The MLB has finally announced the return of the season. The difficult relationship between the league and the players association made the negotiations complicated, just like we predicted in our article on the financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for the major leagues. Luckily an agreement was found, and baseball will be back in our lives very soon.
We’re already very close to the action with opening days scheduled for July 23rd and 24th.
Two World Series favourites are immediately in action on the 23rd. The New York Yankees open at the defending champions, the Washington Nationals, while the Los Angeles Dodgers play at home against the San Francisco Giants. The rest of the teams have their opening games on the 24th.
Here’s what you need to know about the details of the 2020 MLB season.
How will the 2020 MLB season be played?
This year’s baseball season will be significantly shorter than usual. The MLB and MLBPA have agreed on a 60-game regular season, after which the playoffs will be played in a normal format.
Teams are expected to play games at their home parks, but this is subject to change if there are major health concerns. In order to keep travel at a minimum, each team will play 40 games against divisional opponents. This means that teams will face each division rival 10 times. With most of the season consisting of these matchups, this will definitely favour teams that play in weak divisions.
The rest of the 20 games that teams will play will be against interleague teams from the geographically closest division.
Two major rule changes are in effect for the 2020 season. There will be a universal DH, meaning that pitchers will not be hitting in the National League. And for games that go into extra innings, a baserunner will be placed on second base at the start of every inning.
What are the implications for sports traders?
Baseball is a game of large sample sizes, which makes it optimal for sports trading systems. A season that’s less than a third of a normal one will make things more unpredictable. It will be harder than normal to find profitable patterns in the market, and it’s quite likely that we will be seeing some surprising teams make or miss the playoffs this year.
Some questions to ask when analysing the upcoming season:
Most of this season’s games will be played in summer conditions – what does that mean?
Weather has major effects on baseball games, and this year most games will be played in warm and sunny conditions. Temperature affects how the ball travels. The air gets thinner at higher temperatures, so scores tend to get higher during the summer months. Sunny days also make it harder for players to track where the ball is going.
Will this favour certain teams or players, and what will the effect be on run totals?
What happens if a team can’t play games in their home park?
Home-team bias has an effect on the odds and it often creates chances for contrarian value trades. If a team has to play at a neutral ground due to health concerns, how much of an impact will this have on public money? And will fans be generally less eager to bet on home games that they can’t attend?
Who will the short season favour?
Will it be the teams that have the most depth, or perhaps the ones that have players that have the capability to go on a hot streak for a few months? Which players will find it hardest to get into a groove in such a short time? Which teams have gained the most from having players in full health?
We’ll find out soon enough.
The randomness of a short season brings forth its challenges, but these unique circumstances will surely also offer great opportunities for those who are willing to do thorough research. Our systems will be tuned to extract the maximum profits available when the season starts.
We’ll be covering the return of baseball extensively, so make sure to subscribe to our newsletter on https://sportstradingsystems.com/ to get all of the latest on the 2020 MLB season.
Are you ready to take advantage of the return of baseball?
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Head Trader at Sports Trading Systems, Creator of the ScoreMetrics Philosophy, world traveler and lover of good food, good drinks and beautiful women who speak different languages.