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Baseball Betting Strategy for a Long Season

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When it comes to professional sports, Major League Baseball’s 2,430-game regular season is abnormally lengthy. Professional baseball players compete in just over ten times as many games as athletes in the NFL and double the number of games as their counterparts in the NBA. While this can be a bit overwhelming for someone hoping to handicap all of the games in an MLB season, there are ways to approach betting such an extensive schedule.

Actually, baseball’s multitude of contests is one of its most advantageous qualities for sports bettors. The sport is all about the numbers, with a vast sum of conventional and advanced statistics tracked and recorded throughout the year. This gives baseball bettors tons of data to study and a massive sample size from which to draw their conclusions.

The long season also provides ample opportunity to adapt betting methods and cultivate more accurate handicapping strategies as the year progresses. Once an edge is found, there is tons of time to exploit it for profit, while continuing to tweak it for even better results. But you’ll need to have a plan before the first game is played. Because betting throughout the entire season will require quite the bankroll, particularly if you don’t organize your finances and staking systems beforehand.

In this article, we’re going to highlight the significance of preparing for long-season baseball betting strategy ahead of time and share some tips on making your money last until the fall. We’ll also examine some of the methods and strategies that you should execute throughout the summer to ensure yourself a rewarding season. It may take some time and effort to develop a winning baseball betting strategy, but when it comes to Major League Baseball, time is one thing we’ve got.

Planning Ahead Financially

Before the season starts, you should get your financials in order. There are so many baseball games taking place any given day that if you don’t know exactly how much to spend for the year, the frequency with which you’re betting, and how you want to focus and organize your wagers, it’s easy to get lost and confused. It’s smarter to spend a little extra time up front so that you may be measured and organized for the rest of the summer.

Bankroll Building and Management

The first step to having a financially healthy season is to build your bankroll. This consists of examining your money and determining how much you’re willing to budget for long-season baseball betting. The amount that you choose should be enough to fund the number of picks you’d like to make for the year, while also causing no disruption to your life should you lose it all.

Typically, we advise that you set aside the total bankroll at the start of the year, but you may also want to decide on an amount per month, where you add a pre-determined value from your income every four weeks. Then, once you have a bank, it’s time to decide how far it needs to stretch.

Staking Plans

Staking plans are a way to manage your bankroll to make sure it can accommodate all of the sports betting you hope to do. Upon calculating the size of your bankroll, the next decision should be regarding how many wagers you plan to make per week or month. Once you set a number of bets, you mustn’t go over that number and risk losing more than you can responsibly lose.

The staking plan will organize your money into individual picks. If you’re on a fixed plan, you merely divide the total bankroll value by the number of bets you’d like to make for the season, and the answer is your amount to stake per contest.

Another popular option is to use a percentage-based plan so that your individual wagers increase or decrease in response to your wins and losses. For example, you may decide to bet 5% of the total bank per game. If you win, 5% of the bank will be a more substantial bet when you make your next pick. And since your staking values will decrease during losing streaks, you’ll run through your bankroll slower if you hit a rough stretch.

What you absolutely do not want to do is to bet random amounts in an unorganized fashion. If you are a smart baseball bettor who keeps value in mind, there needs to be a consistency to your staking to capitalize on the numbers game. Otherwise, you may be winning the right bets while still losing your bankroll.

Betting for value doesn’t always mean winning a high percentage of your plays. You don’t have to because the wins pay out enough to still turn a profit. But if you’re putting different amounts on different games, you might lose too much on your larger picks to make it up with the victories.

Focus on Familiar Teams or Divisions

With the high concentration of games in any given week during the season, it’s almost impossible for a single person to dedicate enough time for each matchup to handicap the contests effectively. You may be able to look over some basic stats and win-loss records for all of the MLB clubs that are playing, but these surface-level numbers won’t help you make the right choices very consistently. You’re much better served by having a few teams or maybe a division or two on which you primarily focus.

Since you only have a limited number of wagers accommodated for by your bankroll, it’s important to be discerning and picky about the games on which you’re betting. Only lay down some cash if you feel confident in your knowledge of both competitors and have sound reasoning behind the choices you make. Don’t worry – even if you cut your focus down to only a handful of teams, they’ll still each give you 162 betting opportunities!

