MLB Betting Is Three Seasons

MLB Betting Is Three Seasons

Jason Scavone
May 1, 2024

a pitcher throwing in front of a 3-season tableau, indicating changes in MLB betting


If you’re betting MLB, we’re about halfway through the baseball season. 

(No, you didn’t oversleep and wake up at the All-Star break. This isn’t about Rip Van Winkle’s OPS.)

The MLB season as the rest of the world knows it is best thought of by the bettor as three distinct seasons. We’re at the midpoint of the first one. The good news is if you’ve been struggling so far there are two points coming over the next few months that give you the chance to reinvent your process.

The bad news is this current “season” is the easiest one to beat. 

But with a little forewarning, you can be ready to make adjustments as the season goes on and stay ahead of changes in the market that come with changes in the calendar. Here’s how Captain Jack Andrews breaks down the baseball calendar.



Early Season – April-May

You are here. 

Early-season MLB is played over April and May, when spring is in bloom, nature restores itself, and a groggy world returns to life after a long, cold winter. 

Unless it’s snowing on Opening Day

Which is an illustrative point as to why betting springtime baseball can be profitable: because the weather is all over the place, and it greatly impacts games.

Here’s a look at the average temperature, month by month, nationwide. 

a graph of average temperatures, which affect MLB betting

(Via Statista)

From the start of April until the end of May, there’s a ton of variability in the weather. The average temperature can span 20 degrees in just those two months. 

Compare that to the summer months where the average nationwide temperature tends to hover around 70 or 75. 

(Yes, the actual temperatures will differ from location to location but the broad trend holds true. It’s a wider range of potential temperatures early in the season compared to the heart of summer, no matter whether you’re in Boston, Miami or Houston.)

It’s always going to be cooler in the spring compared to July, and when it’s cooler, the ball doesn’t travel as far as it does during the heat. 

If you ever look at the park factors for Globe Life Park (the old open-air venue previously known as The Ballpark at Arlington, now Choctaw Stadium), you’ll see just how dramatically Texas heat can impact a game. Only the elevation of Coors Field consistently juiced scoring more.

It’s not just lower spring temps that impact betting MLB during these months. It’s also that the country can be experiencing wildly different weather from region to region and day to day. As fronts move and collide, it can create conditions like wind and precipitation. There’s a lot of weather to track that can impact totals. 

a barometric pressure map, which is important to mlb betting


The above map is a look at barometric pressure across the country on April 29. There were pockets of high pressure, which hinders the flight of the ball, and some lower pressure areas, where the ball will have an easier time traveling.

Put those two elements together – temperature and pressure – and you have a mix of factors that will force you to consider whether sportsbooks have adequately accounted for the conditions in their lines.


Pitchers Take the Early Lead 

Another thing to look out for earlier in the season, you’ve heard a million times if you ever follow any Spring Training coverage for a team. Pitchers are more likely to be settled in this time of year. They start camp a bit earlier than the hitters do, and batters haven’t had a chance to hone their timing through the repetition necessary to get into mid-season form.

Don’t underestimate the impact of a full spring workload, or that it can cut both ways for hitters and pitchers. Here is Blake Snell’s game log in the three starts before he hit the IL.



Snell didn’t sign with the Giants until March 19, more than a month after pitchers and catchers reported. Is the poor performance the result of injury? Possibly. 

Would you expect to see three starts under 90 pitches for someone a month behind the rest of MLB pitchers? Definitely. Before his first start, Derek Carty noted on THE BAT X Show that Snell was on a tight pitch count when he analyzed the lefty’s strikeouts prop for the April 8 game against the Nationals.


What’s Under the Seams?

Weather and workload are shifting and coming into focus early in the season, but there’s one more element to the game that can have a dramatic impact on your MLB betting: the ball.

There’s some evidence that so far this season, home runs are down. This may not be conclusive that there’s something different with the ball in 2024. But there’s definitely precedent for the manufacturing of the ball to affect on-field play. Here, you’ll have to hunt for information to stay on top of the prevailing thinking among observers when it comes to which version (or, irritatingly, “versions,” plural) of the ball we’re getting this year. 


Other Leagues Do Their Part

Finally, there’s one other outside element in your favor at this time of year: the playoffs. The NBA and NHL are in the thick of their playoffs, and the books have to divvy up their attention. They’ll adapt as the MLB season stretches on, but right now you have one of the most fruitful times of the year to try and beat baseball.

Until about June. 


Mid Season – June-July 30

When June rolls around, weather starts to even out and become more homogenous across the country. It’s not as hard for players anymore to adapt when they take a road trip through Boston, Baltimore and Minnesota. 

Those players have reps under their belt and have become conditioned to the day-to-day rhythms of baseball. Even managers have settled in, and lineups stabilize.

It’s harder to find actionable information in lineup information than it is earlier in the year when managers may still be tinkering with their lineups, or have learned which prospects are panning out or which players’ Spring Training performance may have been a mirage.

As the barometric pressure lessens and the air warms up, balls fly farther and scoring increases. You may see totals start to creep up to reflect that. 

The metatextual landscape is less hospitable, too. Baseball is basically the only game in town for bookmakers and risk managers. You’re battling the books in the spot where they’re giving their nearly complete attention. It’s the hardest MLB betting “season” to win for bettors. 

The height of summer does offer one advantage, though: the market is more efficient in this stretch of the calendar, so it can be helpful for top-down bettors. 

There’s less uncertainty around lines and results. Market-making books tend to run more true. It’s less likely you’ll see dramatic line movement heading toward first pitch as you may see earlier in the season.


Late-Season – July 31-September

July 31 seems awfully specific, doesn’t it? 

That’s because rosters on July 31 could be significantly different than on July 30, the day of the trade deadline. 

It can have a massive impact for contenders and teams that long out of the hunt. (Not saying that’s going to be the White Sox, but not saying it’s not going to be the White Sox, either.)

Teams start to diverge in their goals. The Dodgers might have the NL West all but sewn up. The Cardinals could be riding their starters in a hammer-and-tongs fight for the NL Central with the Brewers. The Mets … well. It’s the Mets. There’s always a chance they could be spending their September trying to figure out why Citi Field developed a sinkhole in left-center and how Pete Alonso got swallowed by a python.

Those teams completely out of contention are likely to start looking at prospects to see who could help them when rosters expand on Sept. 1. 

Angles around expanded rosters aren’t quite as fruitful as they were prior to 2020. Up until 2019 teams expanded to their full 40-man roster on Sept. 1. 

Bettors could revel in the full on post-Champagne-bath lineups the day after a team clinched a division or wild card spot. When the 1996 Yankees beat the Brewers’ brains in 19-2 during Game 1 of a doubleheader, they started three future Hall of Famers. In Game 2 they started Luis Sojo and Mike Aldrete. 

Bettors could have had a field day. Now rosters only expand from 26 to 28.

It can lead handicapping at this time of the year to become an exercise in what you’re not taking into consideration. Team motivations and player motivations can work at odds in ways where you might not have a clear picture of what you do and don’t know. You may not know which version of a player you’re even getting.

Late in the season some players become fatigued and their performance slips relative to earlier peaks. Some veterans may get more rest from the day-to-day grind, especially those on big contracts who are ticketed to be an important part of the future. 

On top of it all, in September you have the return of the NFL. Many bettors pass on late-season MLB betting in order to focus on the NFL. 

But sportsbooks do, too. There are fewer people minding the store when it comes to baseball. If you stay focused this time of year, you could make more headway than you did during the dog days. 

As you plan out your MLB betting, keep these guideposts in mind. Stay ahead of these  adjustments and you could find yourself out in front of a shifting market. 

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