I just made most of my MLB bets for the 2015 season. I make a lot of season prop bets for two reasons. 1) I think thereís a lot of value to be found in baseball props. 2) Even if you make a bad bet the action you are getting is worth it. Letís say you pick a team at random and bet $110 to win $100 on their season win total going over. On average, you will lose $10 doing that. But that $10 gives you something to root for all season. When you combine 1 and 2, life is good. Instead of losing $10, youíre making some money, and you have action all season on just a few bets.
Now,I could never make a living on my baseball bets, given my preference for living indoors. But I think they serve as an example of how you can make a bit of money on the side betting on sports recreationally, even if you are not very smart. Iím going to go over my least favorite bet of the season and my favorite bet, because they demonstrate that you donít need to know anything about sports to make a little money off them. In other words, the bet I made based on my baseball knowledge was my worst bet. My best bet could have been made by someone who had never seen a game. Maybe even a girl.
For my first bet of the season, I relied on my wits alone. So naturally, it was also my dumbest bet. Glancing at the MLB season win totals on Bovada, The Dodgers at 92.5 jumped out at me. The Doh-hairs ďonlyĒ won 94 last season. And I thought all of this stuff:
Kershaw had a HISTORICAL season. Thatís hard to repeat. They lost Hanley Ramirez, who was 3.5 wins above replacement. They lost Matt Kemp, another 1.5 WAR. †They are going to replace him with rookie, Joc Pederson, who is very promising, but still a 22 year old rookie, bound to screw up and maybe even flop. Division mates, Arizona and Colorado were absolute donkey shit last season and could hardly be worse (both are projected for more wins this season). San Diego, also in the same division, improved dramatically. So three of their four division mates are likely to improve.
Ainít all that worth 1.5 wins? Maybe so. I fired a small bet because I was afraid the line would move. I later learned that 93.5 wins was available, meaning I got a bad price, even though I still kind of like the bet. Sports betting isnít really much about all that handicapping type stuff I mentioned. Believe it or not, the bookies know that Matt Kemp went to The Padres. And even if they somehow missed that, bettors would quickly bet the lines into shape. So betting on sports becomes much more about finding good prices, which I failed to do. You hear that Principal Blackman? Iím a failure, just like you predicted! Are you happy!?
After that, I decided to bet less dumbly. When youíre making less dumb sports bets, most of the time the sport and what you know about it is not that important. Youíre just buying and selling stuff based on the price. It’s like working †e-bay, except you don’t have to worry about a 400 pound feces factory dinking your seller rating because their beanie baby was the wrong shade of fuschia. Knowledge about the sport might help you sniff out good prices, but ultimately youíre just looking at numbers and bargain hunting.
For this bet, Iím just going to pretend Iím betting on a sport called buttball. How is buttball played? Believe me, you donít want to know. I saw 10 minutes of a match on ESPN2 back when it was called ďthe deuce,Ē and Iíve been trying to forget it ever since. I know almost nothing about buttball, but Iím comfortable betting on it. In fact, I probably bet on it better than baseball, which is my favorite team sport. This is because I donít get confused by what I think I know and just look at the numbers.
So, I noticed a prop at Caesars Palace on whether there would be a perfect buttball game this season. As the 18-1 New England Patriots would tell you, ďperfect,Ē is hard to do and doesnít happen a lot. †I have perfect hair, so it can happen. But anytime there is a bet about something being perfect, Iím inclined to bet against it.
The bookie made ďno perfect gameĒ -150 which means you have to bet $150 to win $100 which is 2 to 3. Is there as much as a 40% chance of a perfect game being thrown this season? Well, 40% of people donít have perfect hair. Thatís for sure.
So, I looked it up. In the entire history of buttball, spanning 135 years, there have only been 23 perfect buttball games. 23 is like, way less than 40% of 135. Plus, they will cluster a bit, with more than one coming in a year sometimes, making for more years with no perfect games. There have been a few more perfect games in recent years, but that could be random. Even if it is not completely random, thereís no reason to believe perfect games suddenly became 2.5 times more common.
Also, you usually want to make unfun bets. How thrilling would it be to watch a perfect buttball game and, on top of that, win money? Not very, because buttball is a deeply horrifying game. But, for the depraved fans of the sport, it would be a great day.
Betting ďno perfect game,Ē on the other hand, means you have to worry about one happening all year. And when one comes close, you have to root against it and try not to puke as everyone else enjoys the occasion, especially as you bet $300 to win just $200.
Since most people bet primarily for entertainment, they will want to bet on the perfect game, getting a higher payout if it happens. Every Time someone talks about the perfect game, they can be like, ďI won $500 on that!Ē †So the bookies will give them a bad price on the thing that they want because they are smart fellows. Fun stuff costs more. And that means you get a good price on the unfun thing.
So, in summation, 1) the rest of the world also has access to Sports Center. You do not beat sports by knowing that Matt Kemp went to The Padres. 2) You beat sports by finding good prices on bets, which you can usually find using arithmetic and google. 3) Look for unfun bets because the market could be skewed by all the people who bet just for fun.