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Baseball is almost back, and pickers are out in full swing as the 2022 Major League Baseball season finally gears up for action. This summer, everyone wants to make stacks of cash, from the top sports handicappers to recreational pickers. But building a solid win rate means always looking to gain that edge.
Unlike basketball and football, where pickers have to beat the point spread, baseball picks are made on the moneyline.
This means a picker only needs to select the winner, not who will cover. There’s the favorite, and then the underdog. While choosing the favorite feels like the safest play, learning to picks the right underdogs, in the right weather, at the correct park is how baseball pickers gain an edge.
The baseball season is long and tedious. With over a dozen MLB games each day and a schedule that pushes into October, handicappers have endless opportunities to make profits. A schedule this dense can be particularly lucrative for players who know how to maximize edge and find value.
If you’re interested in taking your Major League Baseball picks to the next level, this is the perfect time to start learning. To get you started, we’ve put together an expert guide on how to make the best MLB picks.
Let’s jump right in.
1. Picks Against the Majority
Betting against the recreational majority is a tried and true way to improve your picks. Going contrarian is a solid strategy, whether you are picking the moneyline on daily matchups or looking at season-long futures.
Most recreational pickers carry a crippling recency bias. If a team looked awesome in the previous game or a player had a monster year last season—they picks on them. The books adjust their lines based on this overwhelming public bias, which means we have to go the opposite way to gain an edge.
Baseball is a great sport for taking advantage of public bias. By focusing our action on the most heavily wagered and lopsided games of the day, we can take advantage of that bias and jump on inflated numbers. As a bonus, picking against the Average Joe puts us on the side of the house, and remember, the house always wins.
Looking at the most heavily picks games that night, watch for underdogs getting less than 40% of the public money. These picks may produce a losing record, but they should still make a solid profit due to their plus-money payouts.
While it’s a proven way to increase your overall units won, don’t always go for the contrarian play as a rule. Sports picking is about balance. Instead, take things like weather and schedule into account and look for that edge wherever you can find it.
2. Focus on Plus-Money Underdogs
The advantage of picking on the plus-money underdogs is that the most you can lose is even money. On the other hand, you get a plus-money payout if you win. This means throughout many picks over an entire season, you gain a significant mathematical edge by picking quality dogs.
Consider this, to make money in most football and basketball spreads, players need to win about 52% of the time (assuming the juice is -110). But when picking Major League Baseball, if we avoid picking big favorites, we can score a win rate below 50% and still finish the season in positive units because of the plus money paid when we win.
You should also consider the medium-to-long shots when picking MLB futures. Baseball futures picks typically last the entire season. Bettors might wager on team win totals, division winners, or league MVP.
Before last season, Shohei Ohtani was 30-1 picks to win the MVP, and we know at least one sharp picker turned this into a big payday at Caesers Sportsbook in Las Vegas. The picker laid $30,000 on Ohtani and collected nearly a million when he was crowned MVP at the season’s end.
Try to stay within the +120 to +170 range for underdogs. This will let you finish the season with positive units even if you finish with less than 50% wins.
3. Observe Reverse Line Movement
Reverse line movement (RLM) is when most public money is placed on one side, and despite this, the line moves in the opposite direction. At first, this idea feels counter-intuitive, but it’s a tool that can produce solid value for sports pickers when fully understood.
Simply put, you can spot RLM by looking for the reverse of what we would expect to happen. Let’s say Boston opens at -180 and New York +155. Two days later, we see Boston has moved to -170, even though a majority of the public money, say 65% or 70%, has been picks on them.
With that much money on Boston, we expect the picksmakers to have moved the line up to encourage people to picks on New York. Instead, the reverse happened, and the line moved down to -170, steering even more money toward an already heavily picks Boston. This is RLM.
Conventional wisdom tells us that the books want to balance the action, but that’s only part of the story. Ultimately, the books want to win. The house will typically allow “square” or public money to flow in without moving the line at all, but when sharp picks start to arrive, the books will deviate. If we follow these line movements, we can align our wagers with the sharp money, which is where we always want to be.
Use RLM to support or correct a picks you’re thinking of making. Once you see how the public is picking, watch for line movement in that direction. If, instead, the line moves down, then confirm or correct your wager accordingly.
4. Watch the Weather
The strength and direction of the wind is the most critical weather factor to consider in baseball picking. The wind alone can turn potential home runs into outs and skew the game in favor of underdogs if the favorites have primarily big hitters on their team.
