MLB Baseball Prop Bets Overview
What are MLB Baseball Propositions?
Proposition bets are commonly referred to as prop bets. A prop bet is a very specific wager which involves placing a bet on a particular occurrence, such as the New York Yankees scoring in the first inning or the number of strike outs a pitching gets in a game. Prop bets are available in most professional sports but are especially popular in baseball. The nature of the game with breaks between half innings provides online sportsbooks a chance to offer many different prop bets on every MLB game.
There are two basic types of prop bets in baseball. One involves the team and the other involves a specific player or players.
MLB Prop Betting
A few of the most common team prop bets
Team to score first in the game
Will there be a run scored in the first inning?
Total Hits, Runs and Errors for both teams combined (over/under)
First team to reach 3 runs in the game
Specific team’s total runs (over/under)
Total Home Runs hit in the game combined (over/under)
A few of the most common player prop bets
Total Hits, Runs and RBI’s (over/under)
Total Strikeouts (over/under)
Will a player hit a Home Run? (Basically over/under 0.5)
Most Hits, Runs and RBI’s (player vs player)
Most Strikeouts (player vs player)
MLB Prop Betting Examples
- 1st inning prop bets
- 5 innings prop bets
- Live Betting
- Futures Betting
There are many different prop bets to make on baseball and we will cover them over the course of the season. We will start with some of the most popular MLB prop bets. The season total wins is available for every team and we will be making some season win total predictions for MLB in our free picks section. A couple of MLB prop bets that I like are will there be a score in the first inning and the five inning line. While some would argue that “live” or “in-pay” betting is not a prop bet, I have included it because there are more prop bets available during “live betting” than before the game.
Will there be a 1st inning score
I really like the first inning prop bet because I know it is available on every MLB game. This is just a great opportunity to pick up some quick money. In many ways the 1st inning MLB prop bet should be more predictable than the game pick. The one thing I like about it is that I do not need to handicap more than two pitchers. If either team needs to go to the bullpen in the first inning then it is pretty obvious that at least one run will be scored.
The first inning bet example:
Will there be a run scored in the 1st inning between the
New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox;
Bet: Yes (-115), No (-115)
The starting pitchers are Masahiro Tanaka vs Rick Porcello
The starting pitchers will always be “listed” for first inning bets. This means that these two pitchers must be throw at least the first pitch for both teams for the bet to be in play. Yes, that means that if Porcello only throws one pitch then comes out of the game then it is an official start.
There are numerous statistic websites that offer data that’ll help you handicap this prop bet. The four websites that you absolutely need to use are TeamRankings, MLB.com, Rotogrinders, and BaseballReference.
What type of statistics do I look at when handicapping this prop bet?
- How many runs (average) does each team score/allow in the 1st inning?
- How often (percentage) does each team score/allow at least 1 run in the 1st inning?
- How well does each starting pitcher play in the 1st inning?
- How has each hitter at the top of the batting order perform against the opposing pitcher
- How well does a hitter perform in the 1st inning of games
- From your daily fantasy baseball stats use batter/pitcher splits
- Umpire stats
The thing I have to emphasis on this bet is that since it is a bet that is available on every game it is OK to pass on a game. In fact if I have two or three 1st inning bets that is a good day. I will usually start off slow with these bets early in the season and up the number of bets as I have more data to use. I really like to get at least one month’s data and 4 starts from a pitcher to feel comfortable making bigger bets
The starting pitchers are Masahiro Tanaka vs Rick Porcello
Breaking down two starting pitchers with 2016 MLB stats. Masahiro Tanaka finished 2016 with a 14-4 record and a 3.07 ERA. However, his 1st inning ERA was an incredible 1.16 ERA and gave up only 4 earned runs in his 31 starts. I should make an important point here. He also gave up four runs total in the first inning. This is important because unearned runs still count in this bet so always take a look at runs given up and not just earned runs. This brings the defense into play so always take a quick look at how well the defense is playing.
