When I tell people that NFL Preseason betting can be a great source of early season value, they usually look at me with an expression that is a mix of shock and horror. I can actually see the thought bubble with the word, “DEGENERATE” forming above their heads.
However, then I explain the reasoning behind betting on the NFL preseason – with things like motivational angles, coaching and experience differences, and scheduling quirks playing a big role – and, slowly but surely, they start to get why betting on exhibition games actually makes sense.
Doc’s Sports offers MLB expert picks for every game on our baseball predictions page.
The same cannot be said for betting on Major League Baseball Spring Training games.
And if you want the best advice for betting on Spring Training games that you will ever hear, then here it is: don’t do it.
Betting on March baseball is, frankly, ridiculous. There are split squad games. There are injuries that you don’t know about. There are veterans just mailing it in because they are waiting for the regular season. There are rest days that aren’t announced. There are so many variables that you don’t have to deal with during the regular season.
“Spring Training is preparation for the regular season,” said Doug Upstone of Doc’s Sports. “If a batter wants to pull the ball more or add loft for more power, this is when he does it. The results could vary from week to week and affect his team’s results, and you would never know.”
The most important factor when judging a moneyline wager in a baseball game is the starting pitcher. However, in exhibition games there really is no telling how long the starter is going to stay in the game. Starting pitchers are on strict pitch counts in the spring. So, if a guy is only going to throw 35-45 pitches, does that mean two innings or does it mean four?
“The same would be true about a pitcher wanting to add a changeup, or maybe struggling with his release point in the spring,” said Upstone. “He’ll use his first three of four starts to work on this as opposed to trying to get hitters out with his best pitches.”
Here is all you need to know about betting on Spring Training baseball: there are ties. These managers and players don’t even care enough about who wins or loses these games to play extra innings; if a game is tied, they just shake hands and move on.
Further, for years, MLB has tried to get sportsbooks to stop allowing betting on Spring Training games. The league itself points to things like “heightened integrity risks” because a lot of the players don’t give a damn. For every minor leaguer that is out there trying to run through brick walls, there are five other veterans who are probably nursing hangovers and just phoning it in.
“Nobody loves MLB more than me, but I completely agree,” said Upstone. “If sports handicapping is supposed to be about having an edge, Spring Training betting offers almost none.
“Today, we know the starting pitchers. Will they go one inning or three? The batting orders will be posted about 90 minutes before first pitch, and you could have five normal starters and four minor leaguers or one starter and eight minor leaguers.”
Now, I’m certain there are some guys out there that have some sophisticated system for betting on exhibition baseball and they clean up on it every year. Those guys may make up 0.02 percent of the betting population. And, frankly, I don’t know if I believe that they exist.
Here is a good article about some basic tips for betting on Spring Training baseball. And they certainly make sense. But at the end of the day, it is a risk vs. reward situation when it comes to betting on fake baseball games. And for the amount of time that you would have to put in to scouring the Internet to find out who is playing and for how long, the return on investment is a pittance.
Look at it this way: instead of spending hours tracking beat writers for info on starting lineups and pitch counts just to bet a Spring Training game – which all sportsbooks have low limits on anyway – you could be spending that time digging in on college basketball, NBA, or NHL games this time of the year.
You should definitely be paying attention to Major League Baseball right now. Like any sport, the seeds for a successful campaign are planted in the preseason. You need to pay attention to things like injuries, how the rule changes are impacting the game, and which players are off to hot or cold starts.
That doesn’t mean that you should be laying out your hard-earned cash on these extremely volatile situations.
When it comes to betting on Spring Training baseball, just remember that sometimes the best bets are the ones you don’t make.
Robert Ferringo has posted four of five winning MLB seasons and is looking forward to another dominating summer. He has gone on devastating runs each of the past two seasons, banking +12,000 from April 21-June 30 in 2022 and taking home +14,800 in May-June in 2021. Robert also closed out the 2019 season on a +10,000 run, banked +20,000 from June of 2012 to April of 2016, and over +30,000 from 2007-2009. He has been one of the top baseball handicappers in the country for nearly two decades and we are talking serious profit. Get signed up today!