Find a Statistical Database

Database
If you’re going to dedicate some time to long-season baseball betting, you’ll need a reliable database with a wealth of statistics. You can find simple baseball stats almost anywhere, but a quality tool will allow you to apply lots of different filters and manipulate the data to isolate different variables and find complex scenarios that relate to wins. It’s never a bad idea to have more than one location from which to pull information.

One excellent service as far as researching baseball for the purposes of handicapping is concerned is Bet Lab. This website allows you to explore pre-existing systems and apply a wide range of filters to find valuable angles from which to gain an edge and build your own baseball betting strategies, all without needing to know how to code. It’s a subscription service, but if you’re serious about handicapping, you’ll need this kind of information at your disposal.

Regression Analysis

Creating a long-season baseball betting strategy requires the handicapper to collect, prioritize, and cultivate various statistics and data points to use for decision making. Regression analysis is the act of combing through old information and isolating independent variables that appear to correlate strongly to baseball wins and losses. You can play with datasets for days, applying more and more filters to find specific scenarios with a pattern of producing a particular outcome.

A great benefit of the lengthy season is how much data is generated in a relatively short amount of time. You rarely have to worry about inadequate sample size when wagering on Major League Baseball. After you’ve played around with many statistics, identify the factors you plan to base your decisions on going forward. You’ll be making tweaks throughout the year, but the earlier you can get a good foundation of values on which to base decisions, the better.

Build Data-Collecting Framework

Once you have some specific teams or divisions that you’re focused on and an idea of what stats are most significant, it’s a good idea to set some sort of framework to lessen your workload each week. You’re probably going to have numerous sources from which to pull data, including MLB statistical databases, park factors and umpire stats, weather reports, and the sportsbook odds. At this point, you’ll want to have a central location to which you can pull all of the information to analyze in one place.

If you do use a service like Bet Labs, your MLB betting systems will be on the website, and they’ll text you whenever a game matching your parameters is coming up. When that happens, you can always consolidate the info into a spreadsheet, then include additional factors. If you’re good at programming spreadsheets, you can even have them pull the information from different spots automatically, which gives you much more time to research instead of wasting time collecting statistics.

Analyze/Model the Data

AnalyzeNow that you’ve identified the primary ingredients you’ll be using to make your predictions, found a database that hosts the stats you’re interested in, and built a central location to collect the information, the next step is to analyze what you’ve compiled and make some determinations about the probability of each outcome taking place. This is a step that will receive different levels of attention based on the seriousness of the bettor.

The professional handicappers create analytical models that can compile and analyze the information. After all of the desired numbers are collected, the sports bettor then gives each statistic a different weight, since some data plays a more significant role in winning baseball games than others. Then, the pros will run thousands, if not millions, of simulations which show the various possible outcomes. The results that occur most frequently are the most probable to happen.

If you can’t build a model that runs simulations of the contest ahead of time, you can just combine all of the details into one place, then study them yourself. After considering all of the variables for the game, make a prediction for the game, and keep notes on your table explaining why you made the picks you made.

That way, after the bets are concluded, you can go back and see which thought processes were correct and which factors mattered most. As long as you keep records of your decisions and their outcomes, you can learn and adapt your systems as the season progresses.

Develop an Edge

Once you have the framework designed and a system for compiling and analyzing the details of the baseball game, it’s time to continuously make subtle alterations to improve the accuracy of your predictions further. If you find an edge that’s helping you exploit mispriced betting odds, keep hammering that strategy for as long as it’s profitable.

If a system works for too long, the information usually gets out, at which point the sportsbooks adjust their lines to lessen the edge’s value. Handicapping baseball games is never complete, and you never have a perfect strategy that works forever. It’s a constant effort to find new patterns and trends in the numbers while adjusting how heavily you weight or prioritize the statistics.

You should also eliminate any factors that don’t prove to be helpful when setting your own betting lines. Often, you’ll find a stat that gradually gets prioritized less and less until it’s finally dropped altogether. When you make an adjustment, and the accuracy of your predictions improves, keep that change and look for other alterations. If your tweaks lead to worse results, undo them and rework other points of data.

