Baseball Season is upon us and while many Bettors will be winding down and looking forward to the 2010 Football Season, I will be Revving it up over the next few months and producing profits that are simply not possible with football and hoops. Why is that? Because Baseball is not only a different animal, it is GODZILLA and the Japanese People in my neighborhood will once again be running for the hills. Baseball, unlike the other two major sports allows us to actually win more money than we bet, giving us the decided advantage over the books. Not only that, but because Baseball is a finese Sport, the Ole Phrase, “Anyone can beatAnyone else on any given day” is much more truer with this sport.
Underdogs Verses FavoritesI am going to try and do my best not to bore you with tons of statistics in this exercise, but we are going to have to use a few so bear with me. Let’s begin with Moneyline Stats over the last 8 years. This length of time gives us enough scope to determine what has been profitable and what has not. Betting Underdogs has not been profitable. However, we can find some situations that have been and the fact is, some are just plain BAD ASS Profitable. If you had bet ever Underdog in the last 8 years inBaseball, you would have bet a lot of games and you would have lost just over 179 Units. That’s not too good but let’s look at the other side of the story. If you had bet every favorite you would lost over 730 Units. What does this mean? It means that you have over a 4 Times better chance of winning money if you bet Dogs. But you would still have lost right? Absolutely, because it can’t be that easy.
Baseball Underdogs that are ProfitableThere are situations that have produced large profits over the last 8 years and the most prevalent one makes a lot of sense. Teams that play each other a lot often are more motivated to win and so it would make senses that Win/Loss Numbers would be close to 50% than any other situation. And they are. If you had bet all Divisional games (Teams in the same Division) over the last 8 years, you would have over 202 Units of Profit in your Wallet. That is a lot of money. That is GODZILLA Money. In addition to that, Dogs have done much better in the second half of the season and once again for a simple reason. Late in the year, more public money comes into play. That drives Line upward, giving you more value for your buck. I am not telling you to bet all Division Dogs, I am telling you that this is always a good starting point but there is more.
The Mid RelieversThere is a strong correlation between the strength of a team’s Bullpen andhow well they do both in the standings, and in the money made playingthem. When I talk about the Pens, I am not talking about who has the bestcloser, although that does come into play. The average starting pitcherrarely gets past the sixth inning. The average closer rarely gets past 2/3of an inning. The fact is, as the season progresses, the starting throwerbecomes less and less important and from about May 20th until the end ofthe season, starters will average just under 2/3 of an inning less thanprevious games. That is based on the last 8 years and that is amisconception to many. On average we can expect the guy who throws thefirst pitch to last about 5.2 innings meaning 1 out short of 6. Inaddition, we can expect him to leave the game more times than not, withrunners in scoring position and usually with less than 2 outs. That is whythe mid-line throwers are so important. Here is some info from a selectedyear.
Top 6 Money Teams of 2006MinnesotaOaklandNew York MetsDetroitKansas CitySan Diego
The Top 5 Bullpens of 2006MinnesotaNew York MetsSan DiegoDetroitOakland
These are listed in order and as you can see, the Top 6 Bullpen’s alsocomprised the Top 5 Money Teams. The only excpetion was KC who won somehuge moneyline plays late in the year. Similar results can be found inprevious years and latter years. In most cases, I would rather have a mediocre starter and a good Pen, than the opposite. That works out very well since that is the exact opposite of the way Vegas would like us to think. Vegas Sets Baseball Lines on two factors. The Starting Pitcher and now good or bad he is, and the overall perception of how good or bad a team is. It is our job to determine whether those guys who set the odds have done their homework and often they have not. Let’s remember one important thing. The best pitcher in the league can have a bad outing, the worst one can have a good one, bullpens generally remain fairly consistant. We do have a rate Bullpens for teams like Tampa Bay and Colorado differently because of the venue at which they play. But in most cases, Bullpen ERA is the best way to do this.
Betting Baseball FavoritesIt is a fact that over the last 11 years, Baseball favorites have won right at 58% of the time. That means that if all betting lines during this timeframe were -135 plays, one would have broken even. But they are not. And the winning percentages of those games -140 to -220 do not go up as the line goes up. Anything past -140 is the worst losing proposition in Baseball. If you are playing these, you already have one leg in the well and GODZILLA is closing fast. Run Akatsuki, run!! I am not saying that these play don’t sometimes offer value, I am saying that when you bet them, you are already starting out in the hole. Tread lightly with these.
Betting Baseball RunlinesThis is probably my favorite subject but not my favorite bet. Anytime I have seen anyone on the internet talk about betting runlines, they always are doing so laying -1.5 Runs. Have we forgotten that we can bet +1.5 Runs? I do that often and when I do, it is usually a Dog Division Game with a pitcher on the mound coming off a poor effort. I am going to cover that Pitcher Poor effort thing in more detail but let’s stay focused on this for now. Below is the Probability of winning by more than 1 run when a team wins the game outright. These stats are from the last 9 years. They are very interesting indeed.