Statisticians have been gathering data on wind for decades, and what they’ve generally found is that wind “blowing in” tends to start having an impact at 5mph. The greater the wind, the more significant a factor it can be. When the wind is “blowing out,” it typically requires a speed of 8mph before the ball begins to carry in ways that will affect the game.
While baseball is primarily a moneyline sport, when it comes to picking the wind, there is often value in picking the over/under the run total. So, if we see a 10mph wind blowing out, picking the over is a solid play. Conversely, if the wind is blowing in, take a look at picking the under.
Another weather factor to consider is the temperature. Years of baseball stats show a direct connection between heat and ball flight. Typically, the hotter it gets (above 90 degrees F), the more home runs get hit. The same goes in reverse for cold-weather games below 50 degrees.
Although, it’s important to remember the constant cat-and-mouse game we play with the books. Sometimes picksmakers will overcompensate for a cold-weather game, placing the total too low (7 or less), in which case we need to adjust and picks over to give ourselves the statistical edge.
Stadiums to watch: Coors Field, Wrigley Field, AT&T Park/Angel Stadium, Globe Park.
Look for the wind blowing in and temperatures below 50 degrees to picks on the underdogs. Go vice versa for the favorite, with the wind is blowing out or the weather is above 90 degrees buckle-up for some bombs.
5. Look for Props and Derivatives
Proposition, or prop picking, involves placing a wager on any statistic in a baseball game. You can find prop picks on almost anything. They are an overlooked corner of the baseball picking ecosystem, and as such, they frequently offer very juicy lines.
For players coming from a daily fantasy background, player props will feel like a natural fit. You can picks on the number of hits or strikeouts a player will have in a game or if they will hit multiple home runs.
Some props can involve a single team, picking on how many total runs they will score or how many errors they might commit. Other props concern the game itself, like picking on whether or not a run will be scored in the first inning or how many double-plays will be turned.
The possibilities are endless, and if we find the right lines, we’ll see solid returns.
Handicappers love to have choices, and another option we have when picking baseball is to play derivatives. The word “derivatives” is a fancy way to say additional picks using the money line and run total. These picks separate the game into smaller chunks, so pickers who prefer to can wager on just the first three or the first five innings of a game.
For Major League Baseball, a sport dependent on bullpens, derivatives have become an increasingly popular play.
Many pickers don’t like the prospect of wagering on a pitcher who is unlikely to finish the game, placing the picks into the hands of another player. So instead, we have the option to picks on run totals and money lines for just the first five innings.
Think about it like this. Maybe you like the starting pitcher in the Arizona game, but it’s hot there, and you’re not sure how long he will stay on the mound. Well, you could picks the run total for only the first five innings and have your profits in hand before sundown. The favorite is typically about half the full-game price.
Baseball is the most data-heavy sport in the world. Use baseball analytics websites to gain an edge in props and derivatives. While the line is always set at an even ratio, running the numbers will help you predict the game’s flow, and that’s the key to this type of picking.
6. Work With Handicappers Experts
Is that pitcher still injured?
How does this team play in hot weather?
Where’s all the public money going in this game?
Taking the guesswork out of MLB picking can be a best-case scenario for both new pickers and experienced ones alike.
Working with a team always makes us stronger. That’s why the MLB picks team at The Best Picks on Sports has spent the entire off-season crunching baseball numbers and lining up our expert Major League Baseball picks for you. We’ve done all the work so you can experience all the profits.
Are you tired of being edged out on the final play of the game or throwing money away on inflated picking lines? This is where experts such as The Best Sports Picks team come in.
If you’re ready to take your Major League Baseball picks to the next level but are still unsure about the math, the concepts, or the best approach to doing so, look no further. Trusting an MLB picks expert to evaluate the trends can significantly increase your units won.
The win margins in baseball are very tight. You need to make smart picks to break even, let alone profit big. Our baseball picks experts at The Best Picks on Sports will support you in making correct baseball picks for any MLB wager on the schedule.
If you’re looking to make elite Major League Baseball picks this season, the Best Picks on Sports team is here for you. Whether you’re brand new to baseball picks or a steady veteran, the experts at The Best Picks on Sports have logged over 16 winning years of MLB picks and valuable picking advice. Let us help you take your game to the next level.
When choosing picking experts to place your money with, make sure to observe their total units won for the previous MLB season instead of just the percentage, both regular season and playoffs. Consistent unit sizing and a solid win rate are good qualities to look for in a picking expert.