MLB- Playoffs 2011
Baseball is America's national sport, it is also a god-send for those night owls amongst us who regularly stay up until the early hours channel surfing for top class sport on which we can have a punt! If you are new to MLB then we will try and take away some of the mystery surrounding the game and direct you towards the best betting opportunities and baseball information.
We will try to answer the following questions:
a) How Is It Set Up?
b) Who Plays Who?
c) So Which Are The Best Teams?
d) What's With All The Statistics?
e) What Are The Betting Opportunities?
f) Where & When Can I Bet On MLB?
How Is It Set Up?
In a marathon season that stretches over 162 games and four different time zones -there is seemingly always a baseball game on somewhere in the states!
The 30 teams are divided into two leagues, the American League (14 teams) and the National League (16 teams). Each league has 3 divisions; East, Central and West, all of which have between 4-6 teams.
The season runs from March to late October, thus avoiding the cold winter weather that would make it impossible to grip the baseball.
Who Plays Who?
Due to the geography of the USA, teams go on road trips where they will play several teams in a particular region.
In spite of being in different leagues & divisions, each team plays every other team several times over the season -with games often being played in clusters (known as series). Some series have special names such as the New York 'Subway' series (Yankees v Mets) and the Los Angeles 'Freeway' series (Dodgers v Angels).
So Which Are The Best Teams?
Unlike our own Premiership, there are no dominant teams in MLB. Yeah sure there are high-profile rich teams like the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, but having a huge payroll is no guarantee of achieving success in the World Series.
Over the last ten years there have been seven different winners of baseball's ultimate title and thirteen teams have triumphed in the last twenty seasons. A great example of this are the Florida Marlins -with the second smallest salary payroll of a mere $30 million they have won the World Series twice since 1997!
This is great news for us punters because it means that anyone can beat anyone -something that the market makers don't like. Whilst home advantage will always be prevalent on most sports, there isn't a huge difference in the top and bottom of each league.
What's With All The Statistics?
It is sometimes said that baseball was invented by accountants -due to all the statistics involved in the analysis. True, the Yanks do love a good stat or average but this is mainly due to their obsession with who is the best of the best. We should treat all these facts and figures as our friend and use them as a guide to help us decide if there is any value in backing a team.
A good example would be havng the information that a particular team has hit 70% of it's runs against right-handed pitching -so maybe steer clear of them when they come up against a team that has a left-handed starting pitcher and lefties in the bull pen (relief pitchers).
Two sites that have all the info that you could want are ESPN & Major League Baseball.
What Are The Betting Opportunities?
Just like football, you can bet on the seasonal outcomes or individual games -although betting in-running is limited to World Series games.
Sporting Index usually sets spreads for the winning margins and the number of runs scored in each game. These spreads are quite small so its unusual to win or lose too much, unless you're playing high stakes. Whilst you can always find some MLB action on Spreadex.
If you take a long term view and want to have a bet that gives you some interest for 8 months then why not try to pick the winners of the American & National Leagues and also the World Series winner.
Paddy Power offers prices on all these title races.
Where & When Can I Bet On MLB?
Between the hours of 7pm - 3am (UK time, Mar-Oct) you can usually find a baseball game starting somewhere in the USA! Channel Five shows a complete game one evening each week.