It’s May 2019.
Soccer leagues ended, NBA is finished, NFL regular season will start in September. This is couple of months from now. What to bet now? I need betting, I need adrenaline.
Are you asking the same question somewhere in May, June every year?
I see this pattern every single year. Somewhere in May people start writing me how to bet baseball. Some of them just need action and after all leagues and sports ended, they try to find another way how to spend their money on betting. And of course there is a baseball. Basically it is the only big market team sport at that time available and in full swing. In 2018 we had World Cup and a lot of gamblers put their money there, but in 2019, there is no such event and I believe that somewhere in May, June there will be huge interest in how to bet baseball.
But of course this is not the right way how to win baseball season. Baseball has 2430 regular season games and if you add couple of playoffs games, then you see that this is more than NFL, NBA and soccer league games combined.
If you can fake it with NFL league, where you can just win the season by luck on 50 games and when we see many gamblers showing their results like “we are on red hot run 20-9 in last 29 games”,  in baseball it is little bit harder to fake it.
First of all most bettors have no strategy, not enough knowledge, no discipline, nor the patience to stay alive whole season. Up to 15 games every single day are very tempting for a regular gambler, who can of course not fight against the bookmakers on a regular basis.
After NBA, Soccer, NFL and other more attractive leagues and sports most bettors will turn to baseball. But most of them will say, that baseball is much harder sport to bet, because the best team will win around 60% of all games and the worst team will win around 40% of all games. And we all know that amateur gamblers like to bet on huge favourites and then they like to brag about their wins. So, when you have a sport where you almost never have “sure” winner, as they like to say, then of course the sport is hard to bet. But they don’t understand that their focus is wrong (looking for winners instead of value, but about this little bit later).
Baseball is all about numbers. And when you have an average gambler without any knowledge about statistics, of course he will say that this is too much for him. But still, adrenaline and betting is  more tempting. How can he be without betting for next 3-4 months? No way. So let’s find a way how to gamble.
And he starts to search on the internet about MLB betting. He finds some sites, that guarantee huge profit and he is ready to find good handicappers for MLB. So he can sit at home, open email once per day and becomes a millionaire without a work. Yeah 🙂.
But of course, the list of handicappers is huge. Every single handicapper you see on twitter or anywhere else is a World Champion of betting. There is many old guys from Vegas, who have “special” gift to tell you who will win the next day. So, who to follow? How to bet baseball? What  should I focus on? Where to start?
And this is why I will try to help you with couple of practical advices how to bet baseball, on what you should focus and I hope I will give you better chance to win.
Let’s start with the first important thing… simple understanding of the concept.
I like to compare betting with some other for us trivial things. Car selling, tomato selling on market, importing bananas,…
Let’s say you want to make money selling bananas. What will you do first?
I would probably start researching bananas first. There is probably big science about bananas. Different types, green, yellow, blue, orange, black, pink bananas… I don’t know. Then I would try to learn everything about those types of bananas and find out how would I make a profit with them.
How much I need to invest in bananas, where to buy them, how I will transport them here, for which price I can sell them here. What are my expenses for everything. And I can tell you that in my country we have a millionaire who is importing bananas. I think he knows everything about bananas, maybe he talks to them every night. But one is for sure, he knew exactly how much was his initial investment and how much he gains now.
He didn’t just google it for 5 minutes one “Vegas Banana Joe” and ask him for a pick. I think he made a huge research and how to make money with bananas. Not only he must understand bananas, but he also must be disciplined to work every day, he must understand business little bit, economics, etc…
Secondly, after he researched the market and understand what are bananas, then he started researching how he will make profit. And the basic concept of making money are always at least two prices, that you need to have.
First is the price of banana, that he bought from a farmer in Columbia and the second is the price of banana, that he will sell it in USA.
Banana price in Columbia = $1
Banana price in USA = $2
(let’s say that expenses are $0.5)
His profit = $0.5 per 1 kilo
What he needs to understand/estimate?
  1. The price of banana in Columbia
  2. And he needs to know for which price he can sell in USA. Without this, he is in the dark and is risking a loss.
It is not about how big or how yellow is banana. You can have the most sweetest and biggest and most yellow banana, but if you sell it for lower price than you bought it, you will lose. What I want to show you here s that it is not about “winning bananas” (it is not about that big fat yellow banana), but about that difference between your deal in Columbia (your estimated price) and that market price in USA. The better you estimate those prices, the better chances you will have to make profit.
So, what about you?
You want to make money in sports betting, right?
How much time and effort did you put into sports betting knowledge?
Do you understand the market? Do you understand the concept of betting, the concept of value or are you looking just for sweet and fat bananas (winners) no matter what the price is? Do you understand that small sample size of bets will not tell you anything? Can you estimate your odds and winning percentages before you bet? Do you have realistic expectations or you want to become a millionaire with your $500 bankroll?
Sports betting is a huge business and 95% of all bettors bet without any goal. This is why bookmakers will probably always win. When I say, that the knowledge is very important and if you want to win at sports betting, you must first have the right mindset, right strategy and the goal. What you want from it, what is your realistic goal, what are you willing to invest at the start (in terms of money, time and effort) and then what are you willing to pay every day.
Baseball season will start soon and many gamblers, bettors, handicappers and other people involved in sports betting will be part of the season.

