Major League Baseball (MLB) is the premier baseball league in the world. A total of 30 teams - 29 in the United States and one in Canada - compete in MLB.
The teams are divided into the American League (14 teams) and the National League (16 teams). Each league is further subdivided into three divisions, namely East, Central, and West.
An MLB season starts with Spring training with a series of practices and exhibition games. The regular season begins on the first Sunday in April and ends on the first Sunday in October. During the course of the regular season, each MLB team plays a total of 162 games. The teams' schedule is typically arranged into 3-game series, with occasional 2 or 4-game series.
Only 10 teams qualify for the Postseason - six division champions and four "wild-card" teams (two teams in each league with the best record but are not division champions).
MLB betting can be tricky, with numerous games being played everyday. Here are a few MLB betting tips to consider before making a pick.
In betting terms, a 'chalk player' is someone who usually bets on the favored teams. While underdogs offer great value in baseball betting, favorites offer good value too - if you know what to look for.
Consider that in MLB, even the top teams lose more than 70 games a season. This puts more value in betting on underdogs in baseball matchups than in any other sport.
At the end of the 2011 MLB season, the Philadelphia Phillies had the best win-loss record at 102 - 60. Meanwhile, the Houston Astros owned the worst win-loss record at 56 - 106.
Just by looking at the standings, we can conclude that breaking even on betting on underdog MLB teams requires a lower percentage of wins than betting on the favorite.
A pitcher is widely considered as the single most important player on the diamond. While starting pitching is important, it would be best not to rely solely on the starting pitcher as the basis for making a bet.
It is said that most of the pitchers are fairly equal once you get past the top 20 in each league. Considering that, watch out for these angles when weighing how a pitcher will perform.
Use a ranking system to two compare the two starting pitchers. Even the official MLB website ranks the pitchers, so be sure to check it out. If the pitcher for the underdog team ranks higher than the pitcher of the favorite team, there's definitely value on the underdog.
Also, consider how the pitcher fares against the opposing team as some pitchers play well against certain team.
Also check how a pitcher performs at home and on the road. If he performs well at home and the next game is at home, there may be added value there.
The rigors of a long season takes its toll on all the players, even pitchers. That's why it is equally important to consider bullpen pitching.
Knowing how the bullpen performs against certain teams goes a long way especially when the starting pitcher starts to fade.
It may be smart to bet against a team that has a weak bullpen and cannot use their best setup guy or closer because they are over worked.
While pitching is generally considered as the biggest key to a game, hitting can be equally important, especially if you intimately know how the hitters perform against the opposing pitchers.
At the end of the 2011 MLB Season, the Boston Red Sox and the NY Yankees scored the most runs at 875 and 867, respectively.
Before immediately jumping on heavy hitting teams, consider how they have performed against the opposing starting pitcher. Have the hitters delivered at home? Or are they more potent on the road?
Generally, it is best to avoid betting on popular MLB teams like the NY Yankees, Boston Red Sox, NY Mets and the Chicago Cubs. These clubs are usually heavy favorites simply because they are popular in the public's eye.