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How to Bet Baseball Futures

How to Bet Baseball Futures

HOW TO BET BASEBALL FUTURES – One of the best phrases to any baseball fan is this: “Pitchers and catchers reporting”. Once that happens, the new baseball season is just over a month away, and that makes February the time to jump in on futures bets.

If you’re interested in making futures bets on baseball, there are several things you should know to get the most value out of your money. These strategies can help you find value on things like team win totals, division winners and individual performances.

Check Out the Schedule

In 2022, the New York Yankees weren’t considered favorites to win the AL East. They sat second behind the Blue Jays, with some books even putting them behind Tampa Bay.

But the Yankees’ early schedule was loaded with weak opponents from the AL Central, along with Baltimore before the Orioles’ good young players arrived from the minors. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays spent April and May facing playoff teams like the Astros and Mariners, along with playing several division games against Tampa Bay.

Related: How to Bet a Basketball Total

While the Rays and the Blue Jays beat each other up, the Yankees padded their record. By July 10, the Yankees’ record had reached 15.5 games. Once the schedule got harder, New York only played .500 ball the rest of the way. But the Yankees had built the margin so high that Toronto could only make up eight games, and New York easily won the division.

The lesson is, even though baseball schedules seem equal, they’re not. The first two months dictate how the rest of the season will go. An early lead lets managers get their best players some extra rest on tough trips. An early deficit forces managers to decide they have to push for a win.

This year, the Rays might be on the other end of that equation. The five worst teams in baseball in 2024 are expected to be the Athletics, White Sox, Angels, Rockies and Nationals. Four of them show up on Tampa Bay’s schedule within the first two months of the season. At +650 to win the AL East at DraftKings, the Rays’ schedule makes them an excellent value play.

Pay Attention to Spring Training

One of my favorite moves ever came before sports betting was available to me. In spring 2006, I went down to Florida for spring training and caught a Pirates game in Bradenton. During that game, Pittsburgh utility infielder Freddy Sanchez came up with a multi-hit game, and what stood out to me was how smooth his swing looked. When my fantasy baseball draft came up later that month, I spent my final choice on Freddy Sanchez, knowing that he could hit and I could play him at either second or third base.

How did that work out? Sanchez became an All-Star and won the National League batting title. If I could have made that prop bet today and thrown a couple dollars on him, I’d likely have come out with a couple thousand dollars.

That’s an extreme example, but the point is that when making futures bets on baseball, knowing the lesser-known players makes a big difference. If you’re looking at a lottery ticket bet, such as Rookie of the Year, watch how they look in the spring. If you’re first to pick up on someone breaking out, you’ll get much better odds.

Don’t Fall In Love Easily

There’s a converse to the previous point: it’s easy to overrate a player. If you’re betting on a lesser-known player’s breakout season, make sure you’re cognizant of the fact that it’s a lottery bet. You don’t have to bet big on these props to make a healthy profit.

A good futures strategy involves a couple bets you feel very strongly about, a couple plus-money plays that offer a lot of value and one or two lottery tickets. You don’t want to take a huge bet on a season-long prop play for two reasons. First, an injury could wipe out your play in one fell swoop. Second, even if you’re right, making futures bets on baseball ties up your money for eight months. Betting too large too soon can limit your ability to make smart bets elsewhere.

Make Complementary Bets

When betting, you should always think about the why. With futures bets, you can extrapolate that to find good value. For example, if you like Paul Skenes to win Rookie of the Year, then it stands to reason that the Pirates would top their win total of 74.5 games, seeing as how they won 76 without him. Skenes might not end up winning ROY (he’s +1100 for that), but if he’s in the conversation, a bet on the Pirates to be better than expected is likely to cash.

Go Against the Grain

Someone is going to have to suck. That means taking an under is often a wise move. The public hates betting unders because unders usually mean that things aren’t happening, but that’s baseball. In this sport, failing 65% of the time makes you a Hall of Famer.

Juan Soto could be a great example. Soto’s new in New York this season, and most people expect he’ll easily make the adjustment to Yankee Stadium. But Soto’s spent his entire career in San Diego and Washington, neither of which brings the pressures of the Bronx. He’s never hit more than 35 home runs in a season, and his totals have him at 36.5. If he struggles early and the Yankee fans give him the business, the under could be a sneaky good play.

Futures plays can be a frustrating wait, but if you take your time and analyze correctly, they can pay off in a big way. If you’re ready to try making futures bets on baseball, these tips could give you an edge.

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