#1 Mindset

My first advice is always the right mindset. No matter if you will find the way how to beat the market and no matter if you will have the best formulas to estimate baseball prices (odds), if you will not have the right mindset and if you will not understand what are you doing, you will probably lose. I saw many handicappers, that had 8 good months and then they lost everything in just 3 weeks. They were good, but they didn’t have discipline, they didn’t have the right mentality and this is one very important thing.
Sports betting is an active income, it is not passive income like some people want to show us. Because in sports betting and especially in baseball you need to bet and analyse games every single day. You will need to put some work into it. If not, don’t expect any results. Sometimes I receive emails from people that want money without doing nothing. If this would be so easy, then we would all sit at home and we would be already millionaires, right? Be serious. Even if you create passive income, you need to be very active before that. No pain  – no gain. Simply as that.

#2 Basic Knowledge and understanding

One part of preparation for MLB season is the knowledge. I hope you understand that the odds represent the prices on the betting market.
For example if you have the odds 2.00 (US +100), this means, that when you bet $100, you make a profit of $100. Right? (2*$100 = $200, $200-$100 = $100).
And if you have the odds of 2.20 (+120), this means that when you bet $100, you make a profit of $120.
Odds are nothing else then market prices, that you will be paying. Those prices are offered by bookmakers. They will always take some fees for their service and to beat them you need to find a way how to come against them with your prices. Remember that business with bananas? You need to find the way how to buy banana for $1 in Columbia and sell it for $ in USA.
This is the main concept of making money in sports betting. Not looking for winners, but the value. The value represent that difference between your price and market price. Between banana from Columbia and that price in USA. If you don’t agree with this or if you don’t understand this simple concept and if you think, that Vegas Joe will make you rich with his winning pick the next day, then you are wasting your time here. But I believe with the internet and more and more information more and more people will learn the concept.
Another thing here which is very important is the probability. Odds represent the probabilities and I will show you here how to turn bookmakers odds into implied probabilities and how to calculate their fees (margins).
Colorado Rockies 2.48 (+148 US odds)
LA Dodgers 1.60 (-167 US odds)
When bookmakers release their odds, which are the prices on the betting market, they show us basically what they think about probabilities of the the outcomes in one game. Of course thy will move the line before the game will start because of different reasons, but if we focus on this game between Colorado and LA Dodgers, you can easily estimate quickly the probabilities for this game.
Odds
US odds
Impl probabilities
Margin
Fair
Fair odds
Fair US odds
Colorado
2.48
148
0.4032258065
1.028225806
0.3921568627
2.55
155
LA Dodgers
1.6
-167
0.625
0.6078431373
1.64516129
-155
Implied probabilities = 1/odds
Margin = Implied probability (Colorado) + Implied probability (LA Dodgers). 1.028225806 – 1 = 0.028225806. And this is the fee, that you pay to the bookmakers every time you make a bet 2.8225806%
Fair = Implied probability  / Margin
Fair odds = 1/Fair
Formula to turn decimal into US odds:  =ifs(A1>2,((A1-1)*100),A1<2,(-100)/(A1-1),I2=2,”+100”)
Formula to turn decimal into US odds: =IFS(A2<100,(abs(100/A2))+1,A2>100,(A2/100)+1,A2=100,2,A2=-100,2)
Where A1 = decimal odds (example: 2.48) and A2 = US odds (example +148)
You can simply put this function into the cell (google sheets)
And as you see we can estimate quickly what kind of chances bookmakers give to the teams. If they give LA Dodgers around 60% of chance to win this game, usually this number is somewhere there.
The number 60% means, that if they can repeat this game many times, that Dodgers will win around 60 out of every 100 games. Bu they will still lose around 40 games.
And then we see handicappers on the internet that give us guaranteed picks, lock picks, sure games,… I hope that people are not falling into this trap anymore. If there would be sure game (probability 100%) bookmakers would never offer such a game. You must understand that baseball teams and players are professionals and on every single day any team can beat any team. 
The question is what is your probability for this baseball game. Because as we saw it, probabilities are directly the odds. And the odds are directly the prices. And the basic concept of making money is to compare two prices, right?
 –

