Here at Sports Insights, we don’t often recommend taking favorites — especially moneyline favorites in baseball. We are kind of like the Baha Men or Bizarro Michael Vicks of the gambling industry because we love dogs. You can still make a profit over a long term even if you are winning less than half of your games.
There is one day in particular where favorites reign supreme, though — the day after the all-star break.
Last year, we touched upon this trend, but only had a few hypotheses as to why it may be the case. However, now that we can look at first five inning systems using Bet Labs, we have a much better idea as to why favorites win more often than they usually do.
Since 2005, favorites have gone 118-61 (+25.3 units, 14.1% ROI) the day after the break. That is just about a 66% winning percentage compared to the 57.3% rate that they generally win at.
As you can see by the graph, this is a very consistent trend that you should feel pretty comfortable investing in.
If you were to bet on favorites on the 1st 5 inning line, you wouldn’t have fared nearly as well.
Going back to 2009, favorites are 61-43-15 (+1.9 units, 1.8% ROI) in the first half of the game. There have been four profitable seasons and four seasons that weren’t profitable. Clearly, this is not a trend that you can bank on.
In that same time span, full game favorites are 75-44 (+11.1 units, 9.3% ROI). Not quite as good as the entire sample, but I don’t think anyone would complain about a 9.3% ROI.
The difference can explained by the fact that good teams, for the most part (sorry Nationals), have good bullpens and closers. Obviously, there are some exceptions like the aforementioned Nats that can still thrive despite having the worst bullpen ERA (5.20!?!?) in the league. Most teams, however, don’t have a potent enough offense to keep up with bullpen blunders of that magnitude.
One factor that strengthens this trend, for both the full game and first five, is when the favored team is playing against a really crappy team (.400 winning percentage or lower). Teams in this situation have gone 22-7 (+9.2 units, 31.9% ROI) for the full game and 14-3 (+7.6, 44.3% ROI) during the first five innings. Not too shabby. Be prepared to fade the Phillies.
After you make bank following this trend tomorrow, give our pro membership a try to build up that bankroll in time for football. Our MLB best bets earned 55.5 units in the first half, meaning that a $100 bettor would be up $5,500.
Check our MLB free odds page to see which teams are favored tomorrow. Feel free to let us know your thoughts in the comment section or ask us any questions via email (email@example.com) or live chat.
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