3 Profitable Ways to Bet on Baseball

For decades people have referred to baseball as “America’s Pastime,” but it’s one of the least popular sports among most bettors. While spread-based sports like football and basketball dominate the sports betting marketplace, interest wanes once the MLB season begins. That’s particularly interesting because baseball is the most profitable sport for sharp bettors.

It can be tough to remain engaged throughout the 2,430-game MLB regular season, but that prolonged schedule provides bettors with more opportunities to capitalize on their edge. This lengthy regular season also means that we have a massive sample size to draw upon when creating data-driven betting systems with our Bet Labs software.

Because most sportsbooks charge -110 juice on every game, football and basketball bettors need to win at a 52.38% rate in order to break even. That’s not the case for baseball. Due to the plus-money payout on moneyline underdogs, bettors can win significantly less than 50% of their bets and still turn a profit.

As an example, let’s pretend that there are five moneyline underdogs that are all listed at +200. Assuming a unit size of $100, we’ll assume that two bets win and three bets lose. Despite a losing record, you would actually earn $100 on those five games.

Our company was founded based on a contrarian betting strategy, and betting against the public has proven to be one of the most popular and simplest methods to build your bankroll. Whichever team the public is loading up on, simply bet the other side.

Before the start of every season we update the optimal threshold for betting against the public based on the betting trends from our seven contributing sportsbooks, and that strategy drives our contrarian plays (former known as square plays).

Over the past nine plus years, our contrarian plays have gone 1,691-2,214 which translates to a winning percentage of only 43.3%. Despite that losing record, bettors would be up +120.29 units. In other words, $100/game bettors taking every play would have earned just over $12,000 by following this simple betting against the public strategy.

CONTRARIAN PLAYS

YearRecordWin RateUnits Won
2007190-25143.1%+14.67
2008213-25745.3%+38.78
2009207-24845.5%+38.98
2010200-26543%+21.43
2011168-21344.1%+0.16
2012194-29339.8%+3.54
2013125-18939.8%-17.68
2014178-23043.6%+10.83
2015189-23844.3%+5.3
201627-3047.4%+4.08
All1691-221443.3%+120.29

Betting against the public has been historically profitable, but it’s just one way that sharp bettors can find value. Sportsbook Insider Pro subscribers are able to track sharp money indicators by following our unique bet signals — steam moves and reverse line movement alerts.

A steam move is a sudden, drastic and uniform line movement across the entire sports betting marketplace. Steam is the result of a sudden overload of money placed at multiple sportsbooks and, in most cases, occurs due to betting groups, betting syndicates and a few key players with the resources to “get down heavily” at multiple locations, all at once.

Our members are automatically alerted whenever a game gets steamed. This alert includes the team, triggering line and, most importantly, the sportsbook where the line was triggered. We track the records of each sportsbook to determine whether they’ve been profitable over the course of this season and/or multiple previous seasons.

Similarly, we use our massive database of betting percentage data and betting line movement to find the optimal triggering formula for reverse line movement. This refers to line movement that contradicts our public betting trends, which is another excellent indicator of sharp money.

CRIS and Pinnacle are both considered market-setting sportsbooks. They originate their own lines and are typically one of the first books to post opening lines for a given event. These sportsbooks offer the highest betting limits, which attracts the sharpest bettors. For that reason, bet signals triggered at these two books are consistently the most profitable.

The tables below display the year-by-year results for MLB bet signals triggered at CRIS and Pinnacle.

STEAM MOVES

YearCRISUnits WonPinnacleUnits Won
200746-460.76100-8317.09
2008103-104-2.22613-57417.81
2009281-25611.31195-112530.71
2010458-42110.74905-82247.36
2011375-3572.27923-882-5.67
2012289-25320.331674-154058.83
2013279-23625.271434-125799.89
2014209-204-10.38799-771-23.45
2015367-31432.261030-91377.3
201660-478.88246-237-3.36
All2467-2238+99.218919-8204+316.51

REVERSE LINE MOVEMENT

YearCRISUnits WonPinnacleUnits Won
2007134-13932.5947-58-1.34
2008212-21556.09255-2570.28
2009153-16419.28165-15214.06
2010119-1344.33173-202-11.61
2011137-177-12.76185-180-1.83
2012188-213-32.22248-2293.15
2013240-276-4.88342-354-12.86
2014219-254-5.2340-32711.24
2015380-35355.31466-44426.51
201679-83-0.52102-8617.93
All1861-2008+112.022323-2289+45.53

You can see that following steam moves has been slightly more lucrative than following reverse line movement for baseball bettors. Particularly noteworthy is the performance of our Pinnacle MLB steam move which has gone 8919-8204 (52.09%) with +316.51 units won. Just last year the Pinnacle MLB steam move earned +77.42 units — the second best single season performance of any bet signal.

We should point out that these records include plays on both the moneyline and over/under. It’s also remarkable to see that these bet signals have combined to earn +573.27 units since the start of the 2007 season. That means on average MLB bettors would win roughly +63 units per season by following steam moves and reverse line movement at these two market-setting books. In general, we recommend steering clear of “square” books like BetOnline, Bovada, Sports Interaction (SIA) and Sportsbook.com.

While these strategies have been highly profitable, the only plays we fully endorse are our Best Bets. These picks summarize our best-performing plays and are hand-picked by the Sports Insights staff from our portfolio of sports betting systems. These picks consider contrarian value, the days most profitable bet signals and many other historical trends to determine which sides are offering value.

The tables below display the year-by-year results for our MLB Best Bets.

BEST BETS

YearRecordWin RateUnits Won
2008728-75449.1%+31.64
2009909-87950.8%+7.91
2010532-52450.4%+30.62
2011142-17544.8%-6.98
2012196-26242.8%+29.35
2013204-22647.4%+28.36
2014200-23046.5%+23.47
2015222-26745.4%-1.54
201644-4748.4%+3.78
All3177-336448.6%+146.61

The baseball season is long and grueling, but it’s also been our top performing sport. It’s understandably difficult to remain patient throughout an entire 162-game season, but we have several options to help members make smarter bets — regardless of whether you’re an avid baseball fan or not.

Casual fans don’t even need to watch the games; just take our Best Bets and Contrarian Plays when they’re released every day. Looking to be more involved? Sportsbook Insider Pro members can receive e-mail or text alerts whenever a bet signal is triggered at one of these market-setting sportsbooks.

Sportsbook Insider allows customers to view real-time odds from over 50 sportsbooks (including 1H, 2H and live in-game odds), public betting trends, the number of bets and email alerts. With our Pro subscription bettors also receive our Best Bet picks, bet signals (including steam moves, reverse line movement alerts and contrarian plays), value meter, line watcher, line predictor and more.

Start winning today by signing up for a 4-day trial of Sportsbook Insider Pro. Schedule a free one-on-one demo and we’ll tack an additional four days onto your subscription.

Send this to friend