MLB betting trends.
At the beginning of July, our friend Joe Fortenbaugh at Covers.com had observed that heavy underdogs could return a nice profit with a modest bet on the money-line. His example was a June 27th game between the Los Angeles Dodgers, with Clayton Kershaw pitching, against the Miami Marlins with unheralded pitcher Tom Koehler on the mound. The Dodgers were -280 favorites but the Marlins got the best of the NL West division leaders that day and Miami backers were happy to cash tickets that paid $240 on a $100 investment.
Fortenbaugh asked us a simple question. Is it a profitable betting strategy to back big underdogs on the money-line?
Using the Trend Machine
, the answer was clearly no.
From the first pitch of the season through the start of July, money-line underdogs of +180 or greater had gone 10-29 (25.6% straight-up) and had cost bettors -$1,075. As Fortenbaugh said in his article, huge underdogs proved to cost
more than they were worth.
Knowing which trends not to bet is just as important as cashing winning tickets to the health of your bankroll. With that in mind, here are a few additional trends to watch as the season progresses.
Precipitation and high winds have a strong impact on run production in baseball. The threat of adverse weather can swing the over/under run total in a game. While we make adjustments to account for Mother Nature, being able to avoid the outdoor elements altogether can make our picks stronger.
There are six teams in baseball (Arizona Diamondbacks, Houston Astros, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays) that have retractable roofs on their stadiums. This feature in the stadium design lessons the impact of weather – rain/wind.
If you had blindly bet our over/under picks in each game for all six teams you would have gone 336-320 (52% over/under). Obviously not great but results are hampered by two teams, Seattle and Milwaukee, that are vastly underperforming our preseason projections
. If you remove them from the results, then all over/under picks for Arizona, Houston, Miami and Toronto – teams with retractable roofs – have gone 213-161 (57% over/under).
It is Getting Hot Outside
We just mentioned precipitation and wind but temperature also has an impact on scoring. As you might have noticed, the temperature outside has been rising as we reach the dog days of summer. Sunny days not only help your tan but the higher temperatures allow baseballs to travel further.
Per Fortenbaugh and Covers.com
, games that are played in the range of 95-99 degrees produce an average of 1.5 more runs per game while matchups in the range of 100-104 degrees produce an average of 1.7 more runs per game.
The logical conclusion then would be to bet the over in the hot summer months. Not so fast. From the start of the season through the end of May, overs had gone 364-351-38 (50.9% over). From June on, when temperatures across the country reach their peak, overs have gone 325-358-41 (47.6%).
Scoring may increase during hot summer days but so do the run totals for games. From June on, the average over/under run total line in baseball has been 7.7 runs. In the last three years, games played in March averaged over/under run totals of 7.2 runs, 0.5 run less than in June and July of this year. Bookmakers are well aware of the influence of heat and humidity on baseballs and have countered that stimulus with the increased over/under run total lines. This is another example of a blind bet to avoid.
St. Louis is 42-22 (66%) following a win.
Bet the Dodgers after a loss. LA is 28-16 (64% straight-up) in the next game.
As a favorite, the Mets are 41-20 (67%) – Amazin!
Stop doubting KC, the Royals as dogs are 26-15 (63%).
The Phillies suck, except when they have a day of rest. With one day between games, Philadelphia is 8-2 (80%) on the run-line.
Baltimore is one game over .500, but as a run-line dog the Orioles are 36-16 (69%).
The Reds are below average in run production, but in Cincinnati the over is 26-16-5 (62%).
Teams struggle to score in Canada. The under is 28-18-2 (61%) in games played in Toronto.
Betting trends are fun and at times can be profitable. However, blind wagering is never recommended. Remember the rough start to the season big underdogs were having on the money-line?
Since July, dogs of +180 or greater on the money-line are 5-7 but have returned a profit of +$305.
To find your own betting trends use the Trend Machine