Spring Training Betting: Tips to Consider Before Wagering

Spring Training Betting: Tips to Consider Before Wagering

The true sign that we are emerging from winter’s icy grip is not pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, but the start of actual baseball games, this year happening on February 21 when the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics get things going in the Cactus League opener in Mesa, Ariz.

That is followed the next day by the Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies lifting the lid on the Grapefruit League in Port Charlotte, Fla.

The games might not count to the teams, but they sure do to anyone betting on them, so in a helpful spirit to start anew with baseball betting, here are some tips for betting on the MLB during spring training.

Betting on MLB Spring Training

Tread Carefully

Seriously … did you see that part about the games not counting to the teams? That’s real. It’s the pros, so everyone always wants to win, but that does not mean that they necessarily are trying to win, at least not the same way they do during the season.

If Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to pitch, and his physical ramp-up to the season calls for that day’s outing to be 50 pitches, he could give up four home runs and not be too upset about it if the other 46 pitches felt good.

Bases loaded, winning run at the plate in the ninth inning, and a lefty reliever on the mound? That lefty batter might just stay in the game so that the manager can get a feel for how that guy approaches a tough situation where he faces a platoon disadvantage, and get the answer now to whether he needs to be pinch-hit for in June.

Spring training is about process over results, with the exception of players at the fringes battling for roster spots or the occasional manager who’s looking to “set a tone” with a good spring showing, but that’s generally with a trash team.

You’re about to bet on something where last year’s top three teams in the Grapefruit League were the Red Sox, who went on to win the World Series; the Astros, who went on to win the AL West; and the Orioles, who went on to lose 115 games and finish 61 back of Boston in the AL East.

Read up

Information is always your friend, but never more so than when the team in Red Sox uniforms might be more Pawtucket than Boston on a given day in Florida.

Lineups usually hit social media hours before first pitch, and sometimes in spring training, reporters might even get information on how many innings the top players are expected to go, as well as which relief pitchers are set to be used.

That’s valuable information, and if it’s coming in close enough to game time, might not be reflected in the betting line.

Rx for Success

Are you betting on a game that features a pitcher working his way back from surgery last year, or someone who got a late start to spring training because of a nagging injury? You may be looking at someone whose focus is more on getting right physically than it is on the results of their performance.

Sometimes the two do go hand-in-hand, but you’re looking for any edge you can get in an environment, where, remember, the difference between the 2019 Red Sox and the 2019 Orioles, over the course of a month, was four games.

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Crosstown Traffic

Superstars, particularly those with significant major league service time, rarely go on long spring training road trips.

Familiarize yourself with the map of Florida and avoid wagering on teams making longer journeys – they’ll not only be bringing a worse roster with them, the players who do go will have been on a bus for a while, coming to play against a bunch of guys who had their regular morning routine.

Don’t sleep on this for the Cactus League, either. Yes, all of the action there is in the Phoenix area, but ask anyone who’s ever had to drive from Surprise to Tempe how fun that commute is and how they feel after getting out of the car.

Split Happens

There are 15 teams in both Florida and Arizona, so split-squad games are as common now as they’ve ever been, to make sure that on most days, every team is playing at least one game. Often, one of the squads that a team splits into will be extremely bad.

Again, pay attention to the news of the day online, because it’s not always exactly what you expect.

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