#3 Understanding The concept of the value

We have another example.
Bookmakers odds:
Miami Marlins 4.40 (+340)
Yankees 1.25 (-400)
and…
…let’s say, that you perfectly know the chances of two teams (not what bookmakers offer you). Let’s say, that you get those numbers from the God.
He will tell you that Yankees have 66.67% of chance to win the game and Miami has only 33.33% of chance to win this game, who would you take?
Most bettors will take LA Dodgers. The majority of bettors will take huge favourites, no matter what the price is.
Of course – because you get probabilities from the GOD here and he told you that Dodgers will win 66.67% of time, right? And 66.67% is more than 33.33%.
BUT THIS IS VERY WRONG IN THIS SITUATION!
So, what we have here?
  1. We have bookmakers odds:
Miami Marlins 4.40 (+340)
Yankees 1.25 (-400)
  1. We have true probabilities from the GOD
Miami Marlins 33.33%
Yankees 66.67%
But we also learned that we can turn those probabilities into the odds, right? So, if you know the true chances for those two teams – The fair odds in this case would be:
Miami Marlins 33.33% -> 1/0.333 = 3.00 (+200)
Yankees 66.67% -> 1/0.6666 = 1.50 (-200)
If one team will win 33.33% of games, does that mean, that they will win every third game? NO. Miami in this case can lose 10 games in a row, but then they can also win couple of games in a row. You don’t know, when this will happen. But we can stick with probabilities here and true chances.
What will happen if you will bet only on a team, that has better chance (not the better price)?
You will lose money. Don’t you believe me? Keep reading….
If you bet always on better team, no matter what odds are:
Yankees 67% bets won = cca 67 games: +$1675
Miami 33% bets lost = cca 33 games: -3300
Net Profit: -$1625 (As you see, you will make a loss, not a profit on the long run)
What will happen if you will bet on a value and not on a potential winner?
Here is 100 bets on Miami on the odds of 4.40 and the real chance of 33.33%. Every bet is $100.
33% bets won = 33 games: +$11220
67% bets lost = 67 games: -$6700
Net Profit= $990 – $677 = +$4520
As you see, if you bet always on a winner, you will lose money, but if you bet on a value, you will win money. Yes, you will lose more games, than you will win, but at the end you will make a profit.

