Betting on MLB games is fun and exciting. What makes it even more exciting is when you win. At the very least, MLB bettors would like to win more often than they lose. If you’re the type of bettor that likes to jump on favorites, you’re going to run into some problems. There’s a reason why you should avoid big favorites and focus on finding solid MLB moneyline underdogs. It’s a strategy that can really pay off in the long run.
The Big Favorite Issue
Recreational bettors love favorites. They love teams like the Yankees, the Red Sox, and the Dodgers. Oddsmakers are well aware of this and will set lines accordingly. The problem with favorites is their price.
If you continually bet on MLB favorites of -150 or higher, you are setting yourself up for failure. You will lose money…lots of it. Since 2005, favorites of -150 or higher have won 63 percent of their games. That looks great on paper. Let’s assume you bet on every single one of those games and wagered $100 on each. You’d be in the hole over $30,000!
Remember, when you win on a big favorite, you don’t win big. When you lose on a big favorite, you lose big. This is one of the big reasons why MLB bettors are better off looking for quality moneyline underdogs.
Even if you are just a casual bettor, you’re likely to know that assuming -110 odds on all bets, you must win 52.4 percent of the time in order to break even. If you get plus-money odds, you don’t even need to win half of your bets to come out ahead.
Since 2008, all MLB underdogs at plus-money won 47.1 percent of the time. They did not win half the time, but since bettors were getting plus-money odds the results were favorable. Again, if you wagered $100 on all plus-money underdogs since 2008, you would be up over $20,000. That is the power of the MLB moneyline underdog.
Finding MLB Underdogs
When betting MLB moneylines, there is still value to be found on favorites. There may be more value on MLB moneyline underdogs, but bettors can’t simply pick random dogs and expect wins. The category can actually be broken down a bit further to find which plus-money underdogs make the most sense.
In a given MLB season, division teams play each other 19 times. That number of games breeds some familiarity. That levels out the playing field some and gives an advantage to a divisional underdog. Since 2005, MLB underdogs have lost considerably more games to teams outside their division than inside their division.
You can also take that category – divisional underdogs – and break it down even further. The public tends to overvalue home field advantage. The result is often an undervalued road underdog. Going even further, we will find that games with higher totals mean more variance in run scoring. Oddsmakers expect the visiting team to score some runs. Again, an advantage for the road team.
Put it all together and you have the road divisional underdog in a game with a high total (typically 8.5 or higher). Since 2005, if you had bet on all such games, a $100 bettor would be up over $7,000.
If you’re planning on betting baseball this season, do your homework. Find value on favorites, avoid big favorites, and opt for searching for value in moneyline underdogs.