Rick Porcello had a great 2016 season with a 22-4 record and an ERA of 3.15. In the first inning Porcello had an ERA of 3.00 (11 runs) in his 33 starts with one unearned run to make it a total of 12 runs. He started off fast in 2016 going 5-0 with a 2.76 ERA in March/April. When betting on Porcello one split that is important is the right/left batter. The home runs splits for him; vs left handers he gave up 8 home runs in 459 plate appearances and against right handers he gave up 15 home runs in 431 plate appearances. With only one home run allowed by either pitcher in the first inning enough to win or lose the bet it is worth it to see if the top 3 batters have right handed power.
What about the offense?
With this we have our basics for starting pitchers. At this point I would go to my daily fantasy baseball stats and check out the projected hitter splits. Because we are only interested in one run there is no need to take a look at the 7, 8 or 9 hitter. If it gets to that point in the lineup then a run has been scored. The next step is to look at how often a team scores in the first inning. Do not spend much time on average runs scored in the first inning. If you are 10 games into a season and a team is scoring an average of one run in the first inning then it might look good to bet on them to score. However, if they scored 10 runs in one game and 0 in the other nine games then we are using the wrong stat. What we want is the percentage of games that each team scored in the first inning.
For 2016 the Yankees scored a run in the first inning 25.93% (25th ranked) of games played. The Red Sox scored a run in 36.97% (3rd ranked) of their games. Taking a look at the home / away splits: the Yankees at home scored in the first inning 37.04% of the time which ranked 8th and on the road they scored in the first inning 14.81% of the time which was the worst in MLB. The Red Sox at home scored 43.90% of the time in the first inning which was the best in all of MLB. On the road the Red Sox scored in 30.12% of the time which ranked 14th in MLB for road teams. If you are curious the number one scoring team in the first inning on the road was the Washington Nationals who scored in 44.58% of their road games.
The next thing to look at is the umpire’s history with the starting pitchers. There are some umpires whose strike zone fits a pitchers style. This isn’t a major stat for me but it is something that could get me to lay off a bet if the umpire has a history that goes against the way I was leaning to on a bet.
This might seem like a lot of work to go through for every game but once you get used to doing this research and set up some data scraping for your stats then it is worth the added time. If you are going to play daily fantasy baseball then this is something that you can work into your DFS models.
The first five inning score
The first five innings bet mirrors the game bet in that we are looking at a side and a total on a game. I first got involved in five inning betting because I got tired of bad bullpens and poor decisions by the manager costing me a win.
The single biggest factor in baseball handicapping is the starting pitching. Handicappers are always looking for pitching mismatches which give one team a large advantage over the other. However, in today’s baseball the starters often don’t last more than six or seven innings so the bullpens are usually a bigger factor in games than handicappers would often like. I look at this as a time saver because the relievers are for the most part taken out of my consideration. If I am looking at relievers in a five inning bet then I should just bet the over on the total.
Another thing I like about the five inning bet is the projected batters are more likely to be in the game. It is frustrating to bet an over for a game and see one team get out to an early lead and have one of the managers pull out his best hitters in the sixth or seventh inning.
What type of statistics do I look at when handicapping this prop bet?
- How many runs (average) does each team score/allow in five innings?
- How well does each starting pitcher play in the five innings?
- From your daily fantasy baseball stats use batter/pitcher splits
- Umpire stats
Runs scored in first five innings
Just to add some numbers to these let’s take a look at the 2016 MLB stats for the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. In 2016 the Yankees scored an average of 2.33 runs in the first five innings of a game and that ranked 24th in baseball. The Red Sox averaged an impressive 3.18 runs per game and that ranked 1st in baseball. The home / away splits had the Yankees rank 19th at home with 2.67 runs in the first five innings while the Red Sox at home averaged 4.01 runs per game which was once again tops in baseball. On the road the Yankees were pathetic and only averaged 1.99 runs per game which ranked them 28th in MLB. The Red Sox on the road were only 17th in MLB with 2.35 runs per game. So, if you are betting the total in the first five innings you might get some good value on the under with Red Sox road games. For those of you who would like to know. The Washington Nationals lead MLB in away scoring on with an average of 3.00 runs per game. Milwaukee was the worst on the road with only 1.94 runs per game in the first five innings.
