The month of March brings a lot of opportunities for us sports bettors. College basketball is getting into the meat of the season with Conference Tournaments and, of course, the NCAA Tournament. The NBA is just picking up after the All-Star break and the quality of basketball gets much better. Hockey is in the home stretch as well, while free agency and the NFL Draft continue to spark interest. While MLB spring training is not always the most exciting, it can be very prosperous considering odds makers are vulnerable and it’s tough for them to be spot-on. It takes a completely different approach than the regular season to be a successful MLB bettor, and I’ll cover of a few of the factors that are crucial for you to follow if you want to come out on top. Here are some habits that I’ve used over the years to make my plays:
1. Shop for value
2. Pay attention to who will play each day
3. Fade split squads
4. Don’t pay as much attention to starting pitchers
5. Keep an eye on injury reports
6. Bet less than you would in the regular season
7. Check local papers
As you would with any other sport, finding value is critical. It’s even more important in spring training to have a few different books to choose from, and I recommend at least five. The handle for spring training games is much lower than in the regular season, therefore it’s hard for books to post a tight line. This makes it easier to find value when you are able to shop around because lines will be different among different books.
While most teams will field the same lineup in the regular season, they rarely do in spring training. Teams are looking to give their young talent a lot more playing time, especially early in the spring. It’s certainly not easy to find out who all will be playing, but if you do your research you can find the information you are looking for.
Some teams will play two games in the same day. Often they will be playing another team that only has one game that day. This means the team with two games will be weaker for both of their games because they will be playing split squads, while the team with only one game will be playing their full squad.
Starters are very important during the regular season, but considering they only pitch two or three innings early in spring training they are much less relevant. Plus, pitchers who know they are going to be starters in the regular season are mainly just trying to fine-tune their skills. They tend to try new things while not focusing as much on results. Don’t get caught laying heavy juice on the elite starters during spring training.
Many key players will often sit out during spring training for a number of different reasons. Any small injury that wouldn’t keep them out during the regular season will keep them out during spring training due to precautionary reasons.
Handicapping spring training games is a lot harder because there is so much less information for you to be able to get your hands on. That doesn’t mean there’s not value, it just means don’t blow your bankroll trying to get way ahead before the regular season rolls around. Pick and choose wisely and find only games that you know there is value on.
The host cities in Florida and Arizona love spring training. It is perhaps the most exciting time of year for these towns and people who live in them. The local papers in these states do a very good job of covering spring training, games and if you can get your hands on them by doing your research then this will give you an advantage. You won’t find the kinds of insights in regional or national media that you would in the local papers.