Right now baseball seems like the furthest thing from our minds – it’s the middle of winter, NFL football is still in full swing and the Super Bowl is still a couple of weeks away. Before you know it, though, it will be spring training time. Pitchers and catchers report just a week after the Super Bowl, and spring training games kick off less than three weeks later.
Successful baseball betting is all about preparation. You need to know everything you can about a team so you can sense when they can be expected to play their best and when they could falter. Early in the season that preparation is especially important – there is no recent performances to rely on, so the bettors who know the teams best are the ones who have an edge in the early games. If you do your homework in February you can make very profitable sports picks in April while the betting public is trying to figure out what is going on. Here are five things you can do now to get that edge:
Look at free agent movement – There is a huge amount of player movement between the World Series and spring training. The big name guys get all sorts of attention – the aces and sluggers who get the massive contracts. Every year, though, we see that journeymen or veterans who find a new team at a low price can have a huge impact on their teams. It could be an experienced older player who can provide leadership to a young lineup, a hitter who breaks out when put in a position to succeed, or a pitcher who fills out a rotation or adds bulk to the bullpen. The public will be on top of the big moves, but those lesser moves will have largely escaped their attention. By spending the time to look at every move that was made in the offseason and what it could mean for the team that made the addition – and the one that lost the player – you are going to be in a very good position to succeed.
What did teams need at end of last year? Did they get it? – I like to look at the final rosters at the end of the regular season for every team in the league. By looking at what the players had and their stats you can usually quickly see where the team was in good shape, and in which situations they were inadequate. Maybe their bullpen was ineffective because starters weren’t eating enough innings. Or maybe their offense was hampered by their inability to get on base at the top of the lineup. Perhaps their outfielders didn’t hit with enough power, or their infielders committed too much errors. Whatever the issue is, it’s obvious that nothing significant will change if the team has not done anything to address the situations. Once you have seen what these shortfalls are you can compare them to player movement to see if the team is likely going to be much better than they were, or if we can expect more of the same from them.
Learn about the youngsters – Every team in the league will have at least one of two young players that will be looked upon to play some significant time as a rookie – whether in the field or on the mound. We can’t be sure which young players will make the team just yet, but spending some time getting to know the top prospects in each organization – especially ones who play positions of need – is time very well spent. Even if the players don’t start the season in the big leagues they could be call ups later in the season, or they could be part of trades. The more you know about these players before they play – especially the ones who aren’t highly touted blue chips stars – the better off you will be.
Look at the coaching staff changes – We pay a lot of attention to manager changes, and their impact – and getting to know what changes have been made and what impact they are likely to have is crucial at this time of year. What is often overlooked, though, is changes in key positions. Has a team with badly underperforming pitchers made a change in pitching coach? Has an offensively inept team brought in a new hitting coach? Those types of changes are almost certain to fly under the radar of the betting public, but they can have a big impact on how teams play.
Who is getting too old? – Age is not usually kind to baseball players. Until you see players perform to start the year you can’t tell for sure if time has caught up to them. This is a good time, though, to look at each team’s roster to make a list of the players who could be a bit too long in the tooth to play at their best. Aging players can be very valuable for bettors to have a sense of – especially pitchers – because the betting public will think of the players like they used to play instead of how they are playing now.