most If you want to become a professional MLB gambler, you have your work cut out for you.
Most sports gamblers think it’s hard to learn how to be a winning bettor.
But the steps are actually fairly simple if you know what to do.
The secret is to figure out what professional MLB bettors are doing and then do the same things. The problem is that most MLB gambling pros aren’t sharing their secrets. That’s why I put together this page for you.
9 Things Professional MLB Gamblers Do That Amateurs Don’t
Here are nine things that professional MLB bettors do that most amateur gamblers don’t do. Start incorporating these nine things in your baseball handicapping and you’re going to start winning more of your bets.
1 – In-Depth Starting Pitching Handicapping
Starting pitching is the place to start handicapping every MLB game. Starting pitching has been the key to effective baseball handicapping for as long as the game has been played, and it’s going to continue being important.
But you can’t just take a quick look at the starting pitcher’s record and ERA. You have to look at everything you can find. This includes WHIP, average innings per start, pitch counts, ground ball percentage, strikeout percentage, walk percentage, and how effective they are at getting double plays.
How often does each starting pitcher hand the game over to the bullpen with a lead or the game tied? How often does each starting pitcher et deep enough into the game to turn it over to the setup men and closer?
All of these things help you do a better job handicapping MLB games.
2 – In-Depth Bullpen Evaluation
Bullpens are almost as important to handicapping MLB games as starting pitching now. Starters are averaging fewer innings than ever before, so bullpens are more important.
And you can’t just take a look at set up men and closers. Long and middle relievers are being called on more and more, so one or two weak spots can really hurt a team’s chance to win.
Professional MLB gamblers evaluate every pitcher on the staff for every team and understand how each pitcher is being used. They know who’s going to get called into the game in every situation, and use this information to find value.
The recent trends in MLB mean that you can’t afford to ignore long relievers. These pitchers are appearing in more games and pitching more innings. The pros know this, so if you want to be a pro you need to do a better job evaluating MLB bullpens.
3 – Understand the Importance of Catchers
Catchers are usually looked at as an afterthought, and if one is able to produce close to the league average on offense he’s considered a star. But professional MLB gamblers understand how important the catcher is to everything that happens on the field.
A good catcher helps his pitcher in many ways, including pitch framing and controlling the run game. Good catchers also see the entire field and identify defensive gaps and help pitchers remain calm and in control.
Of course, you need to know how each catcher performs at the plate, but a great catcher isn’t just about hitting. It’s as much or more about helping his team win in other areas than at the plate.
4 – Understand the Importance of SS, 2B, and CF
I’ve talked about the importance of pitchers and catchers so far, but the middle of the defense behind the pitcher is also important. Teams with a strong middle tend to be more successful than other teams.
The most difficult positions to play well are catcher, shortstop, center field and second base. This is why catchers, shortstops, and center fielders are usually valued at a premium. You can train athletes how to play the corners in the infield and outfield, but they need to have a minimum skill set to play up the middle.
Strong defensive players up the middle save their team runs. A good shortstop or center fielder gets to more balls than other players, which turns into more outs and limits hits to more singles than extra base hits. Shortstops and second baseman are also critical to turning double plays.
You need to start looking at how strong each team is up the middle and use this when you handicap MLB games.
5 – A Professional MLB Gambler Doesn’t Overvalue Stolen Bases
Stolen bases can still be important when you’re evaluating MLB games, but they aren’t as important as they were two decades ago. Fewer players are using stolen bases, so you shouldn’t use them too much when you’re evaluating games.
I only evaluate stolen bases for a few players every season. Any player that attempts less than 50 stolen bases in a year isn’t worth adjusting your evaluations for. Instead, I evaluate every MLB team as a whole for stolen base tendencies and performance.
The first thing I look at is how many stolen base attempts per game each team has. And then I look at their success percentage.
As a rough number, if a team is successful on less than 70% of their stolen base attempts they’re not helping much in the win column. And most MLB teams aren’t running enough to make much of a difference to the outcome of games.
6 – Properly Evaluate Extra Base Hits
Amateur MLB gamblers know that home runs are more valuable than doubles, and that doubles are more valuable than singles. But the pros know exactly how much more valuable each type of hit is.
Extra base hits are considerably more important when it comes to scoring runs than singles. If you look at the percentage of runs scored by each team that come on each type of hit, you can see that extra base hits produce many more runs than singles.
Pitchers can often work around two singles in an inning, but an inning that includes an extra base hit has a much higher chance of scoring a run than an inning without one.
Start evaluating extra base hits for every team in the league to see which teams create the most runs using them. This gives you a good way to improve your handicapping results.
7 – A Professional MLB Gambler Knows How to Properly Balance Batting Average and On Base Percentage
Batting average and on-base percentage are both useful ways to compare hitters and teams. I see many people focusing more on OBP than batting average, and this is a mistake.
OBP is important, but just because a guy has a low OBP doesn’t mean he’s not valuable. Yes, you’d rather have a guy with a .375 OBP and a .290 average than one with a .290 average and a .325 OBP. But is a guy with a .275 average and .345 OBP worth more or less than a guy with a .250 average and a .365 OBP?
The truth is that this isn’t enough information to determine which guy is more valuable. You have to look at the entire offensive output and value for each player and team. But don’t make the mistake of following the recent trend of ignoring batting average and focusing only on OBP and slugging.
8 – Use Advanced Statistics
I can’t tell you which advanced statistics and metrics you need to use to become a professional MLB gambler, but I can tell you that if you’re not using them that you’re probably missing some value.
Many new ways to look at baseball players have been developed over the last decade. Most people know about WAR. It stands for wins above replacement, and there are many different ways to determine it.
The power of these advanced statistics is it gives you ways to compare many different players. Some of the news defensive metrics are quite useful because in the past you only had errors and fielding percentages to look at.
This completely ignored range. A shortstop that got to 10% more balls than another one was much better, even if he made more errors.
9 – Understand the Importance of Double Plays and Ground Balls
Do you know what the difference between runs scored on ground balls and balls not on the ground? It varies from year to year, team to team, and pitcher to pitcher, but the important thing to know is that balls on the ground create many fewer runs than balls in the air.
The other thing to understand is that double plays are powerful for pitchers and the defense, and usually inning killers for the offense. This is why it’s so important to track which pitchers and teams do the best job keeping the ball on the ground and turning double plays.
It’s easy to start transitioning from an amateur MLB gambler to a professional. All you have to do is learn what the pros are doing and start doing the same thing. The 9 things listed on this page that professional MLB gamblers do that amateur MLB gamblers don’t is a great place to start.
Start with a deep dive into starting and relief pitchers. Then take a close look at the players in the middle of the field. Learn what things to value and which stats you should be careful of overvaluing. Start using advanced statistics and metrics right now. These things are going to make you a pro faster than anything else you can do.