So it’s the start of MLB exhibition season and you are all excited, because the season opener is a few weeks away. How exactly do you bet on MLB exhibition anyway? A closer look at MLB exhibition baseball betting reveals how much of a coin toss it really is. Let’s look at some of the fundamentals affecting exhibition games you might want to bet on.
If you are at least a semi-decent sports bettor, the first thing (or one of the first things) you do is check to see if any players are injured or missing. Having a missing star from a team can impact the outcome of a game. In fact, if a major player is out, you might skip the play altogether. Enter exhibition baseball and it’s cloudy playing picture. In an exhibition game, you don’t know who will play until the game is being played. Last I checked no sports book would let you bet on the action after it occurs. If you locate one, let me know. pg168
Looking at the box scores of MLB exhibition games, it becomes obvious that “stars” are played sparingly. For example, a starting pitcher who already has a spot on the team might see up to 2 innings of work. It’s hit and miss with position players. They might play a whole game or simply one at bat. Also, it’s the exhibition so players who have jobs cemented are more likely to test out new pitches, new swings and work on mechanics. The game becomes a roller coaster.
The second issue that affects exhibition baseball betting is what I like to call Hooks. A hook is basically a set point when you, as a manager, make a change. In the regular season, for example, if a relief pitcher comes in and has a rough time, he will most likely be replaced quickly. However, in exhibition baseball, there’s no worry about losing since the games don’t matter. Teams, up by say a run or two, have no problem letting a pitcher give up many runs in one inning. Your team could be cruising along and up comes Mr. Poor Pitcher to the mound. In just one inning of work, since the hooks are non-existent, he could throw away the game.
For these reasons, most MLB exhibition games are setup where the favorite is normally only slightly valued–normally -1.10 to -1.30. You will find that the “home” team is favored always unless the visitor is perceived to be a better team in the regular season. For example, if the home team was the Detroit Tigers and the visitor team was the NY Yankees, the Yankees would most likely be the favorite. These games become multiple hour coin flips. A quick scan of action on one randomly selected exhibition baseball day revealed that of the 10 exhibition games, 6 of the favorites and 4 of the underdogs won. It is pretty even.
A better use for the MLB exhibition season would be to monitor talent and prepare to bet in the regular season. However, if you must throw down action, good luck to you. Some people do better in exhibition betting, because there’s not too much to think about. Many sports bettors simply pick a favorite and bet them.