We all know the MLB season is a long one. Like, really long. It’s the longest season of any professional sport by a wide margin, with 162 games. As fans of teams, it’s easy to live and die with every single game. However, with MLB expanding the playoffs in recent years, the truth is, you have to be really, really bad to not be within shouting distance of a wild card spot for most of the year. This does lessen the importance of the regular season quite a bit. And as we saw last year, all you have to do is get in and you have a shot. The Phillies captured the last wild card spot in the National League, and proceeded to make it all the way to the World Series. So the question becomes when it’s no longer early in the season, and how bettors should react to what we’ve seen thus far.
We’re now past 1/3 of the season. Each team has played over 50 games so far this season. So while there’s still plenty of games left, it’s fair to say that we have a decent sample size to judge teams and players. The most important thing to consider when judging teams are the injuries they have, their home and road splits, and the division they play in. For example, being in last place in the AL East is nowhere near the same thing as being in last place in the NL Central. What division you play in matters.
It’s also important to consider the age of the teams you’re looking at. Veteran-led teams may be more likely to try and preserve their best players so that they last the entire season. At the end of the day, while it’s not too early to judge teams for what they’ve done on the field so far, context does matter. These are all the things that you should consider when you’re making your bets. If you keep these things in mind, you’ll be more informed, and chances are you’ll make better betting decisions as a result.