MLB baseball season 2020 will start in less than 10 days and this situation now is one of the strangest ever for every baseball bettor. Some people say, this is bad, some people say this is good. But honestly we don’t know what is good or bad. We can only say, this is the situation we never met before, but if this is good or bad we will see. The only thing we can do is to focus on things we can control. And when it comes to betting, this is the analysis of the game, selecting right bookmaker, staying disciplined, etc…
We must understand one thing. The betting concept is the same, no matter what you bet. There will be the odds, which will represent the prices on the market and you will need to estimate your prices, compare them with market prices and at the end outsmart the market.
But to do this we need to take a look at some new things, that could be important when real-time betting comes.
In this article I will try to explain some new things about MLB season 2020 and what you should pay attention to when it comes to betting.
COVID situation and the lineups
So the first thing which is important is that we will need to keep checking health status of players, because they are tested regularly. Some players have already decided to opt out of the 2020 season (Ian Desmond, Mike Leake, Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross).
To use lineup based betting models and analysis will be even more important. There will be a separate COVID-19 injured list for players who test positive. It can happen, that some players get tested positive and the analysis must be adjusted accordingly. The player can go in quarantine and the team will need to play without him or it can happen, that more players from the same team must go in quarantine. So we can have a situation, where in one week we have very strong team and then the next week, they will play without key players. So, if you use teams numbers only, you can make a big mistake.
Schedule: Short 60 game season
MLB season will start much later and with different spring training. There was a routine for every baseball bettor before every MLB season. First spring training, players getting in shape, even some betting on spring training games, then I usually wait couple of games to get familiar with the new season and then we start betting.
Well… this season will be little bit different. The first regular game will be on July 24 between New York Yankees and Washington Nationals. It is basically 4 months later and this means 4 months bigger break for players.
Some players are probably not going to be in the best shape and there were already some news, that some didn’t come out of the quarantine in best condition.
Shorter season will also force teams to make less mistakes and play very game little bit seriously. Regular baseball season is 2,430 games, plus the postseason. Every team plays 162 games and they always had more room for mistakes. They could rest players more and every win was not “must Win” situation. Well this season, the mindset will be definitely different. There is no room for a lot of errors and things can change quickly. One team can fall in bad streak, at the same time they start playing next games without their best players and here we have completely wild and unexpected season with some underdogs winning.
What should we do as bettors?
I will simply analyse game by game. Situation by situation and estimate my numbers with the information that I have. And then of course compare my estimations with bookmakers numbers. Step by step – single games.
DH Rule also for National Teams
In baseball we have 2 leagues. One is National League and the other one is American League. This is especially interesting for people who are not that familiar with baseball. But the rules are little bit different and American League teams they could use DH (designed hitter) for hitting, while National League must hit with the pitcher.
Why is this important?
Because pitchers are in general very bad hitters and this changed whole dynamics (and statistics). Well, this season all teams will use DH. In general this mean, that we can expect slightly better hitting from National teams.
So, if you use lineup betting models or lineup betting based analysis, you will need to adjust this based on the current lineups and instead of pitcher hitting, we need to take into calculation DH for National Teams.
Runner on second in extra innings
One completely new and I think pretty cool rule is that in extra inning teams will start with player on second base. How this will affect on betting?
8.6% games went into extra innings in 2019 and with starting a player on second games will simply finish earlier. Which is pretty cool idea, because we saw 15+ innings games and then players need to play the next day…so this is not bad idea. At least this is my personal opinion.
I will not make any big changes because of this, because 8.6% of extra innings games we already saw and once they are in extra innings, teams must score before the game is finished. With runner on second base, they will just accelerate the process and give teams to score early and finish games quickly. If you are interested into learning about RE24 (or run expectancy based on the 24 base-out states) you can read it here.
Of course, there will be a difference who is on the second base, because if you have Hamilton on second base who can run, the score is almost sure. But the rule is: “The runner will be the player in the batting order immediately preceding that half-inning’s leadoff hitter (or a pinch runner).”
So we don’t know who exactly will run and what kind of strategy will coaches have in these situations. I will not make some extra changes because of this rule. Some % of all games will go to extra time and in extra time teams always score. With the runner on 2nd base this process will be quicker, not necessary that they score more runs, but the games will finish sooner.
RP must face three
This is another interesting rule. All relief pitchers must face a minimum of three batters (unless the inning ends). In the past coaches could change pitcher for every batter depends on situation. Right now it looks like they must face at least 3 batters. This is definitely small advantage for hitters.
Some other interesting rules and changes
- Regionally based schedule
- Expanded rosters at the start of the season
- Each team will have a chance to have 30 active players, which will go to 28 after 15 days and then to 26. There is no limit on the pitchers on active rosters.
- There will be no restrictions on position players pitching in 2020.
