While most successful baseball bettors look to play underdogs first, favorites can frequently present good value as well. Often times, one will find a top team playing on the road as a minor favorite or other situations will present themselves where small favorites are a good play. To bet baseball successfully, you should implement a strict limit on how much you’ll lay on a favorite, say -150 or lower. Once you establish your “cut off” for wagering favorites, never wager more than that, regardless of the circumstance or situation. Too many sports handicappers place too much emphasis on the starting pitcher. It’s understandable, of course, since the bookmakers list the starting pitcher when setting the line for each game. If you pay any attention to baseball, however, you’ll know that the quality of starting pitching has reached a state of equality, if not mediocrity. Sure, there are a small number of elite pitchers, but all others are a cut below these few. And since you’ll never get these guys anywhere near your favorite cut off point, don’t worry about them.
It’s an obvious fact that baseball is a game of streaks, and nowhere is this more evident than in pitching. If a starter is demonstrating particularly good or particularly bad recent form, it might not be compensated for in the line and there may be value in playing on (or against) the starter in question. Overall, however, starting pitching receives way too much emphasis when evaluating baseball from a wagering standpoint. The best baseball teams lose at least sixty games a year and the worst teams win close to that same number. The rest of the league falls somewhere in between. Consider that the more favorites you bet, the higher the percentage of wins you’ll need to break even. For example, if your average bet is a -150 favorite you’ll need to hit 60% winners just to break even. At -170, that number increases to 63% and so on.
Now consider the opposite. If your average bet is a +120 underdog, your break-even percentage drops to approximately 45.5%. At +140, it’s down to just over 42% and the higher you go the lower the breakeven percentage. Keeping in mind that even the poorest baseball teams seldom win fewer than 37% of their games, it is apparent that looking for opportunities to bet on underdogs is essential to profitable baseball wagering.