Updated: 28. September, 2020
MLB 2016: 114-111, +40.67 units
MLB 2017: 631 – 608, +56.20 model plays (27.22 units including gut plays)
MLB 2018: 318-320, +3.83 Units (CLV: +1.92%, BTL: 64%)
MLB 2019: 145-137, +12.50 Units (CLV: +1.64%, BTL: 63.12%, Best Value Plays CLV: 3.33%, BTL: 75%)
MLB 2020: 60-43, +16.03 units, Yield: +11.25% (in progress)
Total: +123.23 Units
Dime bettors made $123,230 of profit
A lot of people asked me what is the best sport to bet and my answer is always the same – baseball. At least for me. Bookmakers are very smart and they know how to attract bettors with all kinds of promotions and other bonuses and they also know very well psychology of bettors and gamblers. They know how to attract them and a lot of people will fall into this trap. They will bet on sports, that they like to watch, not to invest. Of course, NFL is great to watch, but from an investing point I think, that there is no sport that is close to MLB and betting on it, when it comes to sample size of data, statistics and information.
Keep reading and I will explain, why baseball is the best sport to bet for me, what is my baseball betting strategy and how I bet on baseball.
Why I bet baseball and what MLB betting system I use?
The most popular sport in the USA is the NFL. There are 32 teams, that play 256 games in one season. The regular season starts in September and ends at the start of January.
Let’s take a look at how much money can make one very good sports bettor in one regular NFL season if he plays every single game (1 game = 1 bet, spread for example). Let’s take an example, that he is very good and he will reach a yield of 10% (some people call it ROI).
- 256 games * $1000 = $256,000 risked money
- Yield 10%: 0.1*$256,000 = $25,600
A very good NFL bettor will make $25,600 of profit if he plays every single game and if he is very good.
On the other side, take the example of a very good MLB bettor, with the same yield, and if he also bet on every single game in regular MLB season.
One regular MLB season has 2430 games and if we take that he bet on every single game (1 bet = 1 game).
- 2430 games * $1000 = $2,4300,000 risked money
- Yield 10%: 0.1*$2,4300,00 =$243,000 of profit
Very good MLB bettor with a system and a strategy will make $243,000 of profit, which is close to 10 times more than NFL bettor.
Of course, reaching yield of 10% playing all NFL and MLB games is not possible, but I wanted to show you that potential in baseball is much bigger. Every day we have 10-15 games and if you are prepared to work hard on MLB analysis and your betting strategy, I think there is no other sport that has so many opportunities.
There are also a couple of other key reasons, why I bet baseball:
- Huge market: This is not the second league in volleyball, where the lines move quickly and where the limits are low. MLB is one of the biggest markets in the sports betting world and on average you can bet much more than on any other smaller leagues.
- Statistics: I am investor, not a gambler and I can not bet without analysis and without any statistics. Even if I made some intuition plays, I look first at the numbers. Statistics is very important to me. Baseball is a sport with the biggest information about statistics. And we all know that statistics and analytics is most important when it comes to predicting future results. All successful businesses us it and I am a huge believer, that traditional handicapping without analytics will be dead soon too. So, when you have a lot of data, you can also make better predictions and analysis. It is much easier to analyze a sport with 2430 games and data sets than only 256. I hope you agree with me.
- Underdogs: An average bettor is afraid to bet on underdogs. I think the main reason for that is because most bettors bet a huge proportion of their bankroll (if they have one) and they are basically in a must-win situation every day. Underdogs, in general, are the teams, that have less than 50% of chance, and of course, they don’t want to be in a must-win situation, that has less than 50% of chance. Usually the public is heavily with favorites and usually the public loses a lot too. But in the MLB baseball league the difference between the best team and the worst team is not that big. The best teams will win around 60% of games and the worst teams will still win around 40% of games. There is a lot of underdog wins every day and because of that a lot of chance for us, who are looking for the value, not for the winners.
My own baseball betting strategy
Most of my plays are moneyline bets. I don’t like to make special bets and I rarely play totals. I stick with high limits bets, where I can invest more money. But before we go deeper in my baseball betting strategies, let’s explain a couple of other things, that are important.
We can look at one baseball game as one EVENT, right? And every event has two outcomes:
- Home win
- Away win
Every outcome will have some probability or if you like – Team A has a chance that will win this game and Team B has a chance to win this game.