Runs given up in first five innings
While overall runs allowed is greatly influenced by the starting pitchers a team has faced. It is still a must stat to add to your MLB betting model. In 2016 the number one team in opponent runs allowed in the first five innings? Well, the World Champion Chicago Cubs and that great starting pitching lead MLB by giving up only 1.70 runs per game in the first five innings. Who was the worst team? The Minnesota Twins gave up 3.13 runs per game. The Cubs at home were almost an under machine on their own in the first five by giving up only 1.26 runs per game and to show how dominate that was the 2nd place team was the New York Mets who gave up an average of 1.87 runs per game. To help provide a reason to do this research before you bet. Who do you think was the best road team in opponent runs allowed in 2016? The Toronto Blue Jays gave up only 1.79 runs per game on the road over the first five innings.
The five inning bet is a great bet to go against the public. I was making some good money in 2016 betting the unders when the Blue Jays were on the road.
The one game prop bet and “live betting”
One of the most common reasons gamblers lose in sports betting is that they are looking at a parlay bet to get the big payoff. When there is that one game you want to hammer but you don’t want to just lay -150 and call it a day. What do you do? You end up placing the game on a parlay and have it go down in flames because you tried to get a big payout instead of just making some money. There is another option that allows you the insurance against putting all of your money on just one bet and still can get a good payout on the one game you like. That is to use prop betting to cover a game. I will make a five inning bet and a full game bet along with by inning betting. This is another way of saying I love “live betting” baseball games.
If there are 10 games on the board and out of the 10 games you find just one game that you want to bet on. Then take advantage of “live or in-play” betting to maximize your profit. I have found that it can be more profitable to focus on one game than to try and handicap 10 games.
An example would be a game you want to bet the over on. If you lay all of your money before the game you might be right. However, if you bet the over and watch the umpire start calling strikes on pitches that are 3 inches off the plate then what do you do? I like to bet half of my money on totals before the game and then take advantage of “live betting” after that.
I can bet on the total or I can also bet on individual at bats. Think you can’t do this kind of research? Think again if you are already playing daily fantasy baseball then you have the basic research done. All you are doing with live betting on batters vs pitchers is using your daily fantasy baseball splits to make bets.
When you have that “one game” that you are ready to hammer. Just don’t limit yourself to one bet. I will make 30 or 40 bets on one game. Since I am cashing each inning or each batter I am building my bankroll on just one game. This may sound like a crazy way to bet but I recommend just one time watching a game with the “live betting” screen open and seeing for yourself. I bet full time for a living and I don’t have the time to really handicap every baseball, basketball, football and whatever game. So I learned the value of just narrowing it down to just one or two games a day so I know the game inside and out before I hammer that game over and over.
The “Kershaw line”
The value of “live betting” was brought home to me a few years ago with Clayton Kershaw. He would always be listed as a huge favorite on the line and I didn’t want to lay the Dodgers -1.5 to get a -140 line. What I noticed with the Dodgers was that the relievers were terrible and the manager loved to pull Kershaw the moment he would get in trouble in the sixth or seventh inning. I would just tune into Dodgers games in the fifth inning when Kershaw was pitching and check his pitch count. Then watch to see when the relievers would get up to start warmups in the bullpen. The moment I saw Don Mattingly make that call I would bet against the Dodgers. If the Dodgers were up 4-1 when Kershaw came out of the game then I could usually get the other side at +2.5 runs for about even money or better. Then sit back and watch the middle relievers give up a run or two before the closer came in to save the game. There was also value in betting the over on a live bet because the relievers were so bad that at least one run would be given up.
Get to know starting pitchers “pitch count” and take advantage of it. Even if a pitcher is going strong there are managers who will pull him once he hits his pitch limit. If a top starting pitcher is a heavy favorite and he is getting close to his pitch count in the 5th or 6th inning then I know he won’t go the distance. The line still reflects the stud starter even though a real line should reflect a blend of the relievers and the number of pitches the starter has left. If it is the 5th inning and the pitch count will have the starter out after six innings then the line is NOT reflecting the 3 innings that will be pitched by the relievers. I just ended up calling the blended line the “Kershaw line” because I couldn’t find anyone else doing this and it was Kershaw who was making me money. This also works for MLB “live betting” on totals.