Roster Availability

The length of the MLB season creates many scenarios in which clubs don’t play at full power in numerous contests throughout the year. Between the long road trips and games almost every day, fatigue and injuries are always something to consider when handicapping games. While you may have an analytical model full of numbers, those variables won’t influence the game at all if the athletes aren’t participating in the game.

For that reason, in addition to your handicapping, you should keep an eye on the injury reports and the lineups released by the manager prior to each contest. If you have stats on a frequent backup, that’s ideal, but if you don’t, you’ll need to make a decision regarding how severely the absence will impact the team.

Travel/Fatigue

Travel is a huge performance influencer, especially after long stints on the road. Researchers at Northwestern University found that circadian rhythms are a significant factor for baseball players, and when they’re disrupted, athletes struggle to maintain their usual form. This internal body clock is most off-kilter after spending several days on the west coast and then traveling east.

Teams that return home to the east after a western road trip experience a proven drop-off in hitting averages while also giving up higher-than-average run totals. Furthermore, it takes a full twenty-four hours to recover for every time zone traveled through on the return home. So, the jet lag could potentially last for an entire series, providing some decent betting opportunities on which to keep an eye.

Injuries

Players will also experience nagging injuries, so you’ll want to keep an eye on the disabled list. In Major League Baseball, they share the nature of the problem as well as the amount of time expected to be missed. For example, the report will say “Ribs Contusion – 10-day DL (disabled list),” so you have an idea of when they’ll be back for you to factor into your handicapping. Always keep an eye on the injury reports so that you don’t include any meaningless data in your analysis.

Rest Days

Another reality of the regular season is players taking games off despite being healthy. Clubs would prefer to play at a disadvantage here and there throughout their campaign rather than risk a chronic injury or letting their players fatigue down the stretch. The problem with healthy scratches for gamblers is that the news isn’t always announced with much notice before the game starts.

There’s not a ton you can do to prevent this happening; it’s just a part of Major League Baseball. You can somewhat anticipate squads resting players when they’re significantly better than their upcoming opponent, but beyond that, you’ll need to really know a club to predict when their manager is going to make decisions to rest star players.

Bet with the Streaks

During the marathon Major League Baseball campaign, clubs will go through all kinds of ups and downs, hot streaks, and performance lulls. With so many games, it’s a challenge for athletes to stay wholly engaged and focused one hundred percent of the time. In a sport like baseball that’s so data-driven, it’s natural to experience the full range of probabilities during the year, and that includes the occasional winning or losing streak.

Many casual bettors make the mistake of trying to guess when a streak will end. The rationale is usually that the team experiencing the run of wins is “due” for a loss or that they will be regressing to the mean. This is the wrong move, as these patterns can continue for quite some time in the MLB. You’re much better served by betting with the streaks and riding them out for as many earnings as possible.

The Wrap-Up

The Major League Baseball season is comprised of thirty franchises each playing a 162-game regular-season schedule. They then compete in a four-round playoff which culminates with a champion in early November. While the length of the MLB year in months doesn’t stand out when compared to other professional sports leagues, the number of contests squeezed into those summer months is unparalleled.

With such a massive slate of games available, it’s on the handicappers to develop an approach to betting baseball that allows them to succeed without getting in over their heads. There are so many games to wager on per day that an unorganized gambler could quickly blow through their entire bankroll within the first couple weeks of the season. And with all of the data required to research, trying to get a grasp on all of the clubs and their tendencies can be quite the undertaking.

That’s why organizing the bankroll and frequency of bets ahead of time is paramount to winning. Furthermore, it’s advised to limit gambling to a few specific teams or divisions with which you’re most familiar. That way, you can eliminate a lot of the noise and guesswork and only bet the matchups with the highest probability of being won.

For the professional handicappers, the trick to wagering on a broader range of contests is building a quality statistical model. Once you have an efficient way of pulling all the relevant data into one place and an accurate analysis of those numbers, the algorithms can do much of the work. However, the people that manage these statistical analytics systems spend countless hours over years of betting with constant refinement before the model returns significant earnings.

If you’re not quite ready to dedicate full-time-job-like effort to your sports handicapping, you can still prepare for the long season and find some success with less investment. Having a few teams about which you possess a deep understanding is preferable to collecting superficial stats for all of the clubs. There’s no shortage of games on which to bet, so why not be as discerning as possible to maximize your time, knowledge, and bankroll?