West Coast Swingers - Handicapping Tips for Baseball – Baseball Betting Tips

Handicapping Tips for Baseball - Travel is an important part of sports handicapping and with baseball’s lengthy schedule bettors need to stay ahead of the curve to gain an advantage. Several eastern based teams are still yet to play an extended west coast trip in 2009 so I thought we’d have a look at how to scout at spots where baseball bettors can find good opportunities for profits.

When it comes to discussing what factors are most important for breaking down a game, the sports betting public for the four major North American sports will argue up and down over things such as coaching, injuries, and trends – and never come to an agreement. There is one common denominator that everyone can usually agree on, though, at least to some degree, and that is travel.

For NFL betting purposes, early body clock games are often the first thing circled when the schedule is released in April. Basketball and hockey bettors look for back-to-back situations and 3-in-4 spots to back or bet against a team. And then there’s baseball betting.

Factoring travel into a 162-game Major League Baseball schedule takes an entirely different approach than what will work for any of the three other sports. With teams playing nearly every single day and bettors having access to overnight lines from online sportsbooks, handicappers looking to gain an edge need to be aware of the general mood surrounding a team well ahead of the spot where travel can be a major issue.


One way to help setup for placing wagers on sides or totals for a team that you follow is to circle lengthy road trips or abnormal travel situations well in advance and keep that team on your radar screen in the games leading up to the trip. Make sure you check the odds with a respected online sportsbook, like

Between the five California teams and the Seattle Mariners, ball clubs from the right side of the country can sometimes face a demanding travel itinerary since schedule makers tend to bunch these west coast swings into a package to cut down on the back and forth travel. Looking at the odds at, you can often find some good baseball lines to bet when using travel to handicap.

Let’s use the Tampa Bay Rays for an example. After shocking the baseball world by winning the AL East last season, the Rays started off 2008 in a fashion that baseball fans were much more accustomed to. Tampa did face some tough competitors but when the Rays embarked on a nine-game road during the last part of April it looked as if there was going to be some value for the sports betting public going against Tampa.

Tampa lost all three series on that trip, losing twice each at Seattle, Anaheim and Minnesota. Betting against Tampa in all nine games of that trip would have yielded a profit of 5.8 units and while blinding fading a team game in and game out is not a strategy recommended by any professional gambler, the odds were in the home teams favor throughout the trip.


Perhaps the Rays learned something and will be better prepared for their next west coast swing in early August. At this point of the year, though, baseball bettors can still benefit from scanning schedules for teams that are yet to make an extended trip west.

The Baltimore Orioles are a prime candidate. The O’s are enjoying back-to-back series wins right now and have a four-game home stand on deck this weekend vs. Detroit. After that Baltimore will pack its bags for Seattle where they will play three games, take a day off and then head down the coast for three against Oakland.

Minus the Texas Rangers, the AL West has a very pedestrian home record in 2009 but Seattle and Oakland are both shooting towards better overall seasons than they had in 2008. Catching an Oriole team on its first extended west coast swing could be just what the M’s and A’s need to sway the tide up towards the coveted .500 mark.

The O’s are only 5-10 away from home in May but a decent performance against Detroit could set the table for some acceptable odds on the host team when Baltimore visits.

Check the baseball lines at your online sportsbooks early and be sure to consider travel as a major factor when handicapping and making your picks.