How to Bet Baseball: Take Underdogs With High Totals

How to Bet Baseball - MLB Underdogs with High Totals
How to Bet Baseball: Take Underdogs With High Totals

In the past, when we have written about how to bet baseball, we explained how underdogs with high totals have been profitable for sports bettors, but until now had not offered any evidence to support this assumption. The theory is very basic: high totals lead to more unpredictability and that volatility benefits the team receiving plus money (i.e. the underdog).

To test this theory on how to bet baseball, we used our Bet Labs software to look through more than eight years of MLB betting data. We first chose to focus solely on underdogs by using the “Favorite/Dog” filter, and then continued by adding our “O/U” filter and steadily increased the total by a half-run starting at 6. Our belief was that as the total increased, we would see a constant increase in our return on investment (ROI).

The table below, which uses line data from Pinnacle, shows the record for all underdogs as the total escalates.

Total Record Winning % ROI
6+ 8,476-11,334 42.79% -0.9%
6.5+ 8,435-11,274 42.80% -0.9%
7+ 8,242-11,018 42.79% -0.8%
7.5+ 7,739-10,304 42.89% -0.6%
8+ 6,757-8,989 42.91% -0.6%
8.5+ 5,743-7,544 43.22% +0.1%
9+ 4,104-5,483 42.81% -0.7%
9.5+ 2,431-3,234 42.91% -0.2%
10+ 1,172-1,533 43.33% +0.6%
10.5+ 629-789 44.36% +2.8%
11+ 216-276 43.90% +0.3%
11.5+ 87-93 48.33% +8.1%
12+ 37-40 48.05% +5.8%
12.5+ 22-19 53.65% +19.3%

Outside of the decrease between 8.5 and 9 and 10.5 and 11, we noticed that both the winning percentage and ROI increased as the total became higher. In fact, simply betting every underdog in games where the total was at least 10 would result in a winning system. This is not a recommended betting system, but it does show a definitive edge for shrewd sports bettors.

Today, there are no games with a total of at least 10, however both the Blue Jays and Diamondbacks are worth monitoring as they are underdogs in games with a total of 9.5. Historically, games played at Coors Field, Fenway Park and Rangers Ballpark in Arlington have most frequently had a total of at least 10, so we would recommend keeping tabs on the Rockies, Red Sox, and Rangers, respectively.

Would you like to add more filters to this system? Schedule a live demo with our BetLabs manager and you can begin creating your own winning betting systems today.

David Solar

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

  • tom
    05/21/2013 at 2:45 pm

    lol this article is so contradicting. And also does not give a big enough edge to make any money

    • PJ
      05/21/2013 at 2:47 pm

      This article is not meant to be a betting system, but to show how totals affect profitability when betting moneylines.

      • tom
        05/21/2013 at 2:53 pm

        Maybe the title of this article need to be changed then, because you are directly telling the public how to bet to be profitable.

        • PJ
          05/21/2013 at 3:25 pm

          The article specifically says, “This is not a recommended betting system, but it does show a definitive edge for shrewd sports bettors.”

          So we directly address this in the text.

          • tom
            05/21/2013 at 4:09 pm

            The title also says “How to Bet Baseball: Take Underdogs With High Totals” the author is telling readers to bet underdogs when total is 10 or greater because he believes the evidence he provides shows that it is profitable, is that not a recommended system?

          • PJ
            05/21/2013 at 4:16 pm

            The article is explaining how high totals mean more randomness in scoring and volatility. And yes, if you’re a MLB bettor who bets moneylines, this research certainly indicates that you should be looking at adding Over/Under consideration to your current MLB model.

            The second sentence of the article says:

            “The theory is very basic: high totals lead to more unpredictability and that volatility benefits the team receiving plus money (i.e. the underdog).”

            I apologize if you misinterpreted the title, but the theory of the article is clearly outlined in the first paragraph and later there is the clear disclaimer that: “This is not a recommended betting system…”

  • tom
    05/21/2013 at 2:51 pm

    and where there is a big enough edge, theres not a big enough sample size. Who ever wrote this, shame on them.

    • Donald Price
      05/21/2013 at 9:36 pm

      Where can I find betting lines that give plus money on O/U’s???

  • Bob
    05/21/2013 at 4:52 pm

    Tom get a life, some people will read this and take note, look for patterns and provoke thoughts, others will ignore but I doubt there will be any crazy enough to blindly read the title of an article and back every underdog in high total games, if so they deserve to lose their money.

    • tom
      05/30/2013 at 1:47 pm

      You think no one will start snap betting every dog with higher total from here on out after reading this article? Do you not realize how many dumb/people who have poor money management there are in this world? come on

  • john
    05/21/2013 at 6:39 pm

    Tom . U r a square. Since when is over 5k games not a big enough sample size. The reason u only have a few hundred results for high totals is because there harsdly are any 11s or 12s. This is a very good article. I forgot squares like u are broke and troll the internet.

    • tom
      05/30/2013 at 2:02 pm

      Where profit starts at 5k+ games is 8.5 runs, and that yields a .1% roi. (assuming this table is correct) Do you realize how small that is, it’s only 10 cents profit on every $100 risked. You also back me up when you said there are hardly any totals 11. Also back to the sample size of 13k games with .1% roi. If you took every dog for $100 for all 13k of those games with 8.5 total or greater, congrats, you just made $1300 in 8+ years. My whole point, you can probably find better trends with larger edges than this.

  • Chris
    05/21/2013 at 9:53 pm

    No reason for the harsh critique. I think this article is very useful and makes absolute common sense. This is a hard game to beat and to go into it with a game plan like this can give a bettor an edge. Especially if you use this data and shop around getting best prices on the dogs. In this pitchers era where it is rare to see totals above 10 I think those totals from 8.5-10 will still have value to the bettor. I am nothing but a dog better. I prefer to go against the public at all times. Just because the past yielded profits does not mean the future will but I would rather lean on a strategy like this than just blindly pick favorites like most of the population does.

    • tom
      05/30/2013 at 2:05 pm

      Would love to know which part of my critique was harsh.

  • Robert Blanchard
    06/04/2013 at 10:40 am

    Might check out exact same articles being written by Chase Diamond at
    Someone is taking credit for some one else’s research. Several articles seem to have been copied verbatim. Just a heads up.

    • PJ
      06/04/2013 at 11:39 am

      Thanks for the heads up. If you see our articles anywhere else, please feel free to contact me directly at

  • Scott p
    04/07/2015 at 8:39 pm

    What this article really shows is that favs win you $ !?

  • Scott p
    04/07/2015 at 8:40 pm

    And I agree w tom on the title is misleading but hey that’s writers for you

  • Sharif Jones
    05/25/2015 at 7:36 pm

    Great article you guys are the best.

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