Profitable MLB betting strategies and teams
30 years ago, baseball was not a very significant part of my wealth accumulation. Nowadays, it is. There are so many matches and betting markets during the long MLB season that even the slightest edge grinds a lot of profit with an acceptable risk. And one can bet with very fair terms. The bookmakers have traditionally a very slim takeout margin in baseball, and if one lets a bet broker like Sportmarket to find the best markets and odds, the expected loss per bet is ca. 1% by betting randomly. A strategy beating the average bettor only by 2% makes a profit in the long run.
The very mechanical basic strategies have not been strong enough to generate profits during the first half of the season. Betting all home sides (even with the world's top odds found by Sportmarket) would have lost about 1% of the turnover. Run line visitors would have almost broken even. In over/under-betting, the unders would have lost slightly less than overs, but still about 2% of the turnover.
On the matches where the home side is the favorite, away underdogs have generated a very slim profit – as betting on the under has. The profit margins increase almost 2%, if one bets away dogs and unders only in the games with the home favorite shorter than -121 (1.83x European).
One should not draw too firm conclusions from the statistical samples of less than half a MLB season and 500 matches. But it is possible that one finds it easier to find value bets among the away dogs and unders on their games compared to home sides.
Texas Rangers has been the most profitable team to follow this season. They have returned over 33% net profit per bet on the run line and over 20% on the money line. Well done to the Texas backers, because the team has played well, and their success has been deserved, not lucky.
LA Dodgers have fulfilled their high expectations with betting profits, too. Tampa Bay Rays have been a very much hyped (and backed) side after their strong start, but even they have generated profits for their supporters. That is not always the case with well-performing popular teams, as we can see with Houston Astros, Atlanta Braves, and San Diego Padres. They all belong to the five top teams in betting money aggregated, but all have lost money. Actually, that has been the case with all the ten most popular teams except the named Rangers, Rays, and Dodgers.
The world sports betting market has quite correctly voted with the money Oakland Athletics as the weak of the weakest in the MLB. The team has been a big loser in betting, too, regardless of the bigger and bigger betting odds they can be backed on. Almost as dark is the situation with Washington Nationals – even if they have cost their backers ”only” 10% per bet. Of the bad teams, Kansas City Royals have been a disaster as a betting object – losing over 40% of the stakes on them. But Detroit Tigers, Cincinnati Reds, and Colorado Rockies are surprisingly so far profitable betting objects, even if the market believe, that they belong to the bottom five in the team rankings.
The sports data come from mlb.com, and the betting data from bet broker sportmarket.com.