If you are going to make “live bets” then take the time to look at the home plate umpires statistics. Some umps have a wider strike zone and this will be reflected in the number of pitches per game and the strike outs per game. The most value can be found with high pitch count umpires and top starting pitchers.
Futures betting & World Series Prop Bets
We have looked at individual game performance but one important type of prop bet is the “futures bet”. The most common types of futures betting are on who will win the World Series and individual team season win totals. The futures bet on the World Series are pretty straight forward. Just lay your money down on who you think will win it all. The Cubs, the Giants, or how about the Astros? One nice thing about World Series betting is it is available all season long so you can get some decent odds on a team that starts off slow. The hard part is the injury bug. A team can look great for the first half of the season but it only takes a couple of injuries to starting pitchers to take a team from the favorite to “wait till next year”.
Team win totals are another fan favorite. Bet on the over / under on the a team win total. MLB team win totals are posted with a half game to avoid a push and forcing the sportsbook to return your money. Some 2017 MLB win total odds from the Westgate Sportsbook in Las Vegas:
Chicago Cubs 95.5
Los Angeles Dodgers 94.5
Cleveland Indians 93.5
Boston Red Sox 92.5
Using DFS for prop bets
Did you bet on the Super Bowl? Did you make any prop bets? I made more money on my prop bets than I did on my normal bets. I know every online gambler is supposed to say he always wins and I did win some money on straight bets but I saw the opportunity to become deeply involved in prop betting and I made the move. Part of the reason I did this was that the state of Nevada outlawed daily fantasy sports so I was stuck with a lot of information and no action. At first I made the mistake of just using my DFS models to make prop bets and that turned out to be slightly profitable but not really worth the time. It took some time but I finally made the adjustments needed to consistently cash on my prop bets. Below is some of what I learned and if helps you out then it was worth the time to write this.
What can Vegas do to help my Prop Betting?
Since I live in Nevada, I spend a lot of time reacting to what the Las Vegas sportsbooks do. However, they are behind the curve when it comes to prop betting. Other than the Super Bowl there has been a void in the area of prop betting until recently when William Hill started putting a lot of prop bets. Now I can wager on NBA, MLB, NHL and, NFL players. If you are in Vegas and looking to make money on prop betting then you need to open an account and bet on your phone. Prop betting lines are released later than the other odds and my time is better spent doing research than standing in line at a sportsbook trying to read off 20 bets. MLB prop bet odds are usually out about 2 hours before the game. That is the time that the starting lineups and umpire are reported on MLB.com. The sportsbooks do not like putting up odds before that because they don’t want to take bets on a guy who is given the day off by the manager. That is just a waste of time and money.
Look at the total
One area that Las Vegas or any online sportsbook can be of service is the total runs for the game. If you see a total of 10.5 runs then you are looking at a high scoring game. However, do not fall in the trap of using the game total alone for prop betting. On its own it is almost meaningless for prop betting. Why? What if we have the Atlanta Braves at the New York Yankees and the game total is 10.5? That does not equate to both teams scoring 5.25 runs. It is the team total that we want to use. In a sense the team total is itself a prop bet and it is a place to start for charting a game. In this game the team totals are set at Atlanta Braves (3.5 runs) & New York Yankees (7 runs). Does that change how you look at the game? It becomes obvious that the Yankee hitters are favored to produce more hits, runs, home runs…etc. I said the game total was “almost meaningless” and it is. The game total will help us understand the likelihood of a blowout. That is relevant to how a game will be managed in later innings. If you bet on a Yankee player and they are up 10-0 in the 7th inning there is a strong likelihood that some players will be pulled. Not what you want to see if you bet on them and need another hit or RBI to win.
How do they make those prop bet lines?
Online sites will use a players personal performance during a season on a specific stat. Typically they will take a player and use their season average on a stat and make it an over/under. Meaning you can bet whether you think a player will go above or below their season average. In the example of the Braves vs the Yankees there will be an adjustment for a player at home and his history against certain pitchers but not nearly as much as you would think. Prop betting is still considered small money to the casinos so there isn’t nearly as much time spent on the prop lines as on game lines. Just think of the man power needed to come up with 200 prop bet lines every day and you will see why much of the line creation is automated.
