Don’t lay big prices early when betting MLB

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“Take me out to the ball game,

Take me out to the crowd;

Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,

I don’t care if I ever get back.

Let me root, root, root for the home team,

If they don’t win, it’s a shame.

For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,

At the old ball game.”

Spring just isn’t about the weather changing, it’s also about baseball. There are few thrills as great as having a hot dog and a beer at the ball park on a warm, sunny day.

As far as sports betting is concerned, there is no other sport that a disciplined gambler can make as much money than in Major League Baseball. Baseball is a daily sport with full cards six of the seven days a week (usually one day there’s a shorter schedule). It’s a long season. So here are a few keys to ensure you have a fun and profitable campaign.

Unlike football or basketball, we aren’t laying points here, we are laying juice. As a rule of thumb, I rarely lay above -1.40. I see people in the sportsbooks laying $-200, -250, -300 and even higher. To turn a profit, you must stay away from these high prices. If you drop a -300 favorite, you will need to win four straight bets to get you back in the plus column.

Betting this sport isn’t about which team is better, it is about which team offers better value. That’s really what it’s all about.

Normally, I like to wait a few rotations before putting out predictions, but here we go. Here are this week’s best bets though stats and starting pitchers could change on short notice.

Thursday

Mets at Nationals: In my opinion, Washington is the best team in the NL East, while New York is in for another subpar season. Just prior to print, it was reported that Mets ace Jacob deGrom agreed to a five year, $137.5 million contract extension. He owns a lifetime ERA of 2.67.

The Mets have had success against their division rival, taking five of the last seven meetings and are a perfect, 6-0 in deGrom’s last six road starts vs. the Nationals. Washington sends Max Scherzer to the bump. Scherzer, despite career stats of 159-82, 3.22 ERA, is a notoriously slow starter. Washington is 1-5 in its last six during Game 1 of a series. METS

Astros at Rays: Two stellar pitchers square off here. Justin Verlander (16-9, 2.52 in 2018) takes the hill against Blake Snell (21-5, 1.89 in 2018). The Astros are a perennial powerhouse. The Rays come off a 90-win campaign and are touted to just about equal that numbers of wins. Their only crime is sharing the AL East with the Red Sox and Yankees.

Tampa Bay has dominated Houston, winning seven of the last 10 meetings. As a matter of fact, things worsen for the Astros at Tropicana Field, where they are 5-14 the last 19 matchups. They also have problems playing on artificial turf, where they are 13-29 the last 42.

The Rays are 11-1 the last 12 vs. AL West opponents and 26-9 the last 35 vs. RHP starters. RAYS and UNDER

Red Sox at Mariners: Until I see evidence of the contrary, Boston is still the most dangerous team in baseball. Predicted to win 94 games this season, the Red Sox have it all, including Chris Sale getting the opening day start. “The Conductor” comes off a 12-4, 2.11 campaign en route to a career record of 103-62, with a 2.89 ERA. The team is 5-0 in Sale’s last five road starts and 39-19 in his last 58 overall starts.

Marco Gonzales gets the nod at home. He owns a lifetime 19-12 mark with a whopping 4.46 ERA. Seattle is a solid team, but is just 0-4 in “Gonzo’s” last four home starts and 2-7 in his last nine overall starts. The clincher is that the Bosox are 20-7 the last 27 games vs. LHP starters. RED SOX

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