Sportscasters and fans love a good baseball rivalry. And baseball handicappers too. However, the best rivalries cause the most headaches for those wagering on baseball and Football games, as the betting public likes them as well.
That creates a lot of frenzy, as fan loyalty usually gives both parties of rivalries far too much credit, which results in overinflated and erratic lines, making it difficult for even the most savvy NFL & baseball bettors to find the real betting value.
Because of that, we have put together a few key factors to help baseball handicappers determine if a rivalry is really a grudge that matters, or just something that is being fueled by the media and fans.
To start with, the players in a rivalry game really have to care. Otherwise the impact on a game isn’t always particularly significant, unless the players are fueled by some sort of civic pride or perhaps fueled by anger or an extreme aspiration to thump their opponent after losing an important game or series the first time the two tangled.
Bettors need to remember that even though they might be amped up to take on a rival, the MLB season is a long one, and for players, sometimes games are just games and what happened the last time, just doesn’t matter. Where as Football is the opposite every game in the season is important. Even the NFL games at the end of the season are still important because rivals can knock a team out of a playoff game and every loss burns as badly as the next for those die hard Football fanatics.
Secondly, how often do the two teams play each other. Are they in the same division?
A rivalry is usually much more intense if the teams are not in the same division. That’s because teams in opposite divisions may not even play every year, while teams in the same division can play as many as 18-20 times during the regular season alone.
A rivalry is usually sustained when teams don’t see each other all of the time, as the bitter juices are left to simmer, rather than losing their level of intensity over 20 games in a season.And while there are some major league divisional rivalries that are uber intense, it is very easy for bettors to overcompensate for the impact of these rivalries.
Next, if there is a sense of rivalry between two MLB clubs, handicappers need to look carefully to see of the fuel of the feud is surrounding recent issues, or if the dislike of each is more for tradition. While a time-honored contention is a good springboard for a rivalry, an extra intensity is created by a contentious outcome in a playoff series, a bench-clearing brawl, negative remarks in the media by players or the coaching staff towards the other team, or in today’s word, a negative tweet on Twitter.
And while fans and the general public will have much longer memories of what happened, handicappers need to bear in mind that the teams and players themselves can be all forgotten in a short amount of time.
Finally, perhaps the most important factor when betting on a MLB rivalry game, is really looking at how the teams match up exclusive of the feud.
Rivalry games can easily distract bettors from what actually matters, and it doesn’t matter how much a team hates another team, if it doesn’t have the talent to beat its rival, it will still lose. If MLB handicappers don’t make this distinction, they will quickly fond themselves betting on with their emotions, which can be a very costly mistake.