How Can We Profit From Player Prop Bets
Don’t make the mistake of applying daily fantasy sports models directly to prop betting. There is one big difference between the two. In DFS you are looking for “over performance” more than anything else. In prop betting we are looking for an absolute number and the likelihood of the player going over or under that number. An example would be the Red Sox Chris Sale with prop betting odds of 10.5 strikeouts in a game. If you DFS model loves him and gives him 12 strikeouts for the game then at first look it would be a good bet to lay money on him to go over the total. What we are looking for is something quite basic. The medium of strikeouts he will have. In other words what is the projected number of strikeouts that will have 50% going over the total and 50% going under the total. In DFS his ceiling is a primary diver for picking a player. In prop betting it does not matter if he strikeouts 12 or 27 batters. The ROI is the same. What we are concerned with is the area above and below our projected strikeout total. The area can be projected by creating a conditional distribution function.
There are a lot of things that go into building a model. If you are going to build your own model then you will need an understanding of:
Conditional probability analysis
Conditional distribution function
Advanced knowledge of Excel or Minitab
I am not going to conduct a math class right now. I suggest that you either take the time to learn these things or hire someone who already knows them to assist you in building your model. But, do not make the mistake of thinking a model will solve all of your problems. People have been building gambling models since computers were first invented and Las Vegas is still making a profit. The model is a must for prop betting because of time constrictions but it is the human element that will make a profit. ** We can help a little with our MLB prop bet picks **
Embrace Your Ignorance
What? This needs to be explained a little. I have been in the sportsbook and had some guy win a long shot bet on his team. He will tell everyone he knew who would win and it was obvious. Anyone who didn’t bet like he did was an idiot. When this happens I try to engage the guy to find out what it was that was so “obvious”. It almost always comes down to it was his team and he got lucky. No methodology or insight, just a pig with a truffle. That is NOT the ignorance I am suggesting you embrace. Mine is more directed toward the guys who get so caught up in the math that they forget that the only score in gambling that matters is the money you make.
How I learned to embrace my ignorance. A few years ago I had built a new MLB game betting model and as part of my work I recorded every bet I made in excel. I had the odds, the starting pitchers, umps, reason why I bet on the team and, many other items in my spreadsheet. However, I was making good money and spending a lot of time spending that money so I didn’t really get back to analyzing the model the way I should have until the All Star break. Over the break I looked at almost every possible ROI breakdown I could to see where I was making money and where I wasn’t. One thing that stood out was that I was losing money on the St Louis Cardinals. If I bet on them, they lost. If I bet against them, they won. The same thing happened with totals bets on the Cardinals. I made adjustment after adjustment in my model until the end of July. At that point I decided to stop making adjustments and embrace my ignorance. I just stopped betting on the Cardinals. After all, there are many other games to bet on and it was better to spend my time handicapping those games. It worked. My ROI increased. If I had been one of those guys who believe predictive analytics will solve all problems then I would have wasted more time on perfecting the model. This is something that math majors (my degree was in Economics) have a hard time doing. What I want from my model is to narrow down the bets I might make. If there are 200 prop betting options on the board then a model that can narrow it down to around 25 is what I need. From there I need to take over.
Patience is Key
Adjust you’re betting. Prop betting has many more betting opportunities everyday so there is no need to bet it all on one player. Expect about 20 prop bets on the average MLB game. Now add in about 10 games a day on average and you are looking at 200 betting opportunities day for 6 months. Even a slight advantage can lead to a big return with good money management.
Last Minute Changes – Chaos is Opportunity
Being a DFS MLB player, I know that I can study all day and throw everything out the window fifteen minutes before the game because of breaking news on an injury, trade or benching. This is an opportunity. Yes, the top batter may be benched but that can mean someone else moves up in the order. I have noticed that since the bets limits are relatively low that the sportsbooks do not make major adjustments in how other players on the team will do when the batting order is changed.
