Prior to the NFL season, baseball takes center stage, offering sports bettors a variety of unique wagering opportunities. A successful MLB betting strategy takes into account the performance of starting pitchers and bullpens, team home/away records and head-to-head records, and what to expect from each team’s offense.
This article serves as a guide to some basic strategies when betting on baseball. The truth is that although it is no longer the most popular sport in the US, MLB is the most profitable sport to bet on.
We have tried to provide some basic information such as how to read money lines or understanding over/unders. But now we also need to provide more advanced information such as learning the significance or WAR, Wins Above Replacement, which is the most comprehensive way to quantify the productivity of each player.
Fifty years ago, betting on baseball was a difficult science to try to get a hold of, knowing that there weren’t tons of stats readily available that could help make or break your bet. Now, advancements in baseball statistics have really made it very possible to help you bet on baseball. One of the most used stats by baseball junkies and scouts of the game is the WAR stat, if you use WAR properly, you will have plenty of information to help you place lots of bets every night.
WAR, or Wins Above Replacement, is probably the most comprehensive way to quantify how well a player is doing his job in baseball. It isn’t the end all, be all stat, but it certainly is the best one-stat indicator that we have at our fingertips. This is a stat based off of Sabermetrics. As anyone who watched the movie Moneyball should know, Sabermetrics essentially tries to take luck out of the equation. When a player hits a baseball, it will go for a base hit a certain percentage of the time. Some players get luckier than others. However, when you take luck out of it, Sabermetrics shows exactly what a player should be doing if all lucky or unlucky bounces were created equally.
There isn’t a truly established formula for how to calculate WAR, as every publication that attempts to do it weighs different factors of the game slightly differently. The end target with the WAR stat is to determine how many wins a player is worth to his team above and beyond (or as some cases have it, below) what the average Joe on the bench or in the minors is worth. If the average bench player in baseball would win 50 games over the course of a season, and your 25 man roster has a total team WAR of 50, you should, in theory, be good for 100 wins that season.
Obviously, if a player is a regular position player at the MLB level, he should be worth at least a win or two more than a replacement player. The league average is generally around a WAR of +2, while starting pitchers averaged out to around a +2 WAR as well. Relief pitchers average out around +0.6 WAR or so, simply because their effect on the game is so minimal.