Baseball bettors know that betting on the playoffs is a very different proposition than betting on the regular season. In some subtle but still significant ways betting on the wild card round, the LDS, is different that betting on the LCS as well. here are seven of those differences and the impact they can have for baseball bettors:
Better matched teams – In the wild card round mismatches are very possible. The wild card team could limp into the playoffs, and they have to face the bal team with the best record, so they could more than have their hands full. It’s also possible that the winner of a division could be less than impressive if that division was particularly weak. By the time you get to the LCS, though, there is a much better chance that the teams are evenly matched. In a perfect word the two best teams in the league have made the championship round. Even if that’s not the case both teams have won a playoff series so they are confident and in good form. The less likely a mismatch, the more cautious and careful you have to be in looking for factors that give one team an edge.
More public interest – The further we get into the playoffs the more public interest there is in the games. For one thing the games move onto a major network in the second round so they are more visible to more fans. The more public interest there is in any sporting event, the more public money there will be bet on the game, and the more aware smart baseball bettors need to be of the impact of that money. If one MLB team is more likely to draw a significant portion of the public bets than the other then it could be harder to find value betting on that team, but easier to find it on the opponent.
Fewer games per day means more volume per game – In the LDS round there are typically two games per day. Many times in the LCS round we’ll see just one game per day. When there are fewer games played on a day then many bettors will bet more on the games because they won’t have to split their bankroll for the day among multiple games. That means that betting volumes will often be significantly higher in the LCS than the LDS. When baseball betting volumes increase oddsmakers work harder to set the sharpest lines they can, and any errors in those lines are going to be corrected even faster than usual. One of the big impacts of increased betting volume, then, is that if you think you spot a line that seems really incorrect in a high volume game then you can be reasonably confident that you have missed something and you should go back and look closer.
Five games vs. seven – The wild card round is a best of five, while the LCS series are best of seven. There are several factors affected by the increased length. The most significant is that the longer a series is the better the chances that the best team will come out on top. Any team can beat any other team on a given day, but it’s harder to win three of five, and harder still to win four of seven.
More media attention per game – In the LDS round the media has four different games to split their attention between. They also don’t have as much public interest as they will in the next round, so they aren’t going to have to create the volume of work that they will later. In the LCS round there are just two series and more airtime to fill and stories to print. That means that the coverage will be much broader and deeper on each team and each series that remains in the LCS than it was in the LDS. Increased media interest can have a couple of big impacts for bettors. First, if the media focuses on one team more than the other – as they are often likely to do – then that can have a big impact on public bettors. Second, the more coverage there is the more noise there is for you to block out as you make your decisions.
Potential rotation issues – The deeper you get into the MLB playoffs the more potential issues there are with pitchers ad their usage. Teams go into the playoffs with shortened rotations, and that frequently leads to situations where players go on shortened rest. That is such a rarity in baseball these days that it can be really hard on pitchers. It won’t happen in the first round outside of the fifth game potentially, but it can frequently be an issue in the latter parts of the second round and baseball handicappers need to be aware of this.