WHAT IS MLB SPRING TRAINING?
Before the 2020 MLB regular season begins, major league clubs will play a series of exhibition games against each other to work off the rust of the offseason, integrate new players and coaches, and evaluate their roster before Opening Day.
Spring training is divided into two leagues that take place over February and March. The Grapefruit League is held in Florida, where 15 of the 30 MLB clubs take on each other. The other league is the Cactus League, which hosts the other 15 major league clubs in Arizona.
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WHAT CAN I BET ON IN SPRING TRAINING?
Spring training odds are much more limited than MLB odds offerings in the regular season. Most sportsbooks will post moneyline odds for matchups – bet on which will team will win – and some select books may release totals and first five-inning odds closer to first pitch.
Bet limits on MLB spring training odds are much lower than those offered during the regular season due to the unknown motivations of teams and managers over the course of a game. Sportsbooks don’t allow customers to risk much, protecting themselves from this erratic market.
You won’t find the full slate of MLB betting options for spring training, such as team and player props. Managers often juggle their lineups around during a game in order to get a better assessment of talent and aren’t overly motivated to win these warm-up contests.
|CACTUS LEAGUE||GRAPEFRUIT LEAGUE|
|Los Angeles Angels||Baltimore Orioles|
|Chicago White Sox||Boston Red Sox|
|Cleveland Indians||Detroit Tigers|
|Kansas City Royals||Minnesota Twins|
|Milwaukee Brewers||New York Yankees|
|Oakland Athletics||Toronto Blue Jays|
|Seattle Mariners||Atlanta Braves|
|Texas Rangers||Houston Astros|
|Chicago Cubs||Washington Nationals|
|Cincinnati Reds||New York Mets|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||Philadelphia Phillies|
|San Diego Padres||Pittsburgh Pirates|
|San Francisco Giants||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Colorado Rockies||Miami Marlins|
|Arizona Diamondbacks||Tampa Bay Rays|
MLB SPRING TRAINING BETTING TIPS
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Like betting any preseason sport, you have to know what the gameplan is before even thinking of putting your hard-earned coin on the line. Read, read and read some more.
“One advantage that bettors have in these exhibition games is information,” Covers Expert Matt Fargo says. “Similar to NFL preseason games where coaches give out their player rotations and game plans, managers in baseball are very up front on how long starters will be pitching for and what sort of lineups they are going with.”
Listen to what the manager is hoping to accomplish this spring. Is he working in prospects or trying to sure up the rotation? And study up on key players and how they approach spring ball. Do they pace themselves in February and March or come out swinging?
PLAY IT COOL
The first few games of spring training might as well be a high school science fair. Managers are experimenting with lineups and rotations, mixing this guy with that guy and swapping bodies like he’s rolling out hockey lines. New managers are working with players for the first time, still getting an idea of how to best use their talents.
Players are also a tough read in the opening slate of exhibition games. Some guys are easing into the action, others are battling for positions with the big-league club, and others are just trying to stay healthy. Keep an ear to the base paths or sit back and watch how a manager is treating the first weeks of spring ball.
As spring training marches on, starting pitchers take on more and more work. Guys will go at least five innings, giving you a pretty good idea of what to expect from the staff. The best situation is when you have an ace matched up against a No. 4 or No. 5 starter or a young prospect trying to break into the show. Managers aren’t quick to change up pitchers in the spring, even if a guy is getting hammered.
BET THE BETTER TEAM
Roster depth and a surplus of talent can go a long way in spring training. Since veterans tend to limit themselves in the exhibition slate, knowing who’s behind them is imperative to betting spring baseball.
A talent-loaded lineup can make up for the absence of one or two big bats, while a shallow roster struggles without those elite hitters at the plate. It’s the reason baseball bettors see many of the same clubs excelling spring after spring.
RIDE AND FADE STREAKS
There is almost zero consistency in spring training, so when you start to see a pattern – winning or losing – jump on it. Managers couldn’t care less about the results, so don’t expect them to rush to right the ship if their club struggles in the spring. And if a team is winning, the skip must be doing something right and will only tweak minor details.
BEST AND WORST 2019 MLB SPRING TRAINING TEAMS
Kansas City Royals (18-11)
San Diego Padres (18-11)
Oakland Athletics (14-8)
New York Yankees (17-10)
Houston Astros (18-12)
Washington Nationals (17-12)
Cincinnati Reds (7-19)
Arizona Diamondbacks (12-17)
Chicago White Sox (12-16)
Boston Red Sox (12-17)
Baltimore Orioles (12-16)
Tampa Bay Rays (13-17)