A new season begins on Thursday, just a few days from now! The World Baseball Classic has revved the engine for this season with great hype and expectation. We will see players on new teams, highly touted rookies, and new rules. However, for us bettors, we must not become fans to the point we forget what we are trying to accomplish. We want winning bets! With that said, here are a few items to remember specifically for opening day.
All teams are as equal as they will be the entire season. They all have no wins or losses. It is important because the bad teams are not yet far out of the division races, so they are in their most competitive stage of the season. They haven’t been pounded down, so they will be more spirited today. I assure you that a significant underdog will win on opening day. Be careful wagering the big favorites in those parlays!
Pay attention to the weather! This is twofold. These teams have come from Arizona and Florida’s warmth and will now be playing in much cooler weather. The other issue with cold weather is the baseball. It does not fly as far! Run scoring usually is lower in cold weather. Consider looking at under-wagers before over-wagers.
There has been much hype regarding the rule changes and how much more offense will be in the game. While I believe it will be more entertaining, I disagree with the thought that more runs will be scored. Instead, we will see stolen bases, more balls getting through the right side of the diamond, and more athletic plays. Therefore, I will be taking a contrarian stance looking at under spots.
There will always be much said about injuries. However, please try to contain your enthusiasm to downgrade teams based on specific players not being in the lineup. Injuries are a significant deal when they are clustered. For example, if a team loses 3 of its 5 starting pitchers, that is a cluster. A team will not have replacements on the level to sustain a previously expected winning percentage, so they should be downgraded. More often, though, people must know who is playing, and if a star is not, the team must be downgraded. This is not a best practice. Teams will have role players step into those situations and perform very well. It is unlike in the NFL, where a star quarterback becomes irreplaceable. Baseball seems to overcome these issues on a short-term basis.
Lastly, be aware of the radio, tv, and experts. They will have created expectations for teams or players that broadly do not match data forecasts and projections. Of course, those are not perfect; however, they take on regression modeling, which properly tempers expectations. The media people are selling their media, not providing the information you can utilize to wager on.
Have a great Opening Day! Win some bets!