Spring training may as well be its own season.
The monthlong exhibition period preceding the traditional 162-game MLB schedule can be a roller-coaster ride for bettors as teams make adjustments ahead of the season. With play in the Cactus and Grapefruit leagues right around the corner, here are a couple of tips to help you make it to Opening Day.
If you're serious about making money during spring training, be a fly on the wall when it comes to information. If you're paying attention when a manager reveals a pitcher is limited or that certain key players are being scratched and swapped for inferior performers, you may find yourself with a key edge.
During the first week of last year's spring training, the Cubs threw out their starting lineup against - for lack of a better phrase - a Mariners B-team. Bettors could have bet Chicago in the range of -115 to -125 at the time of the roster announcement or at the peak of -154 when the market reacted.
If you're not staying informed about such things and just want to casually dabble, there's one golden rule for you.
Perhaps the market was overly excited to bet a professional sport during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic; it wasn't unusual to see prices in last year's spring training betting markets skyrocket at torrid paces, changing drastically based on lineup news, pitching scratches, and myriad other triggers.
Betting in a market with so many variables - the talent pool is wider, and the games don't necessarily matter - means you absolutely need a cutoff point, especially if you're playing high-priced favorites and aren't getting in at the right window.
Successful betting is as much about timing as it is about results. If you're late to the party and miss a number, don't fret - you're probably better off in the long run if you pass and wait for the next one.
Betting exhibition games can be frustrating simply because of rule changes, so anyone wagering on 2021 spring training should be aware of a couple of notable ones.
First and foremost, games played until March 13 can be shortened to five or seven innings if both teams' managers agree to the switch.
Not to be outdone, defensive managers can end an inning before three outs following any completed plate appearances, so long as the pitcher has thrown at least 20 pitches.
I'm sincerely looking forward to watching the team I bet win a game 9-2, only for my wager to be canceled after the contest fails to go the distance. I'll set the over/under date for such an occurrence at March 5.5, and I love the under.
Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 12 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AJKolodziej.