MLB and Betting Against the Public (Includes 2003-07 Seasons): April 2008

As a leader in sports information services and research, SportsInsights is pleased to update last year’s baseball statistics on how “Betting Against the Public” has fared over recent years.  With more than 11,000 data points over five seasons, baseball continues to show impressive statistical results.  In addition, with many sports winding down just as baseball is starting up, baseball will soon be the “only game in town” for some sports investors.  But what a game it is: with a 162 game season and 30 teams, there are plenty of profit opportunities!  The information on this site is for entertainment and educational purposes only. Use of this information in violation of any federal, state, or local laws is prohibited.

MLB Database (2003-2007 Seasons)

SportsInsights’ database for MLB now includes over 11,000 games over the past five seasons.  For the purposes of this article, we include the playoffs, but exclude spring training.  Similar to hockey, baseball is a “moneyline” sport, so that we emphasize “units won” (and not winning percentage).

Betting Against the Public

Similar to last year, we present results for “Betting Against the Public” at different thresholds of betting percentage AND for home teams and visiting teams.

Table 1: MLB and Betting Against the Public (2003-2007 Seasons)

Betting % Home Visitor Total
50 +71 units +3 units +74 units
40 +67 +13 +80
30 +69 +62 +131
25 +66 -17 +49
20 +17 -2 +15
15 +26 -4 +22

Using the Table

  • In addition to overall “Bet Against” results, we have broken out how Betting Against the Public works if a team is either a Home team or a Visitor. 
  • For example, if a Home team has less than 30% of the public betting on them (Visitor has more than 70% of the public), this scenario resulted in +69 units!
  • On the other hand, Visitors with less than 30% of the bets (more than 70% of bets on Home team), resulted in +62 units.

Some Notes

  • The 30% level continues to be the largest profit-maker in terms of units won.  The past three years, we showed +78 units (over 3 years) for the 30% level of “Betting Against the Public” since inception, then +111 (over 4 years) last year — and +131 (over 5 years) for the entire database.
  • Higher or lower Betting Percentage thresholds will increase or decrease the number of plays respectively.
  • In baseball, the data seems to suggest that when betting against the public, leaning towards the Home Team might improve results.

Good luck during the upcoming baseball season!

We do not guarantee that the trends and biases we’ve found will continue to exist. It is impossible to predict the future. Any serious academic research in the field of “market efficiencies” recognizes that inefficiencies may disappear over time. Once inefficiencies are discovered, it is only a matter of time before the market corrects itself.