7 Nightmares of Every MLB Bettor

Distressed Man Holding Forehead With a Baseball Stadium Background

Major League Baseball plays thousands of games during each season, which makes it a good sport for smart sports gamblers. With so many games, it’s easier to find games with poor lines that offer value.

The problem is that no matter how much you plan and how much time you spend evaluating MLB games; there are still many things out of your control.

This list of seven nightmares that every MLB gambler has can help you see where you need to prepare for unexpected situations. You can do a few things to help avoid some of these nightmares, but the truth is that if you bet on many MLB games you’re going to face some of these things.

1 – Starting Pitcher Scratch

The starting pitcher is an important piece when you evaluate MLB games. I always start my MLB evaluations with the starting pitchers, and most successful MLB gamblers do the same.

When a starting pitcher is a late scratch, it changes everything about your evaluation. The good news is that many sportsbooks cancel all wagers placed on MLB games when a listed starting pitcher is scratched.

You need to know the rule about starting pitcher scratches at every sportsbook where you place wagers. I don’t have a preference on this rule, because it helps me just as often as it hurts me. As long as you know the rule, you won’t be surprised when it happens.

Another piece of good news is that listed starting pitchers aren’t scratched often. It does happen, but it’s not an everyday occurrence.

2 – Rain Delay Games

Rain delays in MLB aren’t common, but they do happen every season. A short rain delay usually doesn’t hurt your wagers, but long rain delays can be a problem.

MLB managers are more protective of their pitchers than ever before, and if a rain delay goes too long the manager usually pulls the starting pitcher and turns to his bullpen.

The only thing you can do to avoid these situations is to consider the weather for each game you’re placing a wager on.

3 – Star Player Late Scratch

Many sportsbooks cancel action on a MLB game when a starting pitcher gets scratched, but you don’t have this protection when a star position player is a late scratch.

The only thing you can do to try to avoid this happening often is follow online accounts of writers who report on late injuries and wait until the last possible moment to place your MLB wagers. You can also learn more about players that have an injury history and learn when particular players are likely to get a day off.

Wide View of an MLB Player on Field

Many MLB managers give certain players a day off on a day game following a night game. This is particularly true when the day game is followed by an off day. This way the manager gets the player two days off in a row. You need to know the tendencies of each manager to do this.

4 – Starting Pitcher Early Injury

You’ve spent hours evaluating MLB games, identified the ones that have value, and placed your bets. You sit down to watch one of the games and the starting pitcher for the team you bet on leaves in the 1st inning with an injury.

Your chances of winning the bet just went down a great deal. The bullpen is going to have to work the rest of the game, and the weakest members of the pitching staff are going to work several innings.

The sad fact is that there’s not a single thing you can do about this. It happens from time to time, and you’re just going to have to live with the results.

Inexperienced MLB gamblers often make a quick wager on the other team to try to hedge their original wager when this happens, but this is a mistake. The in game odds on the opposing team after a pitcher injury are much worse than they were before the game.

This means that if you make the hedge bet and your original wager ends up winning you lose even more on the hedge wager than you would’ve lost on the original wager. Your best course is to simply ride the original wager out, even if the odds of winning don’t look good after the injury.

5 – Unearned Runs

You can only do so much when you handicap MLB games. You can look at the unearned runs that each team gives up, but it’s difficult to predict when they’re going to happen and how much it influences any individual game.

The worst thing that defenses can do in baseball is provide the offense with additional opportunities to score. Every time the defensive team commits and error or misses the opportunity to get an out it gives the offense another chance to score.

On the other side, the worst thing an offense in baseball can do is give up an out. This can be by making a mistake on the base paths or committing some other unforced error.

You need to evaluate every MLB team for these things on offense and defense and make your best prediction about how they influence games. These things are nightmares because a single unearned run can change a winning wager into a losing one.

6 – Three Batter Rule Goes Wrong

The three batter rule for relief pitchers that was introduced for the 2020 MLB season was supposed to speed up games. The problem is that it didn’t really speed up games and it almost killed the specialist relief pitcher.

The rule states that a pitcher that comes in to the game in relief must face a minimum of three batters unless the inning ends.

Here’s how this can go wrong for you as a baseball bettor:

The offense has two left-handed batters coming up followed by their best hitter, who bats right-handed. The defense brings in a left-handed specialist with two outs. But the reliever gives up a hit and a walk. Now he has to face a good right-handed batter with two runners on base and the manager can’t bring in a righty to face the 3rd hitter.

Of course, this doesn’t happen this way often, but as a baseball gambler you don’t have any control over this situation. This is a truly nightmare situation as a baseball gambler.

7 – Manager Decisions

One thing that I hate about betting on Major League Baseball games is how hard it is to predict what managers will do to mess up one of my wagers. This isn’t unique to baseball, as coaches in other sports also do things that cost me money at times.

MLB managers are concerned with only one thing. They want to win baseball games. They don’t care how many runs they win by or the total score. On the other hand, many bets I make on MLB games are based on the total score or by how many runs one team wins by.

Here’s an example of how a MLB manager can cost you a wager:

The home team gets up by seven runs and the starting pitcher begins to get tired. The manager brings in his weakest long reliever to save his starting pitcher and the rest of his bullpen.

MLB Yankees Player After a Hit

The long reliever struggles but keeps the lead. He ends up giving up five runs and leaves the game in the 9th inning with one out and a runner on 3rd base. The closer comes in, gives up a sacrifice fly, and then gets the final out of the game for a one run win.

I had a bet on the home team giving one-and-a-half runs on the run line. The home team wins the game but I lose my wager. The manager doesn’t care about winning by only one run, because he still wins the game.

If I was running the team I’d never let the long reliever give up so many runs.

You can see why MLB managers often give sports gamblers nightmares.


Once you realize that there isn’t much you can do about the seven nightmares for MLB gamblers listed on this page, maybe you can relax and sleep a little better. You need to do everything you can to prepare for them, but once you prepare all you can do is let the games play out.

Evaluate every MLB game with these nightmares in mind and you’re going to be better prepared than most gamblers. You might even be able to learn how to use a few of these nightmares to your advantage.