So, it’s the end of the regular season and your team has won nearly 60 percent–or even more–of its games. Maybe the team even has the best record in its division or in the entire majors. That should probably mean that the MLB playoffs will be breezy for that team, right? Well, not necessarily, at least going by recent postseason MLB betting history.
Analyzing The Optimal Strategies To Bet On The MLB Postseason
Handicapping the Value of Momentum and Good Regular Season Performance
Since the MLB postseason added wild card games in 1995, only four teams with the best regular season record in baseball have won the World Series, the last of those teams being the 2013 Boston Red Sox who headed into the playoffs with the best record in the majors, tied with the St. Louis Cardinals. In fact, after the 2012 and 2014 San Francisco Giants won the World Series on Wild Card playoff tickets and the Kansas City Royals won it all in 2015 after an iffy regular season, we’d dare say that having the best numbers from the regular season does not necessarily equate to success in the MLB postseason. Still, it certainly doesn’t hurt to enter the playoffs on the back of a good run. As you all know, baseball is trend-heavy sport and winning can be very infectious just in the same way losing funks have a way of demotivating players and teams in future games.
Handicapping MLB Playoffs Homefield Advantage
Playing in a familiar ballpark often encourages success for host teams, especially with plenty of support going their way. But unlike other sports such as the NBA and NHL where homefield advantage comes at a great value, baseball’s homefield advantage is more of a perception of the mind rather than a tangible factor to bank on when betting on MLB postseason games. The logic here is that a best-of-seven playoff series in an arena like the NBA means the home team will play four of the seven games at home, including the first two straight games and the final game of the series. This not only offers the hosts a solid chance to start and finish the series strongly, but there is a strong chance for continuity for starting lineups and all, which are rarely changed.
In the MLB postseason, each game is pretty much different and independent of the other, as different pitchers play differently and a hot offense can suddenly go cold or a poor bullpen can become clutch in a series-deciding game. Then, of course, we have other crucial aspects such as weather, park dimensions and starting times that influence game outcomes in one way or another. Not to forget, the outcome of the All-Star Game usually decides whether American or National League would hold home field advantage in the World Series in accordance with the standard set by the league in 2003, meaning a weak team could easily find itself having home field advantage. So, while it is important not to ignore homefield advantage, it is equally vital that you don’t overly buy into its value.
Experience, Experience and More Experience!
Factors like starting pitchers and batters play a key role in separating real contenders and pretenders in the playoffs. That much, we totally agree with. But then again, there is a good reason why a team like the Chicago Cubs–who’ve had some of the best pitchers and hitters in the nation over the past many decades–has failed to win it all for the longest time in majors. You can come up with whatever creative narratives that float your boat, from being cursed to being unlucky, but if you ask me for my professional opinion, I’d say that it all comes down to playoff experience. Yes, playoff experience counts a lot when it comes to succeeding in the postseason games. That, essentially, is the reason why teams like the San Francisco Giants, Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Yankees (of the 1990s and late 2000s) have long-standing histories of success in the list of World Series winners and finalists.
There are a number of extenuating circumstances and factors that haven’t been addressed in this article, but should be additionally considered when handicapping MLB playoff games. These include–but aren’t limited to–the evenness or disparity amongst playoffs teams, the level of competitiveness in the two leagues in the majors, regular season betting splits, the strategic advantage of being ahead in a series and MLB rivalries. Above all, it is important to remember that optimal betting on the MLB postseason is a diverse arena that relies on several factors, so you should always be on the lookout for new and progressive ways of staying ahead of the rest in MLB playoff betting.