Betting Baseball 101 – Fading the Public

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Photo by Keenan Constance on Unsplash
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It is a common belief among the sports world that Joe Q. Public doesn’t know how to bet let along pick the winning side.

This belief is rooted in the line of truth that on average most don’t. They put their $20 on their favorite team without minimal reasoning other than it’s their favorite team and their out with their buddies and want a little skin in the game.

So the question then becomes what can you do with this information?

Can you use this to your advantage to make profitable bets?

You will find many websites and networks that say yes. That if you can obtain this information usually through a pay wall that all you need to do is bet against this public information and you will be on the right side and be profitable. This idea comes from the understanding that “Vegas wasn’t built by winners.”

While this information about Las Vegas is accurate what many fail to realize that the Sportsbook is one of the least profitable areas in the entire casino and in my aspects a Loss Leader to get people in the casino to spend their money on slot machines.

Usually public betting information is presented in two different ways.

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The Dollar Amount Wagered and the Percentage of Total Bets Wagered.

Where this is helpful is you can, in theory, compare the two and determine where their wagers are being placed and then simply bet against the public bettors to long term be profitable.

What this doesn’t take into considering is what the casino has already done to account for these wagers. The casino/sportsbook also has this information often well before you ever will and they have moved the line accordingly to account for this wagering.

Also is the public betting information you are often paying for accurate or is the information you are being presented now stale and no longer of add value.

We have found these two bit of information to combat against using this as a winning betting strategy.

Can this information be helpful?

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Yes, we have found this information to be helpful in steering us away from more bets than actually helping us bet more often. This is just as useful when evaluating game line information. This is extremely helpful if perhaps there has been a substantial amount of public wagers and the betting line is now dead and the line has moved so far away from the opening line you have lost any advantage you may have had while completing your handicapping analysis.

This is most common with the NFL especially on games like Monday Night Football. The public has poured money into the game and moved the line so far away from your expectation the game is no longer worth of betting on

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Over the long term where this information has been influential is on point totals. The public on average loves points to be scored and we love to play the under on point totals when totals shoot up. We don’t see this as much in baseball with run lines except for Coors. If Coors is on a Sunday Night we have seen the run line increase because of the inherent stadium bias of Coors.

It is important to understand how the public bets but it should not be your only principle to use when making your wagering decisions. You should complete your own handicapping and your own team analysis. Then use the public betting information to as part of your decision making.

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Betting Baseball 101 – Bankroll Management

As part of our 101 series we want to introduce you to the art of correctly managing your bankroll.

Most recreational bettors have little to no experience managing and organizing their bankroll correctly. Some may not have a bankroll and simply deposit $20 for the next Bo-Sox v. Yankees game. However it is important to not only track all of your bets like we do here but also manage your money appropriately, otherwise how can you know if your actually a: making money or b: any good.

Have a predetermined bankroll and then betting to align with your bankroll is very important for long term success.

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So how much should my bankroll be?

Your bankroll should only be as much as you can safely and willing to lose. We use the principle that once the money is put into the accounts its gone. This helps set realistic expectations that you may never actually get your money back.

The average bettor actually wins about 50-51% of all their bets. However even winning 51% of your bets, winning more than losing you will still come out as a loser because of the house hold as most 50/50 bets are aligned a base of -110. For most bettors to come out ahead you need to reasonable win on average over the lifetime of all your wagers a little over 53% in order to make a profit regardless of how small it is. This is your break even percentage. Its important to understand this break even percentage so you can reasonably cap your bankroll appropriately.

To ensure we keep our gambling funds separate from our living expense funds, personally we actually have a separate bank account from which we allow ourselves to use for gambling wagers.

Is this a little extremely?

Probably, but this way we can always ensure we are not betting this months rent check. It’s all a matter of personal preference. For our conversation today we are going to assume our bankroll is $1,000. As most recreational gamblers on a typical trip to Vegas bring on average around $1,000 in cash to spend at the casino.

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How much should I bet?

How much you should bet is the problem most gamblers try to solve. How much or which bets and how often? These decision point can be some of the hardest part of gambling especially when your on a losing streak.

Our personal recommendation for long term wagering is to utilize the 1% method. While lot luxurious or flashy it is consistent and reasonable plus it allows you to stretch your bankroll as far and as safely as possible.

So what is the 1% method?

The 1% method is pretty simply. We flat bet every wager for an entire season to be no more than 1% of our total bankroll. So for our $1,000 example every bet will be no more than $10. So on a typical Saturday you may only bet $50 on your 5 best bets of the day.

This is by no means flashy or the cool way to bet. However in our opinion is the the method that consistently allows us to bet day in and day out without minimal impact to our bankroll and helps us make money long term. While its not a lot of money your also not a professional gambler. Most recreational gamblers want to be able to say they had a winning ticket on the long shot to win even if its only $10. A win is a win regardless.

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When do I increase by bet size?

We have a personal stance of not increasing or decreasing our wagered amount regardless of bankroll size from one season to the next. This ensures additional consistency. For conversation we will say you go on a winning streak and have doubled your bankroll over the last month to $2,000. Based on the 1% rule you would change your wager size to $20. However, you are also on a heater, and if your not tracking your bets appropriately you may not be aware and when you increase your bet size to $20 and come of your heater and be back to $1,000 twice as fast as it took you to get there.

