2015 MLB Betting Against the Public: Midseason Report

2015 MLB Betting Against the Public: Midseason Report

Prior to the start of each season, we publish a series of betting against the public reports which highlight the sweet spot for contrarian betting in each sport. This year’s report detailed a system that has gone 247-262 with +116.54 units won, including a 7-1 record (+8.95 units) this season.

While this system has fared well, it takes a number of factors into consideration including the closing total, moneyline range and team winning percentage. As we approach the All-Star break, we wanted to take a step back and examine how MLB betting against the public has fared using a broader prism. The table below displays how fading the public has fared this season at various data points.

Public BettingRecordUnits WonROI

Betting against the public has been profitable when we look at very basic filters (teams receiving less than half of all public bets), but the results as we examine increasingly lopsided bet games are quite surprising. Typically, our return on investment (ROI) increases exponentially as we look at less and less popular teams. However, this season public betting actually becomes unprofitable at the 30% level which is ironic because that’s the ideal range for our betting against the public system.

This would seem to indicate that although betting against the public continues to be a profitable approach, bettors need to consider other historically profitable strategies in conjuncture with this contrarian strategy. We’ve consistently found that underdogs with high totals are profitable for bettors, so we wanted to know whether this trend had continued during the 2015 season.

For the sake of this article, we will qualify high totals as any over/under that closes at 8.5 or greater. When we focus on underdogs with high totals, our results improve to a more recognizable level.

Public BettingRecordUnits WonROI

You can see that the profits start soaring when we examine dogs receiving less than 30% of moneyline bets, yet they drop down considerably when we look at dogs receiving less than 25% of moneyline bets. That’s because teams receiving between 25 and 29% of moneyline bets have performed insanely well this season, posting a 27-11 record with +23.26 units won and a 61.2% ROI.

MLB Midseason.jpeg

While we’ve consistently found contrarian value on the moneyline, betting totals has been a different animal. Historically unders have been offering value, but this season has been no true advantage. At the midway point, unders have gone 608-604 and, when accounting for the juice, bettors would have lost -29.88 units. When you add on a basic contrarian filter (unders receiving less than 50% of public bets) that record drops to 468-476 (-31.46 units).

Incredibly, the first profitable data point for betting against the public on the under comes on teams receiving 21% of public bets or less (54-50, +3.41 units). Similarly, it’s quite difficult to find value betting against the public on the over. This season no game has seen less than 22% of public bets on the over, and the first profitable data point comes when there are less than 35% of bettors taking the over (21-19, +1.97 units).

Earlier in the week, we posted an article which determined whether there was value betting against the reigning Cy Young winner. Though the research was somewhat inconclusive, we did determine that last season’s AL Cy Young Winner (Corey Kluber) had been the most profitable pitcher to bet against this season.

As we enter the second half of the season, many bettors may be wondering who had been the best and worst pitchers to bet thus far. The table below displays the five most profitable pitchers along with the five worst pitchers to bet on during the 2015 season. It should be noted that past performance does not necessarily predict future results, so bettors should not overreact to any of the names featured.

BestRecordUnits WonWorstRecordUnits Won
David Price15-3+8.77Corey Kluber5-13-9.60
Wandy Rodriguez9-5+7.90Jesse Chavez4-11-7.92
Carlos Martinez14-3+7.66Kyle Kendrick5-13-7.18
Michael Wacha13-4+7.44Alex Colome3-10-6.93
Erasmo Ramirez9-3+7.07Jon Niese5-11-6.76

Other interesting trends from the first half of the season include:

  1. The American League has gone 98-80 (+7.29 units won) during interleague play.
  2. The St. Louis Cardinals (51-32, +13.98 units) have been the best “under” team this season.
  3. The San Diego Padres (49-35, +11.73 units) have been the best “over” team this season. As we explored earlier, most of those profits have been gained at Petco Park.
  4. The Kansas City Royals (50-32, +16.14 units) have been the best team to bet on.
  5. The Philadelphia Phillies (29-59, -19.83 units) have been the worst team to bet on.
  6. Teams who lost their previous game by at least 4 runs have gone 129-97 (+19.52 units).
  7. Julio Teheran (14-4, +9.23 units) has been the best “over” pitcher this season. Felix Hernandez (13-4, +9.19 units) has been the best “under” pitcher.
  8. Since the start of the season, the Houston Astros have seen their World Series futures move from +10,000 to +1,400 at BetOnline. The Cincinnati Reds have dropped from +3,300 to +15,000.

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David Solar is the Content Manager for Sports Insights and can be reached directly at David@sportsinsights.com.

David Solar

David was the Content Manager at Sports Insights. He has since moved on to greener pastures.

1 Comment
  • pete
    07/10/2015 at 5:42 pm

    It is interesting to see the lopsided games really struggling this season; will it turn around? We’ll see. Also, interesting to see the SI Best Bets seem to be lagging a bit behind their historical returns at this point in the season.

    I was wondering if you subtracted the favorites and the day-game road teams from the SI Best Bets for the year, how much the ROI would increase? Food for research.

    Also, it looks like there are only .600 teams to play against right now in the MLB and they are the Royals and Cardinals. That 7-1 system seems worth waiting for; that is a phenomenal ROI.

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