Make or break you
If there is one thing sports bettors love to capitalize on, it’s a strong trend. The Major League Baseball season makes or breaks many bankrolls as the 162-game schedule lends itself to many patterns. Some are very simple while others take a bit of research and filtering to discover. For example, road favorites have dominated the early portion of the 2018 schedule, winning roughly two-thirds of their games and taking advantage of early-season MLB betting lines. A simple $100 per game bettor would be up over $2,600 just by betting road favorites. I said trends can make or break you. The same bettor in April of 2017 would have lost over $1,300. It is more vital in baseball than any other sport to be on the good side of trends in the data. Below we will discuss a few patterns that have formed in recent years and the likelihood that they continue this summer.
Over the past two seasons, home underdogs have played remarkably well following an offensive explosion of at least ten runs. Be it due to increased confidence or the opponent’s depleted bullpen, bettors backing these dogs have cashed in a nice paycheck. While not profitable every year, home underdogs following a ten run game have netted bettors an ROI of 3.2% since 2004. Remember, the longer a trend holds up for, the less likely it is a fluke.
In college football, good teams are often susceptible to trap games. This is when you have a big matchup the following week that preoccupies your attention and causes you to lose to a team you shouldn’t. Perhaps playing every day negates this psychological effect as you never hear the term to describe baseball games. Interestingly enough, the numbers seem to indicate that MLB teams actually play better when a key opponent is up next on the schedule. Since 2014, favorites off of a win who still have one more game against a non-division opponent before facing a division opponent have a whopping ROI of 10.5%. In 2017 the trend was as strong as ever, treating bettors to a 17.7% ROI. Why is this the case? It could be that in a sport where you play everyday and momentum is so important, teams like to get hot before playing a key opponent as opposed to saving everything for that opponent.
In a trend that has shown a remarkable 17.1% ROI since 2015, road underdogs perform exceptionally well when their starting pitcher had a bad start his last time out. We consider a bad start to be four or fewer innings while allowing five or more earned runs. This trend shows that these guys are professionals. Although the media, fans, and betting public may turn on them after a bad outing, they display extraordinary resiliency and get the job done. Very few people like to back a pitcher who just got rocked. Being bold and taking advantage of skewed lines are two qualities necessary to turn a large profit betting sports.