We are of the opinion and stance that we adjust our bankroll after the conclusion of each season adjusting up or down based on the outcomes of the previous season in order to preserve or withdraw any earnings accrued over the season.

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How should i split up my bankroll?

This is also another important subject in bankroll management as its about leveraging risk. When betting from a long term approach its important to understand your risk tolerance. We have Bet-MLB.com have a very low risk tolerance in that while we do play a few wagers on what we call ‘Lottery Tickets’ the major of our bankroll is allocated to standard daily wagering. We use the 90/10 approach for lottery ticket wagers. For our $1,000 example we reserve $100 for these types of wagers.

Most Lottery Ticket type wagers are usually season long bets such as World Series, Division Title, or Player Prop Bets like All-Star selections. We do not want to over leverage our risk for these wagers due to the percentage possibility they will actually happen. Another key aspect is since they are season long you are tying up a portion of your bankroll for a longer period of time which may better be utilized else where in your wagering portfolio.

The 90% is allocated towards our daily best bet positions which for Bet-MLB.com are First 5 wagers.

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Betting Baseball 101 – First 5 Betting

As part of our 101 series we want to introduce you to the art of First 5 wagers.

Most recreational handicappers, or those who most often bet on the primetime games, i.e. Monday Night Baseball, Sunday Night Baseball, Red Sox v. Yankees, or any other high profile match up just want to get a taste of the action and don’t mind dropping $20 on the game so they can have some good water cooler talk the next day. However most don’t actually know what they are betting on or if their bet is actually any good. So lets break down all the options at your disposal. Just a note we will not be discussing prop bets for this particular post as that will be forthcoming.

The key to becoming a better handicapper is to understand what your betting on and determining if its a good bet. How do you know it’s a good bet? Well, what’s important is comparing what you believe the likelihood of an outcome to be compared to what the sportsbook believes that outcome will be.

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Today our focus in on betting First 5’s. This is the what we at Bet-MLB.com use as our primary wagering driver. You will notice that most of our bets utilize this component of baseball handing capping.

But what is a First 5 Bet?

A First 5 bet is exactly like a full game wager in baseball except the results are tallied at the End of the 5th inning. The same rules apply to First 5’s just like they do for standard wagering. To understand how standard wagering works take a look at our previous blog post.

Betting Baseball 101 – Types of Bets

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When it comes to First 5’s you may ask yourself the following questions:

What is the appeal of First 5 wagering?

Is there more value to betting First 5’s?

Are they’re any benefits?

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The Appeal

So what’s the appeal to betting a First 5?

The most desirable aspect to betting First 5’s is for professional gamblers it reduces risk. By reducing the wager to only the first 5 innings you as a gambler no longer have the built in risk of the last 4 innings.

Why is this important?

In today’s baseball world Saber Metrics have become an extremely important aspect to baseball both from a team perspective and from a handicapping perspective. If you do not know what Saber Metrics are we will be covering these in a future post.

Teams today utilize Saber metrics to become more efficient and long term produce more wins for the franchise. The impact over the last several years has been centered around pitching. In today’s game most pitchers typically do not exceed the 6th inning often times the 5th inning. This has reduced over pitching allowing for more games to be played by pitchers over their career in an attempt to hold on to a great pitcher longer.

But how is the important to baseball handicapping and most importantly First 5 Handicapping?

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The Value of First 5’s

Since Saber Metrics have become such a vital piece of how a professional team manages their club we can use this knowledge and transfer this into first 5 information.

Knowing that the starting pitcher plays a vital role in the performance of a first 5 outcome your first analysis when determining first 5’s should be reviewing the pitchers performance over the career, season, home/road splits, vs. team, and recent history. Is the starting pitching good or bad?

Typically teams will try and adjust their rotation to align their best pitches with the opponents best pitching allowing for less variability in a specific game. However this doesn’t always happen. This is when you can use this opportunity to make an informed wagering decision.

The second biggest factor we use at Bet-MLB is comparing the starting pitcher to the performance of the batting lineup. Is the team weak or strong? is the teams first 5 batters in a slump? Are there any injuries or players returning from injury? Answering these questions can decrease your variance and afford you the ability to greater understand the projected outcome.

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The Benefits and Opportunity

There are inherent benefits to betting first 5 like the reduction of risk and more consistency in probable outcomes. This for professional gamblers is also a weaker market and allows for greater flexibility. Large wager bettors can often shape these First 5 lines much more than they can the total game as not as many people bet on first 5’s than stand games?

Why is that?

Mainly because the general public doesn’t know what they, what they mean, or how to bet on them.

These lines can be referred to as soft lines where most books have to put out these lines but do not have as much information or are informed enough to make the lines more appropriate to what they should be. This can save you a few points and in the long term keep more money in your pocket instead of lending it to the house hold.

First 5’s are a heaven and hell experience. Nothing is more frustrating as a consistent first 5 bettor than having a team lose their first 5 but win the game. But this is the nature of the beast.

We hope you use this knowledge to become a more informed handicapper and more successful at the sports book.

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