Which is expanding more rapidly: sports betting access or podcast listening options? They are both areas of exponential growth — and, as you might expect, the intersections are on the rise too. This is the latest article in a recurring series reviewing some of the most noteworthy entries in the increasingly crowded sports gambling podcast space.
Major League Baseball is finally about to get Opening Day right.
On Thursday, all 30 teams will play, at staggered times throughout the day, with games going on nonstop for roughly 12 straight hours starting at 1:05 p.m. Eastern. It’s going to be baseball overload. And after some five months without baseball (MLB preseason and World Baseball Classic aside), that’s a good thing.
And if you happen to be among those folks who are very much in favor of baseball overload, The MLB Gambling Podcast may be just what you need flowing through your earbuds.
The MLB-focused show from the Sports Gambling Podcast Network generally runs twice a week during the offseason, but it ramps up to daily (well, every weekday, plus sporadic weekend editions) once the first “Play ball!” is uttered. In essence, as long as you don’t pull your glove away too quickly, the SGPN will drop a baseball betting pod into it.
JT Realmuto just got ejected for this in a Spring Training game 🧐 pic.twitter.com/W4ijZOgwEA
— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) March 27, 2023
Definitely not a Yankee
The first thing you’ll notice when you fire up most episodes of The MLB Gambling Podcast is that the voice you’re hearing is unlike every other voice you’ve ever heard talking baseball. There is, to some extent, a rotation of hosts, but the guy running the show on most episodes is Malcolm Bamford, a British man (from Newcastle in northeast England) with a very British accent.
An American listener’s initial reaction may be that balls and strikes don’t mix with tea and crumpets. This is America’s pastime, after all.
But, hey, if Ted Lasso can coach soccer in the UK, then we should be open-minded and let a British dude talk baseball. And Bamford knows his stuff and takes the game seriously.
Fortunately, the podcast — which launched in June 2001 — does not take itself overly seriously. There’s plenty of lighthearted banter and (base)ball-busting among Bamford and his colleagues — led by primary co-host Munaf Manji, although there are others, such as Dylan Rockford and Noah Bieniek, who regularly sit in.
During the season, daily pods take an approach similar to what’s found on countless sports betting shows: breakdowns of the games on tap, insights into notable stats and matchups, and “locks” and “dogs” at the end, highlighting each analyst’s picks for favorite wagers and most-live underdogs.
One problem, however, is that lines aren’t always posted for the entire slate of games when the podcast records, so the hosts are left to talk in generalities about what they expect. They may indicate they have an affinity for the “over” in, say, Dodgers-Padres, despite not knowing where the sportsbooks have set the line. This is one of the challenges inherent in pumping out daily baseball pods. Each episode has an extremely short shelf life, and there’s plenty of tap-dancing around angles to look for without committing to how exactly to wager on a game.
The offseason episodes tend to be less time-sensitive. For example, The MLB Gambling Podcast has spent the last few weeks churning out previews of each individual division — breaking down the futures odds for every team — and on Monday night dropped a pod surveying odds on every major end-of-season award as well as on full-season leaders in assorted statistical categories.
About those odds …
One other shortcoming of The MLB Gambling Podcast: All the odds discussed come from a single sportsbook.
WynnBET is a sponsor of the show, and the hosts don’t shop around (at least not on the air). For listeners, that’s not ideal. Sure, one sportsbook’s odds are enough to give everyone a sense of where the market stands. But it leaves audience members with a lot of legwork to do if they want to make sure they’re betting at the best numbers.
In the end, though, that’s somewhat in keeping with the vibe of the show, in that its appeal should largely lie with the casual baseball bettor who simply wants a few ideas to consider each day. The hardcore baseball gambler who’s looking for every edge and using models and spreadsheets to try to grind out a profit is probably not the target audience of The MLB Gambling Podcast.
But if you’re in the market for a few informed betting options and a chuckle or two along the way, this pod steps up to the plate.
(Our suggested listening speed: 1.75x. On the one hand, who has time for an hour-long baseball podcast every weekday at normal speed? On the other hand, any speed 2x or faster won’t give the listener time to process the picks.)
Previous reviews in this series:
- The Favorites
- The Ringer Gambling Show
- DAT Poker Podcast
- Bet the Process
- Against All Odds With Cousin Sal