Finding Value in Early MLB Betting
The 2016 MLB season tipped off a month ago and the season so far has gone pretty much as expected, with the likes of Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks starting the year strongly and pitchers like Clayton Kershaw and Jake Arrieta getting off the blocks in a solid way. But then again, there have been a couple of surprises as well. For example, MLB’s most-improved team in 2015, the Houston Astros, are off to a disappointing start, while the Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies are shining in the early season MLB lines to the surprise of many bettors.
With jumbled up performances and indifferent form for various players and teams this early in the season, is there a way in which baseball bettors can find value in the early MLB betting odds? Our MLB handicapper seeks to answer this question with the analysis below.
Finding Value in Early MLB Betting
Trusting the Veteran Aces
It is hard to guarantee strong performances from pitchers on a regular basis, but you will seldom go wrong when you trust aces on the mound. Entering Sunday, for instance, the Los Angeles Dodgers were on a six-game losing streak, but CY Young contender Clayton Kershaw delivered a strong performance, striking out 14 Padres in a complete-game gem that helped Los Angeles to a much-needed win. The same strong performances have been seen when household names like Jake Arrieta, Chris Sale and Johnny Cueto start on the mound, making them worthy of your trust in Fantasy betting and MLB lines. Needless to say, caution should be observed when betting on theses aces, as not all of them are off to great starts, with Bryce Harper and Zack Greinke standing as examples of early strugglers. So, in short, only trust the aces that have started the year strongly and proved their worth.
Making a Case for the Emerging Aces
Every year, the MLB presents us with an emerging crop of solid performers and this year is no different. Examples here include Chicago’s Jason Hammel, who is 3-0 in his four starts with just two runs allowed in 24 innings, Baltimore’s Kevin Gausman who has allowed three runs in 11 innings, Detroit’s Justin Wilson who has not allowed a run while striking out 15 in 11 innings of work over 12 games, and Detroit’s Jordan Zimmermann who has posted a 5-0 mark and 0.55 ERA in his first month as a Tiger. Like the veteran aces, trusting the emerging aces can equally lead to some good profits in the early-season MLB odds.
The Hot Batters
Whereas pitchers get the most attention in baseball because of their crucial role in the game, the hitters are just as important in winning. Good hitters can be extremely important in handicapping games, especially in contests that involve pitchers that compare closely. A good example of value brought by the batters is NY’s Michael Conforto who has collected 10 RBIs in his last seven games (entering Monday) and is leading MLB in hard-hit balls at 51.7 percent, a big reason the Mets were 15-7 in April and hit 33 home runs, which tied a franchise record for the month. Another example is White Sox new acquisition Todd Frazier who started the season slowly but has been heating up, posting .311 hitting in 52 PA with 7 walks and 11 RBI since April 19th, putting him on pace to match his 35-homer total from a year ago. Then, of course, there are those trusted names like Yankees slugger A-Rod, Detroit’s Christian Castellanos and Boston’s Christian Vazquez, who are guaranteed to give you solid performances every other night. It’s often hard for batters to win a game on their own, so it is best to watch out for games that combine good pitchers and good batters if you are looking for value in the betting boards, while not forgetting to fade off strugglers like Cincy’s Joey Votto.
Beware of the Early Season Form of Teams
With just one month of Major League Baseball down in the books, it is hard to claim that our hot-starting teams will stay heated up until the season ends, or the slow starters won’t be able to turn it around. That being said, it would be foolish to ignore the performances of teams after the first month. I mean, most teams have played around 25 games so far, which is roughly 15% of the 162 games slated for the season, which should certainly count for something. With that in mind, don’t sleep on hot-starting teams like Chicago White Sox (18-8) Chicago Cubs (17-6), Washington Nationals (17-7) and Boston Red Sox (15-10) just in the same way you shouldn’t overlook poor starters like the Atlanta Braves (6-18), Minnesota Twins (7-18), Houston Astros (8-17), New York Yankees (8-15), San Diego Padres (9-16) and Milwaukee Brewers (9-15).