Being familiar with teams and knowing who benefits when a player is scratched is crucial to making money. Being able to spot things like this and act quickly is very important as well because you typically have a small window to act on this type of information.
What if a guy is questionable? Unlike daily fantasy baseball this is a real opportunity. Bet on him like he will play because if he does not play then there is “no action” and you get your bet refunded.
What should I do to get started Prop Betting?
If you are ready to make prop betting your primary wagering choice then here are a few of the resources you should look at to get started.
Baseball Proposition Tips and Strategies
Sportsbooks will put up hundreds of prop bets every day of the MLB season. This means a lot more lines to look at and a much better chance of finding some soft lines. Since the amount of money bet on prop bets is far less than the amount bet on the game outcomes. Sportsbook managers do not put in nearly as much time coming up with prop bet odds. They tend to be more formulaic and can provide some real advantages for the knowledgeable gambler.
Baseball Umpires and prop bets
Umpires Impact on Baseball Games
When you’re handicapping a baseball game, there is far more information available to build out predictive models and far more opportunities to find key stats because of the volume of games. Every game requires that you consider the starting pitcher, the men in the bullpen, the starting lineups, and the players on the bench for both teams.
However, the most overlooked man on the field is wearing blue. The umpires aren’t as crucial as the players are, but there is no doubt that there are some interesting betting trends to follow when you bet on MLB.
One of the most basic handicapping trends in sports the home/away splits. Some teams play better at the home than other teams, while most play better at home than on the road. A home team in baseball knows where exactly all of the quirks of the stadium are and should be familiar with how the afternoon shadows can alter a pitchers performance. There is another home field advantage, the crowd. It is often thought that a lively crowd can help a team get motivated. What isn’t appreciated as much is that a home crowd can also influence some umpires. Umpires will want to call games right down the middle, but there is a little more emotion there when the call is going the way of the home team. We’re not saying that games are fixed, but it’s a heck of a lot easier when you’re a traveling umpire to have the 35,000 fans in attendance cheering on a call that you made.
Over / Under Umpires
This is something you should always look at before making your bet. First let’s look at the 2016 MLB season results. Two umpires (we are only concerned with when the ump is behind the plate) had the over cover 72% of the time. A Johnson & B Welke both finished the year at (18-7) with the game going over the posted total. On the other end of the spectrum some umpires have wide strike zones and that tends to cover the under. In 2016 C Blaser lead MLB with an over / under record of (7-21). That is right, only 25% of his games went over the total. This is one of those stats that can play into several bets. Not just the total on the game but there are many player prop bets that can be aided by knowing what the umpire is likely to do. A few bets are: five inning totals, multi hit innings, player total bases, strike outs and almost every other player driven prop bet. I would never make a player prop bet without looking who is likely to umpire the game. Can you imagine the difference in the likelihood of a player having a multi-hit game with Welke behind the plate instead of Blaser?
MLB will usually announce the starting umpire 2 hours before the game. Not much time to take a look but if you have already done your research it is enough time to get the bet in. Just think of the type of research that you have already done for your daily fantasy baseball team and then add in the umpire to finish your betting model.
Automating the Strike Zone
There is a lot of talk of using something similar to K-zone to call balls and strikes. It might happen one day but I don’t hope it happens anytime soon. This is one advantage I have when making MLB player prop bets and I do not want to see it go away. One area of player prop betting I like is the number of strikeouts a pitcher will have.
Some umpires are more likely to call strikeouts than others. Take a look at the two extremes from the 2016 MLB season. M Estabrook called an average of 19.4 strikeouts per game. On the other end of the spectrum we have P Nauert who only called 13.7 strikeouts per game. How do you think this difference in strikeouts per game translated into over / under outcomes? Well, for M Estrabrook and his 19.4 strikeouts per game translated into 10 overs and 15 unders. For P Nauert, he had 19 overs and 11 unders to go along with his MLB low of 13.7 strikeouts per game. Now are you starting to see why I want this variance as part of my betting models?