#4 Bankroll and Strategy

And here we come to the strategy and money that you will need for betting. After you understand basic things, then you need to set the goals and lock your money for the season (or even more… I don’t even touch my betting money anymore, until I will not reach my goal).
Once someone told me that he has bankroll. He takes $200 every weekend and this is his bankroll for betting. Well, this is not a bankroll. This is just gambling money. Money for fun, like when you go out have have a party.
When you decide to make money in sports betting, you must understand one thing. Sports betting is one of the riskiest business out there. If you ask any financial advisor, they will all tell the same. Spread your investment money. And you can always have one % of your investment money in high risk investments, because the possible return can be big. And here we come to the unrealistic expectations from gamblers around the world. I see many times bettors with their $1000 dreaming about making a living from speculative business. Of course this is not that easy.
So, the first step you need to do is to take some money, that you don’t need for a living and you can lock it for some time. Here you can read the difference between bankroll and a budget, but for the start lock your money for the rest of the season and stick to the strategy.
Let’s say hat you have 100 units (simply divide your $ budget/bankroll into 100 units). And then my recommendation is that you never bet more than 1-2 units per game. No matter what happen, no matter if you lose or win, simply stick with the strategy. Then you must commit that you will research games every single day and try to find the value (this is what we talked above).
Looking for the value will give you the chance to make a profit, because when you are looking for the value, you are looking for that difference between your price and market price. And the strategy will give you the chance if you lose couple of games in a row. Because if your team has 50% of chance to win the game, that doesn’t mean, that they will win every single game like:
WLWLWLWLWLWLWL
Maybe in perfect world, but not here. It can be WWWLLLLLLLLLWLWLLLWLLLLWWWWWWWWWWWW and you don’t know it. But if you make unlimited bets, win% for that team will be still 50%. But you need to survive those L’s. This is why strategy, discipline and patience is very important.
With this you can also see how many handicappers manipulate with results, when they say:
“We are the hottest betting service winning 20 out of last 27 games”
of course, you can take this:
WWLLLLLLLLLLWLWLLLWLLLLWWWWWWWWWWWW
12-1 record
 –
or you can take this
WWLLLLLLLLLLWLWLLLWLLLLWWWWWWWWWWWW
2-10 record
Where basically we have the same handicapper and same record and same betting skills, but the handicapper took the range of “last bets”, as he wants. Every single record can be manipulated for marketing purposes on a small sample size. With big sample size bets (500+ bets) it is much harder to manipulate the results.

#5 Bookmakers

We already have some basic knowledge and how things work. We also set right strategy and we locked the money for the season. We also decided that we will work hard on analysis and we will stay patient and disciplined.
So we need to find a good bookmaker, who is willing to accept our bets and pay us a the end of we win. Three things are important here:
  1. You need to find safe and trusted bookmaker. Usually big bookmakers have ability to pay you. No matter what you say, but usually big companies will pay you, because they have resources to do this. I am very skeptical to small companies.
  2. Margins. You need to find bookmakers with good margins. If you read above, I showed you how you can calculate the margins for yourself with every bookmaker.
I would group bookmakers into 3 categories. First are US friendly bookmakers, that will mostly accept American players. Second group is Pinnacle bookmaker for international players. And the only problem with Pinnacle is that they don’t allow players from many countries, including USA. Another way to play on Pinnacle or some Asian bookies, that have good odds and big limits is Sportsmarket. And then there is third group which will solve many problems with anonymity and country restrictions – bitcoin bookmakers. Here is my filtered list of bookmakers recommended for MLB season. (Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a bet there, I can earn a commission. This commission comes at NO additional cost to you. Please understand that I recommend those sites because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to bet there. Please do not open accounts on these bookmakers unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals. If you’ve signed up from my links before, thank you very much! I greatly appreciate your support!)
 US PLAYERS
INTERNATIONAL
BITCOIN

#6 Track all your bets

No matter if you win or lose. No matter if this is your first season or not, simply track your bets. You will see where you are, you will see if you can improve and what you can expect. Anyone serious about betting will track his records and measure predictive skills. The best way to do this is to look how you do against closing odds and by tracking other important information, like yield, profit, etc. CLV will show you if you have the edge over the market and if you have constantly positive CLV, you will be a winner on the long run.
According to Pinnacle (which is the sharpest bookmaker in the world): “The most accurate way we have found, to distinguish winning and losing players is to look at the odds a player received when they made their bet, and compare it with the Pinnacle Sports closing line on the game. If a player consistently beats our closing price, they are likely to be a long-term winner – period. Interestingly, we have found that this test is more reflective of a player’s future winning potential, than their historical win/loss record with the company.”
For example my highest value plays from 2019 (adjusted kelly criteruim >2) were: CLV: +3.48% and beat the line 73.39% of times.
I prepared betting tracker for you, where you will also track your CLV numbers. You can download it here.
Download file
Open with google sheets!
CLV is one topic, that will be researched more in the future on my site and we will try to improve our models in that direction too. But for now, one very important first step is that you track your record.