- If weather forces a game to be cut short before it is official, it will be continued at a later date rather than started from scratch.
What about betting?
Bookmakers without “pitchers listed” information
Some bookmakers already announced, that they will not list starting pitchers. Of course I can not say this for every single bookmaker, but definitely many will decide to offer bets, where they will offer bets without pitchers listed.
Why is this important?
Pitcher is the most important player when it comes to betting. Pitcher dictates the line. The line can go from -120 to -180 just because team decided to change pitcher just before the game, while all other players stay the same. And the price is the key when it comes to betting.
When bookmakers offer “pitcher must start” type of bets, then your bet with this pitcher is locked. If the team changes the pitcher the bet was canceled.
I wouldn’t say that this is bad or good. As I mentioned above we must daily check who will play and check players status. We must monitor starting pitchers carefully and once the price is locked by bookmakers this can be the advantage for serious player.
Sports betting is a relative competition against others. We all know that. It is not some “absolute” game versus bookmakers, but against the market, against other players as well. And most bettor will not go deep into the details, most bettors will not track carefully daily news and most bettors don’t use any estimations or lineup based numbers.
I think this could be the advantage for some serious players who will go deep with the information this season.
How will I bet MLB 2020?
MLB baseball is my favourite sport to bet and analyse – at least so far. There is many reasons fo that and this is definitely also one of the sharpest sports markets out there. A lot of people complain how hard baseball is, which I understand, because once you have 2430 games in one season and if you make hundreds of bets it is much harder to fake with “luck factor” and “we are on a run of 19-8 in last 27 games” statements. I hope we understand this – the more bets you make the harder is to fake it or if you like – to keep good (or bad) results if you don’t have the edge.
I will use my MLB sports betting model, where I will estimate my own lines (odds).
After I estimate my own odds, then I will compare my odds with bookmakers odds and then I will bet the games, where I will find enough big discrepancy between my numbers and bookmakers numbers.
This is example of my table (pitchers, teams and the odds below are randomly chosen for this purpose):
The model will calculates my projected odds (both decimal and US) and automatically compare with the bookmakers odds, that I put in the model from the bookmaker. With adjusted kelly criterium, the model will calculate the “discrepancy” which I call adjk value. I will look for the discrepancy of 1.50 or more (thinking to go bigger to 1.80 and be more selective this season).
If the discrepancy is 1.50 or more, then this will be a qualified bet. If not, I will stay away. And this is how I will qualify and select bets.
Every day I will check the lineups, covid status of players and other injuries to adjust the lineups. I will do this as soon as I get the information.
Every lineup is created with 9 players and every player stats will be separated on how he plays against left handed and right handed pitchers. And then in late innings how he hit overall, because we can not be sure if he will face LHP or RHP late when he faces bullpen, so the most optimal way is to use overall hitting numbers (vs rhp/lhp) later in the game.
I will of course track every single bet against opening odds, against taken odds and against closing odds. If you need a free betting tracker you can download it here. Combination of more stats that you track for yourself will tell you how good you are and if your betting can be profitable in the future. Profit or ROI alone are insufficient information about betting results. Especially if we have small sample size.
Betting model is important to get the information of the value. I hope we all understand the concept of +EV and I can not imagine betting without estimation my numbers. If we want a profit we need always two numbers. One is bookmakers number – for example Boston Red Sox +145, the second is your estimated number, for example Boston Red Sox +101. Once you see that you get more than you expect, this is called a value.
Picks alone hold only one information – the name of the team and the bookmakers odds.
If we want to sell coca cola with the profit, we must know the price for which we can sell cola (example $2.50) and for which price we can buy it from supplier (example $0.80). In this case the profit for you is $1.70. You can call this “your value”. Every time when we want to make a profit we must compare two prices. With cola price, we can simply call our supplier and he will tell us the price. In sports betting we must estimate the second number somehow. Maybe some people can do this in their head or with intuition, but I don’t have this superhuman power and I need a model to calculate the numbers for 2430 mlb games every year.
All my projections will be posted in our membership group and all my bets will be posted on my Youtube channel.
I tried different social media channels to show projections and my bets, but I believe Youtube is the best way, because the numbers must be commented. And the only way I can do this is on youtube. Videos will be always posted before the first games will start. I will look to post them at least 30 minutes before first games starts.
There will be also days, when I will take a day or two off. But I will comment daily what I am doing and in which direction the season will go.
Of course all my picks will be free. I don’t sell picks. I want to show my work, stay transparent and keep in touch with the people who follow my work. I don’t believe in constantly and blindly following picks – it is completely wrong focus and one of the biggest reasons why so many people are disappointed in betting. But this is a topic for another time and I talked about this many times in my other articles and videos.
I wish you a good season. Cheers,
If you want to learn how I build a betting models in google sheets and start betting on your own, subscribe to FREE BETTING VIDEO COURSE.
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