The reasons for the wide range in strikeouts are a combination of the umpire and the pitcher. If an umpire has a wide strike zone then a pitcher can expand the plate by pitching just off the edge and getting the strike call by an ump. If he is a good control pitcher then he can continue to expand the strike zone by pitching a little bit more outside each inning like Greg Maddux used to do. Some umpires have a lower strike zone than other umps and this can really favor a fork ball or sinker pitcher. Matching the right type of pitcher to the right ump is a great way to get an edge on the sportsbooks. I always like it to have a control pitcher going with a umpire that has a wide strike zone. Not only should he do better but, he should also last longer in the game and keep the soft underbelly of MLB pitching out of the game. Long relief is one key to MLB betting and the umpire is directly related to this. An umpire who calls more strikes and keeps the score down will also let the starting pitcher get deeper in the game. If a team has a terrible middle or long relief and they are going with an umpire who does not call a lot of strike then I am looking at the long relief coming into a game. It is not enough to know if a team has a decent middle relieving core. You must also have an insight into whether it will be used or not. A team may have the worst relievers in baseball but, if the ump is an under ump the starting pitcher will go deeper. Of course, the other part of this is the manager. Does he have a pitch count total to pull the starter?
Last year’s ump equals this year’s ump
Now forget last year. Yep, last year’s numbers do not always reflect this year’s. Why not? Because MLB will sit down with the ump and go over his strike zone during the off season. This means that an ump that had a wide strike zone last year might just have a narrow one this year as he over compensates for the strike zone grading he received from the previous season. So, if last year means nothing then why use it? Because, it is used by the gamblers to make bets. You will get insights into what many of the other MLB gamblers will be doing by looking at the stats they will use to bet. This is why I like to know last year’s ump stats.
This year’s ump stats
How does MLB handle grading umps during the season? MLB pitchers want consistency. What will happen is every team will look at the video of the first 2 or 3 games an ump is behind the plate and build a game plan around that. The pitching coach and starting pitcher will go into a game with a plan to pitch more on the corners with a wide strike zone and challenge the hitters more if the ump has a narrow strike zone. The last thing they want is to go into a game and have the umpire change his strike zone from earlier in the season. For this reason, once an umpire has established his strike zone it is not likely to change during the season even if he is criticized for how wide or narrow it is. So, get MLB.TV and scout the first 3 games each ump does. Then be ready to hammer your bets while other gamblers are still looking at last year’s data.
Some fun prop bets
Every year some manager is the first to get fired. You can bet on which one gets canned first. There are even odds at some sportsbooks on how many times a manager will get tossed from a game during the season. How many bats will a pitcher break via pitching? The All-Star game produces some fun prop bets. Who will win the home run derby is one of the fan favorites.
Your advantage in prop betting
The number of prop bets grows every year because automation makes it easier to place numerous odds on a single game. This means that the sportsbook manager isn’t really looking at individual prop bets in the same way he does on side and totals bets. The more bets on the board the more likely there will be a soft line available. In the past it would have been impossible to take advantage of all of the soft lines because a couple of hundred prop bet odds that are put up a couple of hours before the game would be impossible to analyze. Then came daily fantasy baseball. DFS stats provide the insights to get started prop betting. I do not recommend you just use your daily fantasy baseball stats and apply them directly to prop betting. I look at DFS as a way to narrow down the field. If there are 200 prop bets available and my DFS stats show a lean to 25 of them then I begin my research on those 25. That is one of the great advantages of MLB prop betting. The sheer number of bets available every day means that a slight advantage can be used every day for 6 months.
Where to prop bet on MLB
There are several sportsbooks that offer online MLB prop betting. The only way to really be successful at prop betting is to do it online. I live in Nevada and have tried to place prop bets in a sportsbook with terrible results. No matter how fast the odds board changes it is behind the online odds. Even a fast sportsbook writer is not going to be fast enough to keep up with the changing odds. That leaves two ways to be a successful MLB prop gambler. Either on your computer or on your phone. You might think they are the same but they are not. If you have your bets in mind and you are going to watch the game then betting on your phone is going to work. However, if you are still doing research then you really need to be in front of a computer. The value of having several browsers with several tabs open to get the latest information is a must. Now the big question? Which sportsbook should I bet at?