#7 Analysis, statistics and handicapping

You have a bookmaker, you have a money and you are ready to bet baseball.
Baseball game is all about numbers. I will not explain the game and the rules, because I think you should learn this by watching couple of youtube videos or even play some game on playstation.
It is very important to get your probabilities before you bet. It is probably most important when it comes to handicapping. If you don’t agree with me, go check your bookmakers account. Usually bettors without money or any other long term success in their betting career will tell you that statistics is not important. It is very important. Like every step I described here. From the right mindset, mentality, hard working, discipline, patience, analyzing, picking a right bookmaker, estimating probabilities,…
Usually bettors without money or any other long term success in their betting career will look for picks and they want to be followers. I am sure 90% of them will not read whole text and will not watch video below.  Usually those bettors are very lazy (read – not motivated for betting) and they like more the idea of “not doing anything and making a lot of money. Are you looking for picks? Are you here to find free picks and make a lot of money without putting any effort? Are you looking for some formula and some method, where you will not work anything, learn anything, pay anything and at the same time you want to make a lot of money? Check your bookmakers account now (that number of $ usually top right, when you log in). The reason is mindset with combination of all other things explained here (patience, discipline,…). 
Those who say, that those things are not important and that the only thing you need to win at sports betting is “real source” and “real information” don’t make money with betting. 
After all, information are overrated these days. Anyone can find information on the net. It is not like 20 years ago, when some secret information was gold. Right now, anyone can read or find newest information about players on twitter. Data, models, probabilities, statistics, meaningful numbers,… those are much more valuable information to look for these days. 
But for now I will give you couple of tips how to bet baseball and on what you should focus on:
  1. Don’t try to catch a team to end a streak. The season is very long and the best team will win little bit more than 60% of games and the worst team will win little bit less than 40% of games. They are playing almost every day and when some team fall into a streak (bad or good), don’t go against the streak. Almost every single team in the league will have 5-6 wins and also losses in a row.
  2. Bullpen is more and more important. Most bettors will pay attention only on starting pitching. But if we just look at last 2 calendar years, the average innings per game by a starting pitcher is just 5.60. In other words, in average starting pitchers don’t go more than 6 innings. I took as an example 264 pitchers from last 2 calendar years. Clayton Kershaw is the pitcher who pitched 7.11 innings per game and this is by far the highest. One baseball game has 9 innings and if you pay attention only on starting pitching, you are basically ignoring big part of the game.
  3. Lefty / Righty match ups – There are teams, that play much better against lefties and there are teams, that play much better against righties. There are couple of reasons for that. One is that, when a team has a lot of left handed hitters, they could struggle against left handed pitchers and you should pay attention to this.
  4. Exclude mainstream stats like ERA and batting average. Other ERA metrics like xFIP, FIP and SIERA have better predictive power for pitching and OPS, wOBA, and wRC+ for hitting.
  5. Don’t blindly follow betting trends. Betting trends will tell usually what happened in the past, not what will happen in the future. If someone tells you San Diego Padres won 6 out of 7 games at home versus left handed pitcher, this is usually not useful text that is needed for betting analysis. If they won 6 out of 7 home games at home verus left handed pitcher, this is not a guarantee that this trend will continue. It tells us only what happened in last 7 games. You can always turn streaks and situations so, that will be in favour of your pick. But at the same time other handicapper can find situation for the same game, where the trend will go against you. Trends are very flawless information. 
  6. Useful sites :http://www.fangraphs.com/ – statistics, datahttp://www.baseball-reference.com/ – statistics, data, historical data, play-by-play,…
    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/ – a lot of great articles, projections,…

    http://dailybaseballdata.com/cgi-bin/index.pl – pitcher vs batter, weather, bullpen usage

    http://killersports.com/ – a lot of historical data, trends,…

    http://www.rotowire.com/baseball/matchup.htm – pitcher vs batters, daily lineups,…

    http://www.donbest.com/mlb/matchups-classic/ – nice match ups statistics

And I also prepared 2 hour long FREE VIDEO how to bet baseball and how to use simple statistics with some practical advices here:
I will share my bets this (and next seasons) on my youtube channel on a daily basis.
Remember that there is no sure thing in sports betting, but if you put a lot f work and a lot of effort, you will raise your chances for making money.
NOW IS THE TIME TO PREPARE FOR MLB SEASON. Not in May!
I wish you profitable MLB 2019 season.
MB