MLB Picks: Following Clichés Can Cost You Betting Baseball

Doug Upstone

Saturday, June 6, 2015 11:06 PM UTC

Saturday, Jun. 6, 2015 11:06 PM UTC

When it comes to making sports picks as a baseball handicapper or any sport for that matter, I do not run with the usual crowd. I learned long ago a different method and it has worked for years.

When I was betting on my own years ago, like many novices, I surveyed the MLB odds and wagered on many favorites. As my skills increased I saw the value of underdogs and over time got to talk to many in the industry and the main message conveyed to me was: underdogs is where all the value is. I took these people’s word at face value and began to think underdog first.

After having a few good years with my own methods, I began to not do as well playing primarily dogs and I began to question myself and what I was doing first starting out when selling selections. In looking to buy advertising in a football magazine I talked to a long time handicapper and asked him how he handicapped and he gave me the best advice anyone had. He said don’t get consumed about favorites or underdogs, find the - right side - and the money will follow. From a wagering perspective those words changed my life and I have only followed that principle since.


Bet a Pitcher Who Wins
When trying to beat the sportsbooks' odds, I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard, “Even the best pitchers lose 8-10 games, be wary of them because you have to pay inflated money lines.” This is not a false statement, but these kinds of scare tactics can take a baseball bettor off some great opportunities.

Two strong examples this season of this are Michael Wacha of St. Louis and Felix Hernandez of Seattle. The Cardinals right-hander is 8-1 with a sparkling 2.18 ERA and WHIP of 1.03. Coming into the year he had a good reputation and was playing on a top flight team. After a perfect April and coupled with ending last year strong, in my eyes, as long as I could make MLB picks on Wacha and the Cards at -150 or less I liked my chances of success. Following the principle of finding the “right side” I began backing Wacha and the Cardinals and year to date this combo is 10-1 +9.2 units.

Hernandez is a different kind of pitcher in the betting world because he is acknowledged as one the best pitchers in baseball since he was 21 years old in 2007. King Felix lifetime record is a good not great 133-94, playing mostly on mediocre to average teams in his career. Opportunities to back Hernandez are fewer because he generates very chalky numbers in the -160 to -225 range, which means you have to have discipline.

If you have been paying attention, King Felix has been at his best almost all season and Seattle despite their crummy record is 9-2 when their ace takes the ball. If you follow the formula of riding a top shelf pitcher in the right money line range (-150 or less), Hernandez is 4-1 +2.65, with his first loss the last time out.


There are Even more Shining Examples
If you are going to beat the odds at places like GTBets, who offer very fair numbers, backing hot pitchers is a solid strategy as long as you do not fall in love with certain guys who could go into funks and drop two or three games, which is why you have to do your homework.

This season if you blindly wagered on Nick Martinez (Texas), Mike Pelfrey (Kansas City), James Shields (San Diego), Shelby Miller (Atlanta) and David Price (Detroit), who all had strong April’s, from May 1 thru June 4th, besides the other two hurlers I have mentioned, they are collectively 22-8, good for +17.1 units at -150 or less.

There are many ways to beat the books and this is one more when you have the courage to just find the winner.

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