Before you make a bet, you probably look at things like a team’s recent performance, its record against the opposition, injury reports and other variables.
But do you check the weather?
This is one of the most often-overlooked sports betting tips, but weather can greatly influence the outcome of any sporting event.
Professional sports teams understand the impact of the weather, with most employing meteorologists who have good knowledge of local conditions.
Below is a list of how regular conditions can have adverse effects on the best-laid plans in a variety of sports:
Effect of Weather in Baseball Betting
Weather forecast calls for winds blowing in at Wrigley today
— Bet Labs Sports (@Bet_Labs) May 19, 2017
Of all the main sports, baseball betting might be affected most by weather. Temperature, precipitation and wind all factor into how a baseball game will be played.
Temperature affects baseball betting primarily because the ball travels further in hot weather than in cold. Heat makes the ball more elastic and allows it to decompress more off the bat than it does in frigid temperatures.
“For a long fly ball… a 10 degree Fahrenheit change in temperature will change the distance by something like 2.5 feet,” University of Illinois physics professor Alan Nathan told AccuWeather.com in 2016.
“Now, that’s not an enormous difference, if you’re only looking at 10 degrees difference. But if you’re looking at a difference between a 40-degree game in April versus a 90-degree day in the middle of August, maybe the effects can be quite substantial.”
Hot temperatures should benefit teams that rely on the home run and hurt pitchers that give up a lot of fly balls (you can find pitchers’ fly ball percentages on advanced statistical sites like Fangraphs).
Cold weather, meanwhile, should benefit pitchers.
Precipitation, most typically rain, can wreak havoc with your baseball bet.
In most cases, it’ll favour the Over, since a slippery ball is harder for both the pitchers and the defence to grip. Pitchers can also lose their footing on a slick mound, while fielders won’t be able to get to balls as quickly if they’re slipping around on wet grass.
In some cases, however, the Under may benefit from rain being in the forecast. Since an MLB game becomes official once 5 innings are completed, umpires may expand their strike zone in order to keep the game moving before the bad weather moves in. A bigger strike zone always favours the pitchers.
Finally, don’t forget about the betting rules that apply to rain-shortened games. Over/Under and run line bets will be cancelled if a game doesn’t go a full 9 innings, so you’ll want to keep that in mind when betting on a baseball game that has rain in the forecast.
Wind has the biggest impact on baseball betting.
If a stiff wind is blowing towards the outfield, routine fly balls can turn into home runs. If the wind is blowing in, the opposite is true. Since home runs can score as many as four runs on one swing of the bat, this can dramatically affect the over/under of a game.
Especially at Wrigley Field, which is notorious for its stiff breezes. There are several theories on why Chicago is nicknamed “The Windy City”, but don’t be surprised if it came from a baseball bettor who liked to bet on Cubs home games.
Effect of Weather in Soccer Betting
Perhaps the most frequent bad-weather condition in soccer, rain can cause the ball to “skim” or move quicker along the pitch, perfect for teams that like to pass the ball.
If the rain gets too heavy, however, a pitch will become waterlogged and slow the ball down, disrupting passing games. This is especially important for lower-league clubs, who do not have adept groundskeeping staff to keep the pitch in top condition.
Therefore, it’s vital to check not just whether or not it will rain, but how much is likely to fall.
The slippery conditions could also have a big impact on soccer over-under betting. Stinging rain will not just affect a goalkeeper’s grip, but also reduce his visibility on long-range shots.
Effect of Weather in Football Betting
Football is another sport that can be easily influenced by rain. The surface will be slower, likely leading to a tighter and tougher contest between the two sides. The rain can also affect a quarterback’s ability to throw.
Snow and cold also have similar effects on football games. A snow-covered field will be more slippery than usual, which slows both teams down but particularly hurts the defence that is reacting to offensive players’ moves. Cold can affect the quarterback’s grip on the football (some quarterbacks are better in cold weather than others) which will affect their accuracy, particularly on deep passes.
Wind is arguably the main weather condition that affects the game, however, providing a dramatic advantage for rushing teams. Teams that prefer passing plays will find windy conditions particularly difficult.
Effect of Weather in Tennis Betting
When it comes to tennis, sustained periods of heavy rain result in delays, postponements and interruptions.
These can provide a much-needed break for losing players in the midst a match, or delay a game enough to negatively impact the winner’s recovery time and therefore affect his next match.
At Wimbledon, it can lead to the closure of the roof, which in turn will affect the bounce of the ball and benefit indoor-specialists – such as Roger Federer.
Wind is another contributing factor for tennis conditions – it can greatly shift how the ball moves and tilt the advantage in favour of baseline defenders, instead of those who aim for the lines.
Get Reliable Forecasts
Knowing the weather conditions is a must if you’re a serious bettor, and a reliable forecasting site is a vital tool.
While there are numerous free forecasts available on the Internet, commercial offerings can offer an even bigger edge for fans of outside sports, such as soccer, football, tennis and baseball.