last series of what has been a long season, it gets a lot of attention, and it offers many fine betting opportunities. You may bet each individual game in various ways, and you can even wager on who will win the entire series and in how many games. Plus, if you made a futures bet long ago and you’re still in the running, this is the time when you can cash in.
If you decide to make a bet on which team will win the series and in how many games, remember that this is a prop wager. Props such as this, where numerous choices are involved, are very tough to get right. In essence, this bet is a combination of wagers, a bit like a parlay.
The first part of the bet (the winning team) is a 50-50 proposition, but the second, depending upon how it’s set up, is one in which you will usually have four choices: four, five, six, or seven games.
That makes this prop exceptionally hard to hit. The fact that you have two basic choices makes it a difficult bet to get right, but then the fact that the second half of the prop involves four choices makes it exceptionally problematic for the sports bettor who is trying to make money.
The bottom line here is if you’re going to make this bet, do so using few units. Save most of your bankroll for betting on games and totals. Also, check at different sports books, as you may be able to find better odds on various choices and utilize arbitrage with careful unit distribution. Even if you can’t take advantage of diverse odds, you should still shop around for the best value that you can find.
You may wonder if you should wager on other props such as MVP, strikeout or homerun totals. The short answer is, no. Props are notoriously profitable for one group of people only, and it neither the betting public nor the professional sports bettor. It is the bookies.
Many people who love betting on baseball are attracted to props during the World Series mainly because during the series, unlike in the regular season, they only have one game every few days on which to bet, and they feel the need to make more wagers. Instead of wagering on sucker bets such as the numerous props that will be offered, spend time on handicapping each game and put your cash down on the winner and totals.
Handicap each game individually. In order to do this, you’ll want to first get a solid overview of each team, which includes your summation of each team’s chances of winning the series. Then get down to the all-important stats, starting with pitching. When handicapping pitchers, or any players in the series, consider their performance in the playoffs up to this point, as well as if they are tired or injured.
When analyzing each pitcher, consider how many innings you think they will last, how they will matchup with hitters, and if they are at a disadvantage if they are visiting the other team’s ballpark and playing by National League rules (no DH) or American League rules (DH).
You’ll also need to consider bullpen depth and efficiency in all areas. Some categories include middle and late innings relief pitching, setup man and closer, fielding percentages, veterans versus young players, and the quality and style of each manager.
For the first game especially, take into consideration if one team is coming in rested, after a four-game sweep or five-game win of their league championship, and the other is starting the World Series after going seven games and playing in some extra innings contests. Fatigue can really decrease a pitching staff’s effectiveness.
Taking time to carefully handicap each team, each matchup, and likely game situations is the essence of making the right wager. If you do your homework, you’ll be more likely to make a solid bet. Be sure to readjust your vision of each team as the series unfolds. What did you learn about each team in the first game that you didn’t know before? Are there new factors to consider, such as an injury or a new player getting hot at the right time?
After game one, remember that game two is a completely new situation. One game does not influence the next – believing there is a relationship is an example of The Gambler’s Fallacy.
What is Momentum?
Too many people don’t understand momentum. Players and coaches do, but many who are a part of the betting public misinterpret this concept. One reason has to do with the media, and their misuse of the term.
Players and coaches will tell you that momentum is contained in each game, and that it is not a force that carries over from one contest to the next. Many people who cover sports will make you think the opposite: that the walk-off home run in game one is a part of game two. It doesn’t work that way, except possibly in a small psychological way. In general however, the situation, the players, and the game itself comprise a whole new entity when the ump shouts, “Play ball!” for the next game.
Each game is self-contained. Each game has a new starting pitcher, and each game will have new situations. Although a walk-off homer, a sound drubbing, or a pitcher’s duel in game one will give you some information on the series, the momentum from that game stays with that game. Game two has a new energy and will contain its own momentum shifts.
Using Units Wisely
Utilize your betting units wisely. Don’t feel the need to make a four, five, or six unit bet just because it’s the World Series and there are fewer betting opportunities when compared to the regular season. It is better to make smart, sensible bets rather than tossing away cash on bad bets that only serve to deplete your bank. Successful sports betting is really two parts: making money, and avoiding needless losses. It’s a good idea to make two bets on a game, one on the outcome and the other on the over/under.
Choosing Money Line or Run Line
It is the classic question: Do you go with the money line or the run line? First of all, this will change from game to game. Basically what you want to do is get the best odds for the particular outcome you’re projecting.
In the first game, let’s say in a series between the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals that the money line looks like this:
St Louis +165
Boston – 155
For the same game, the run line looks like this:
St Louis +1.5 -135
Boston – 1.5 +145
In our example, the Red Sox are favored in game one. If you feel that Boston will win by four runs in the first game, then the run line (with Boston at -1.5) may be your best bet. It gives you better odds than the money line, and according to your handicapping, you’re making a low-risk sports bet.
With the run line, you bet $100 to win $145, whereas with the money line you risk $155 to win $100. Of course, if you think it will be closer and the Sox will win by two, then you should take the money line. If you feel it will be even closer but Boston will win, then the Cardinals are your choice with the run line.
Totals odds will be influenced by the previous playoff series and will take into consideration pitching matchups, bullpen strength and stamina, and hitting prowess. Get a good sense of each pitching staff, as this will be the major determining factor in what side of the over/under you take. As you should with all odds, check out numerous sites. You may find a half-run or even a full run difference that can give you a huge edge.
Wait until Next Year
After all is said and done and the World Series is over, you might say to yourself, “Wait until next year.” After a day or two, you should change the phrase to, “Prepare for next year.”
After counting up your profits or losses, it will be time to get your head back into the game. Closely assess how you did this season and how you might adjust your game so that you do even better next year. With baseball, after all, the next season is always just a few cold months away.