-110s: 70.8%-120s: 72.3%-130s: 72.4%-140s: 74.7%-150s: 74.5%-160s: 75.1%-170s: 71.9%-180s: 70.8%
Does anyone see what I see? There is not that big a difference in teams winning by more than one run as the Moneyline Spread Rises. What does that mean for us? It means that playing -110’s to -140’s at -1.5 Runs is going to be more profitable than playing anything higher. But here’s the deal. Most Bettors don’t play -1.5 Runlines until the line gets to -150 and those ar the least profitable choice of all based on line value. I do rarely play any -1.5 Runline and all the Ducks have to be lined up before I even consider it, but when I do, I am going to be betting them to give me a + Money Payout and not a -. The Most interesting -1.5 Runline Stats are below and it denotes how often teams win by more than 1 run when they do win the game.
Home Teams: 68.5%Road Teams: 77.1%Home Favorites: 69.7%Road Favorites: 79.1%Road Favorites more than -120: 80.1%
As we can see, Road -1.5 Runlines do much better than Home -1.5 Runlines. That is simply because the road team always gets their 9 times at bat whereas the home team does not. Vegas does adjust for this fact with lower runline payouts for road -1.5 runline teams.
Additional ThoughtsI could write an entire book on other situations that are winning propositions and I will have more info as the season progresses. I am going to have a separate article on Winning Baseball Totals a little later in the Spring. I do want to let everyone know that some of these stats here come from various websites as well as some that I keep myself. Let’s briefly talk about two of my favorite situations though. The first is The Bounceback Pitcher. I love this one because it gives us two things. It gives us a starter who is motivated to perform well following a not so spiffy performance. And it gives us a Betting Line that is usually out of whack. As Stated before, most bettors bet starting pitchers and these people also usually bet against throwers who are not performing well. The fact is, that is the best time to back a starter. The Second One is The Bounceback Hitter. This is along the same line as the previous one. Teams off ZERO Runs scored get good line value and over the last 6 years have turned a profit each and every year. This is one to look for throughout the season.
There is a reason why I have produced a profit betting baseball over the last 19 years and it is because I always put myself in the best possible winning position. If you do that, you will win also, and the Japanese People in your neighbohood will pay the price.
Just keep in mind Will that those Runline Stat Winning percentages are based on the Team winning the game so each game still has to be handicapped accordingly...
WOW. That was some seriously great stuff. I just learned more about betting MLB in 5 minutes than I have in a few years. MLB is the one sport I never dove into as far as capping / betting, but I kind of got into it last year, and now am ready this year, especially after reading this!
Bring on the road favorites at -1.5 Run Line with the ML more than -120!! lol. Ok, so I learned a LOT more than that, but that stat certainly jumped out at me. Same with the divisional game stats. Putting this together with some of the other stuff I"ve read, well, I think I'm ready to get this started! (home teams will extremely rarely get swept...another good tip I've read). If I could go into Football season with a +MLB bankroll, I will be ecstatic, as NFL and CFB are definitely my most profitable sports. --- Thanks, Greg! Keep this stuff coming, buddy!
cbelongia, 5 inning plays can be very profitable for this very reason, especially when you have a Dog with a good starter but poor Pen. I would suggest that everyone have a few books that do 5 Inning plays...
Alright Greg, Great info. I knew that middle relief was very important. It would be interesting to see what a starting pitchers ERA/avgs look like or how it varies from Innings 1-3 where hitters are seeing pitchers stuff for first time as opposed to inn 3-5. By the time middle relief comes in they get one look/at bat usually before coach starts manuvering.
Anyway Great Stuff! Thank You kindly!!
Those are some good stats basewinner and not surprising at all. Thanks for those...
Great stuff Greg - the baseball dog is a beautiful thing and the favorite bias should be something everyone considers before they tear into the day's card. I am looking forward to this new +1.5 frontier. Gill touched on it yesterday and I will dig into this further this year. I think as a fan it will give a new take on the two outs - team down by 2 and runner on 2nd and 3rd. You want your guy to get a hit but the opponent to throw the guy on second out at the plate so you will get your cover with no extra play.
The relief stats may be the most important from a profit standpoint. Just for fun I took the top 1/2 of AL Pens (since I am doing AL only) measured by xFIP over the last 2 years and compared them with the bottom half on the money line.
top half AL pens 2008,2009
average xFIP=4.15 units=+57.3 units
bottom half AL pens 2008,2009
verage xFIP=4.62 units= -120.7 units
so in the AL, taking a division dog with a good bully is a good place to start
Greg...this is a phenomenal write-up....your takes on underdogs/faves, pens, and runlines should serve as a foundation for anyone jumping in to betting baseball...the money saved (and earned) by exercising discipline on these points alone are at least 90% of the deal.....props to you.
Great info ! Has to go into my sports betting Manual!