If you want to succeed at betting baseball, then you need to have a handle on the basics. Many say that baseball is the easiest sport to bet on profitably for those who know what they are doing. There may be some truth to this, but only for people who master the basic techniques behind baseball handicapping.

So what are the things that you have to know if you are going to have success over a long, grueling MLB season? The short of it – a WHOLE LOT of variables and data that you have to look over and study vigorously in order to succeed long term.

Here are some basics to master as you look for success.

A Season of Patience

Baseball provides the longest, most grueling season of all. For bettors, this can mean a number of things. An optimistic view is that the long season provides ample opportunity to make money. Considering there’s 162 games in a season, there should be plenty of chances to get in while the getting is good.

You can bet on up to fifteen games for five months, which games in the early afternoon and into the night. What this also means is that you have to have patience. A losing day in baseball is not the end of the world.

You will have the chance to get back on track first thing tomorrow, so you can’t make stupid bets in an effort to reclaim losses. Those who find success betting baseball understand that it’s a grind.

Pitching Isn’t Everything; BUT, it’s Important

You may hear some people talk about how starting pitching accounts for 90% of what happens in a game. This number is probably a little bit over the top, but it does accurately state how important starting pitching is. The starters set the lines, and you have to know how to break them down.

You must understand how well a guy is throwing right now and whether he is fully healthy. You need to know how he matches up against the opposing offense and if the ballpark is a good one for him. In all of this, you should remember that pitching is not the only thing to analyze.

There are plenty more factors including:

– Defensive strength of each time
– Bullpen use in the week leading up to the game (is team A’s closer available?)
– Injuries and lineup modifications
– Strength of each offense
– Intangible factors that might impact performance (travel constraints, motivating factors)

Don’t Get Caught Up in Small Sample Sizes

One of the biggest mistakes made by inexperienced baseball handicappers is putting too much emphasis on small sample sizes. If a pitcher has put together three good starts in a row, that shouldn’t cause you to neglect ten previous years of data that says he’s an average player.

Likewise, don’t fall for hitters on hot streaks. Just because a team was hot yesterday does not mean that they will be hot tomorrow. You can really run into trouble by taking sample sizes and applying them out of context.

A better approach is to look at the numbers over the long run to get an idea of what you are dealing with. The more data you use in your analysis, the more accurate it will be.

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