Baseball Handicapping

Written by: Joseph Falchetti, Editor-in-Chief, Pro Sports Bettor and Casino Expert
Last updated:
6 minute read
Baseball Handicapping Explained

Baseball handicapping is entirely different than other sports in many ways, but the basics of profitable sports betting remain the same. Baseball handicapping knowledge not only has value in Major League Baseball but can also be used for other leagues.

Baseball is one of the most valuable sports to become profitable at if you’re taking sports wagering seriously and want to make some significant money.

One of the biggest mistakes that amateur sports bettors make is packing it in once basketball season ends. Baseball is the only sport in town for several months.

If you can learn to handicap it accurately, it’s months of further betting action and potential profits. Sports gamblers that don’t bet baseball are sitting on the sidelines when there is a lot of extra dough to be made.

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What is Baseball Handicapping?

Handicapping on Baseball

Sports handicapping in betting is the process of assigning an advantage between two unequal teams or participants. Often, this is done via the point spread.

However, when it comes to baseball betting, there is no point spread. Instead, it is done through moneyline odds and MLB run lines. Several factors go into handicapping baseball games.

Different Factors When Handicapping

The starting pitcher is not the only factor when handicapping two baseball teams. However, it is the primary factor when deciding an advantage between two teams.

The team’s offense, defensive prowess, and bullpen are also weighted, but not as much as the starting pitcher.

Of course, there are plenty of other factors, such as the ballpark, rest, etc., to pay attention to when handicapping.

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How Does Handicapping Baseball Help in MLB Betting?

MLB Handicapping

Understanding the game of baseball will help you tremendously when wagering on MLB betting markets.

Handicapping MLB games is a lot more than looking at two pitchers and two teams and saying to yourself, “I think that team can beat this team.”

That’s why many people lose at sports betting and wagering on baseball.

Focus on the Numbers

Instead, the focus should be on numbers. Your goal when handicapping baseball should be to analyze odds and bet on those, rather than focusing on whether a team can win the game or not.

Baseball has an extremely long season, and one side or team doesn’t have a massive edge over another when it comes to a single game. Just like the MLB franchise, your goal is to win often to turn a profit.

You can do that by focusing on odds to win instead of picking teams to win.

Handicapping Baseball Benefits

There are a few important benefits when betting on MLB. These aren’t nitty-gritty, but they will get you to focus on the right aspects of wagering on MLB.

More Betting Profits

Quite simply, if you’re not betting baseball, then you’re missing out on a lot of wagering opportunities. It’s the only game in the dog days of summer for a few months.

The game offers thousands of betting opportunities (literally!). There is no better feeling than having a profitable baseball season as the NFL approaches.

More Betting Knowledge

Learning another sport is always valuable when it comes to sports gambling. If you’re unable to beat another sport successfully, then you will still have other options when it comes to profiting from sports wagering.

That’s if you expand your knowledge, anyway. Either way, growing your sports betting knowledge into other sports can’t hurt.

It’s Great If You’re A Stats Nerd

Baseball betting is a dream come true if you’re into statistics and numbers. The sport is so heavily dependent on analytics.

It runs the game from a management perspective and when it comes to building wager odds. The best baseball handicappers understand advanced baseball statistics better than the oddsmakers.

Handicapping Baseball Mistakes

There are a few mistakes that must be avoided when handicapping baseball. These mistakes will doom bettors from the start.

A few of them center around the basics of betting on sports, as those don’t change when it comes to handicapping MLB.

Not Line Shopping

Not shopping odds is one of the biggest mistakes that sports bettors make. Instead, they often deposit into a single online sportsbook and use odds from just that betting site for wagering.

This is a poor decision because it doesn’t allow you to line shop. You won’t get the best price on your wagers, and that’s one of the easiest ways to increase your bottom line profits.

Not Using Dime Lines

A dime line refers to the price difference between the favorite in the underdog. If you’re wagering baseball, you want to be using dime lines.

Some sites will have dime lines for any baseball markets, and they should be avoided if you’re wagering on MLB. Betting dime lines will save you a massive amount on sportsbook fees.

Forgetting About Totals

A lot of bettors, in all sports, often forget about betting totals. What many bettors don’t realize is that it’s usually easier to predict how a game might play out from a scoring perspective than which team will win.

Also, it’s notable that wagering limits on totals are far lower than sides, for not just MLB baseball, but all sports.

How to Handicap Baseball Games (Strategy & Tips)

As mentioned above, handicapping baseball is entirely different than other sports.

The season is much longer than any other competition and you don’t need to hit the 52.38% that is necessary to profit when betting -110 priced wagers.

Below we will go over our top 10 steps to become a successful MLB handicapper and profitable bettor.

  1. Choose A Reputable Betting Site

    It’s important not to deposit at the first betting site you come across. There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing an online sportsbook, but the most important is that they pay on time.
  2. Pick A Sportsbook with Dime Lines

    Dime lines are a must if you’re betting on MLB baseball.
    Not only do you need to find a reputable sportsbook, but also one that has dime lines available for baseball betting.

    There is little use signing up and wagering at a sportsbook if you plan to bet baseball and there are no dime lines.
  3. Maximize Your Bonus

    At most sportsbooks, there are deposit bonuses offered when signing up. Take advantage of these MLB bonuses and try to get the full amount of free play or cash bonus available.

    For instance, if a site offers a 50% bonus up to $1,000 on your first deposit, deposit $2,000, so you can get the maximum bonus.
  4. Learn Baseball Betting Basics

    If you’re not aware of how baseball betting markets work or the variety of bets available – well, we have an exhaustive MLB betting guide.

    Familiarize yourself with the markets available and how the wagers are graded before you dive fully into handicapping.
  5. Establish A Bankroll Strategy

    The baseball season lasts over six months. To keep your head above water during losing streaks – you will need to manage your bankroll properly.

    Baseball can be high variance and losing streaks will happen. Even the best sports gamblers fall prey to bankroll management.
  6. Dive Into Advanced Statistics

    There are statistics that will give an edge over the oddsmakers if you can learn them properly and adapt them to your betting strategy.

    Traditional stats, such as ERA, WHIP, and batting average are worthless when it comes to handicapping MLB.
  7. Avoid Heavy Favorites

    Heavy favorites are tough to profit from and have quite the downside
    . You need to win a -200 favorite about 67% of the time, just to break even on that bet.

    Baseball is a game of short-term luck and taking big favorites regularly is not a great strategy.
  8. Get the Know the Umpires

    You shouldn’t merely bet a game based on who is behind the plate, but it is another factor to consider when handicapping a game.

    However, certain umpires have their biases towards hitters and pitchers and learning them will save you time when handicapping a game.
  9. Don’t Forget About Bullpens

    Bullpens can be half the game in many cases, as a lot of teams have starters who can’t make it past the 5th or 6th.

    The strength of a team’s bullpen and how much rest they have are all factors you should consider before placing a bet.
  10. Bet Propositions

    MLB props markets aren’t as expansive as other sports, but there is still plenty of value to be had when betting MLB props.

    These have lower limits than sides and totals but are a lot less sharp

Make Sure to Check our MLB Betting Guide

About the Author

Joseph Falchetti

Joseph Falchetti

Editor-in-Chief, Pro Sports Bettor and Casino Expert

Joe is the author of the majority of sports betting pages on SBS and he serves as a gambling consultant to our content team. He's been mentioned on as a gaming analyst, and his articles have been linked by larger publications, such as the New York Times.

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