With spring training wrapping up, fans and bettors are getting a better understanding of how different teams around the league will look. For the most part, there haven’t been any major injuries for the top World Series contenders. Most of the big names have been off the market for over a month now and all of the big trades appear to be done with until the trade deadline comes around. If you’re going to make a futures bet for the World Series, now may be the time to do it.
However, don’t just look at your book’s odds and place your bet willy-nilly. There’s a formula to it. A very simple formula!
Well, part of it is simple, part of it isn’t. If you want to take the Cubs, just take a look at the table below and find the book with the best payout. While some sportsbooks are offering the Cubbies at +350, others are offering slightly longer odds at +450. Long-term success in sports betting is all about maximizing your payout, so getting the best price is crucial.
However, if you don’t plan on going chalk and taking the Cubs, you might want to know more about the process taken by these books when coming up with these odds. This article does a great job of explaining it. All of the books have to take more juice on these futures because of the risk of massive payouts, but some books are going to be taking more juice than others. By looking at implied probabilities, we can find out the theoretical hold percentages to see how much juice these books are taking
In a normal non-gambling situation, the chance that one of these teams win the World Series is exactly 100%. However, by calculating implied probabilities based off each team’s odds, we will find that the sum goes well over 100%. This is because sportsbooks are businesses and they will end up earning money off of us…not us, of course, but less intelligent folks.
The books that are taking in the most juice will be the ones whose total implied probability is the highest over 100%. The books I have chosen for this particular list range between 121.59% and 144.27%. As told by thee David Solar, “In order to calculate the hold percentage, start by adding the implied probabilities for every team together. That number, which will always be higher than 100%, will be called “X.” From there, the formula would be 1-(1/X).”
Here are the hold percentages from each of the books. It should be noted that Heritage and 5Dimes currently have the exact same odds for every team, and therefore the exact same hold percentages. Someone’s copying someone here…
- Pinnacle: 17.75%
- Sportsbook: 18.16%
- Bookmaker: 20:48
- Bovada: 23.46%
- BetOnline: 24.56%
- SportsInteraction: 24.84%
- Westgate: 25.77%
- PaddyPower: 26.27%
- Heritage & 5Dimes: 30.69%
Interesting results, to say the least. Pinnacle and Bookmaker, two of the sharpest books on the market, are towards the top of the list. This isn’t all that surprising. However, Sportsbook and Bovada, two of the squarest books on the market, are right up there with them. One reason for this may be because they aren’t really at that much of a risk. Their limits on futures are generally far lower than sharper books in the first place so they’re not going to have to pay out immense sums no matter who wins.
Alright, Mark. ENOUGH WITH THE MATH. 9 out of 10 people tell their friends in high school, I quote, “I won’t be using math in the real world, so why do they force us to study it now.”
Below is the table, all odds accurate as of 3/21/17. I’ve used Pinnacle as the baseline since they finished first on our hold percentage list and are arguably the sharpest book on the market. The rest are listed in alphabetical order.
|Boston Red Sox||604||425||550||450||571||425||650||700||450||700|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||1033||950||700||1000||863||950||1200||700||1000||800|
|New York Mets||1185||1300||1200||1400||1305||1300||1600||1200||1600||1200|
|San Francisco Giants||1289||815||1200||1100||1276||815||1400||1400||1200||1200|
|Toronto Blue Jays||2075||2200||2200||2200||2351||2200||1600||3000||1200||2500|
|New York Yankees||2535||2200||2500||2500||2800||2200||1900||3000||2500||3000|
|St. Louis Cardinals||2697||2250||2500||2200||2800||2250||2000||3000||2200||3000|
|Kansas City Royals||3741||3500||5000||3300||4300||3500||2800||8000||3300||6000|
|Los Angeles Angels||8755||6500||6600||4000||7000||6500||8000||6000||4000||6000|
|Tampa Bay Rays||8824||8000||8000||10000||11000||8000||5000||9000||10000||8000|
|Chicago White Sox||11086||9000||10000||10000||12000||9000||8000||40000||10000||50000|
|San Diego Padres||23001||20000||20000||15000||25500||20000||10000||50000||15000||50000|
As expected, the reigning World Series champion Cubs are favored across the marketplace. Their odds don’t vary that much, but there’s tremendous variance for some teams’ odds. Below you can find which book has the biggest payout for each team.
- Arizona: +12000 (Sportsbook)
- Atlanta: +16137 (Pinnacle)
- Baltimore: +5000 (Sportsbook)
- Boston: +700 (Sportsbook, Westgate)
- Chicago Cubs: +450 (BetOnline, Bovada, SIA)
- Chicago White Sox: +50000 (Westgate)
- Cincinnati: +35000 (Sportsbook)
- Cleveland: +900 (Bovada)
- Colorado: +6500 (Bookmaker)
- Detroit: +3900 (Bookmaker)
- Houston: +1557 (Pinnacle)
- Kansas City: +8000 (Sportsbook)
- LA Angels: +8755 (Pinnacle)
- LA Dodgers: +1200 (PaddyPower)
- Miami: +12500 (Bookmaker)
- Milwaukee: +30000 (Sportsbook, Westgate)
- Minnesota: +18826 (Pinnacle)
- NY Mets: +1600 (PaddyPower, SIA)
- NY Yankees: +3000 (Sportsbook, Westgate)
- Oakland: +19000 (Bookmaker)
- Philadelphia: +18500 (Bookmaker)
- Pittsburgh: +10000 (Sportsbook)
- San Diego: +50000 (Sportsbook, Westgate)
- San Francisco: +1400 (PaddyPower, Sportsbook)
- Seattle: +3300 (Bovada, SIA)
- St.Louis: +3000 (Sportsbook, Westgate)
- Tampa Bay: +11000 (Bookmaker)
- Texas: +3000 (Sportsbook, Westgate)
- Toronto: +3000 (Sportsbook)
- Washington: +1200 (Sportsbook, SIA)
Sportsbook ends up on this list 14 times, but it should be noted that they have a very bad history with payouts. Although they have the best payout for about half of the teams in the league, I would suggest choosing the next closest book for those teams.
Heritage and 5Dimes, who had the highest hold percentages, don’t make the list once. If you’re betting on the World Series, don’t do it at these books.
There are really three different groups of teams on this list. One group, starting with the Cubs and ending with the Mets, ranges from about 3/1 to 15/1. These are the legit contenders. Their odds don’t vary by more than a couple of units across the board.
The second group, starting with the Rangers and ending with the Angels, ranges from about 20/1 to 75/1. These “fringe” contenders don’t have a great shot at the World Series, but if things go right for them or wrong for other teams, they may just have a shot. As they say, anything can happen in baseball. Some of these teams have odds that vary quite a bit, but the implied probability difference between +2500 and +5000 is less than 2%. Big difference in payout; small difference in implied probability.
The third group starts with the Rays and ends with the Padres, Reds, or Brewers…whichever team can out-suck the others. The phrase “anything can happen in baseball” is actually a sham because it does not apply to these teams. “There’s no crying in baseball” is also a sham because my little league games were reminiscent of wine night watching The Notebook. The odds for these teams vary wildly. You could bet $100 on the Padres to win the World Series at Bovada and win $15,000 or you could bet $100 on them at Westgate and win $50,000. The fact of the matter is that it doesn’t matter because if you bet on the Padres to win the World Series you should check yourself into your local loony bin.
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