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MLB Handicapping: Understanding the profile for the best and worst teams to bet on

05.21.2018     11:38 AM     Printer Friendly

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Finding the perfect MLB "betting profile" can be tricky. The best teams who post impressive run differentials and a top-tier statistics are almost always well accounted for in the betting markets. It's tough to support these teams with traditional moneyline bets when they are routinely laying north of -200. On the flip side, the worst teams flatout struggle to win. A 65-win team needs to be priced, on average, +150 in order just to break even. Below we broke down the best and worst teams from a profits perspective over the last five seasons. To no surprise, the most common ingredient is under- and over-achievement based on preseason expectations. For example, Arizona was lined at 77.5 wins last season and won 93 games. Meanwhile, San Francisco undershot its win total by 24 games, hence it's historic -37.8 units. Another factor, is "luck." In 2016, Texas won 95 games but "should" have been at or near .500 based on its miniscule +0.2 run differential. The markets never caved on the Rangers' soft statistical profile; they were on average a -106 favorite. In fact, if you combined both 2015 and 2016, Texas went 188-141 +58.9 units. Their pythagorean W-L during that span was 165-159 meaning based on their average moneyline price, they overachieved by over +50 units. Those "luck" teams are a bettor's worst nightmare because we've been trained to forcast regression and when it doesn't come, we literally pay the price. 

As for this season, some of the aforementioned profiles are at work yet again. The Atlanta Braves were lined at 74.5 wins but are currently on pace to win over 100 games. The Braves won't get to 100 wins, in fact, according to FanGraphs, they are currently projected to win 83 wins. If that holds true, Atlanta would finish 55-62 and lose its backers a few unit based on their current +105 average moneyline price. The Los Angeles Dodgers are on pace to hit -30 units by the All-Star Break. Pegged to win 96.5 games, LA is 20-26. However, the Dodgers "should" be closer to .500 and if they can get healthy at some point, there's a chance for some profits the remainder of the season. Remember, the Dodgers won +11.8 units last season despite being priced on average at -186. This year's team average price is -158; no doubt aided by Clayton Kershaw's absence.

2018 (Preseason O/U Wins)
Best: Atlanta +13.8 (74.5)
Worst: LA Dodgers -23.6 (96.5)

2017
Best: Arizona +16.6 (77.5)
Worst: San Francisco -37.8 (88)

2016
Best: Texas +29.3 (86)
Worst: Minnesota -31.3 (77.5)

2015
Best: Texas +29.6 (76.5)
Worst: Cincinnati -31.1 (79)

2014
Best: Baltimore +34.8 (82)
Worst: Arizona -31.6 (80.5)

 

Tags: MLB




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