Bookmakers estimate these probabilities and then they turn these probabilities into the odds (plus they add some margin of course, which is their “commission” they take every time when you make a bet). These odds are basically the price that you pay. I hope we all agree with that. We will also agree that the price that we pay is the key in betting and in our life too. It is not not the same if you buy the same car for $10k or for $30k, or the house for $300k or for $400k. It will be the difference between losing and winning if you don’t care about the price and your money.
Bookmakers will use this price and move the price based on different reasons (line movement). And our goal is to pay the right price, not the bad/wrong price. The overall concept is pretty similar to other investments or if you like betting is some kind of relative competition not only against bookmakers, but also against other bettors or the market.
If you constantly pay/invest in better price than the rest, then you can expect positive results. And this is the key. Let me explain this little bit, because this is very important.
Understand sports betting – couple of basic things
Imagine that bookmakers offer the odds on Boston Red Sox at +150 (decimal odds 2.50). If we ignore the margins for simplicity of this explanation, then +150 will represent the probability of 40%. In other words, this is the chance that bookmakers give to Boston. If they are correct, then Boston will win 40 out of 100 games if we can repeat this game (same situation, same players,…) many many times.
+150 is also the price that you pay. If you bet $100, you will get $150 for Boston. $150 of profit is your reward or the “product that you buy” if you like.
So the question is what is the right price to take. It is never about should we take Boston or not. But always if we should pay this price for Boston or not. This is the concept that is hard to understand for many bettors. Bettors focus on teams, potential winners, not on the numbers (prices). Sharp bettors always focus on the price, not on the teams.
But the question is how to know if the price is good or bad?
We will come to that…just keep reading, because understanding the concept will save you a lot of time, plus you will better understand how I bet.
Imagine, that you run a restaurant and you want to make a profit by selling Coca Cola. You need to know suppliers price for Cola and the price for which you can sell it in your restaurant later. Imagine that you want to sell Cola for $3 in your restaurant, but at the same time you don’t care what is the Coca Cola price, when you buy it. Supplier can sell this Cola for $4, but because you can sell it only for $3 in your restaurant, you will make a loss. Coca Cola can be a popular (team, winner, pick, lock,…), but if you can not make a profit by selling Cola on the long run, you should not invest in Cola. You should not bet on teams (Cola) but on the price and the discrepancy between suppliers price and the last price in your restaurant.
Let’s explain odds little bit more…
How to understand betting odds?
So, what are the odds? The odds are the prices, that you will pay when you bet. When you buy Cola, you pay that price. When you bet you also pay “some” price. The only difference is that if you have a Cola supplier, you can call him and he will tell you the price. At the same time you also know what is the price you can sell Cola in your restaurant. So it is pretty simple and you need one call. In sports betting the things are little bit more complicated, because most bettors have no idea how to estimate that first price. Picks are not the first price. Picks are always just “Team information” + “bookmakers odds information”. And many bettors blindly follow that second price.
What we need is to project our odds independently from bookmakers. Yes, even before bookmakers open the odds. We must know what is the price we are willing to pay. What is the last price we are willing to pay. If we can not do this we can walk like a blind bettor our whole life and it is only a matter of time, when bookmakers will start winning because of margins.
So, for example, if I estimate, that Boston Red Sox have a chance of 56.44% to win a game versus NY Yankees, my fair odds would be 1.77 (US odds: -130). In this case, I expect, that when I bet $1000 on Red Sox, bookmakers would pay me $770 for Red Sox win. And based on this number I decide if I will bet this game or not.
If bookmakers set the odds on Boston Red Sox 1.60 (US odds: -167), I will get only $600 if my bet (Red Sox) wins. In this case, I was expecting at least $770 in profit, but I get only $600. And this is not a value for me. I would stay away from this game.
On the other side, if bookmakers set the odds of 2.1 (US odds: +110) on the Boston Red Sox, I would get $1100 of profit, which is $330 more than I would expect. And this is something I call it a value. In this case, I would bet on Red Sox because I get more for my money. Of course if my estimations are correct. The discrepancy between your estimated probability and bookmakers probability is the value. If the value is positive and in your favour (you get more than you would expect), this is potentially good bet.
The concept of value is pretty simple and it is something you face every day. When you go to a store and you see two jackets, totally the same quality and you like them equally, the logical decision would be to buy the cheaper one. Why? Because you get more for the same money. And if you will do this constantly, you will save money. If you will look for the value constantly in sports betting, you will make a profit.
So your question is probably how I analyse games and how I come to my estimations….
How I estimate odds for my baseball betting system?
Betting Model – bet numbers
We have learned that in sports betting these prices are the odds. These odds (prices) can also change during the day or during the week, even month. So you must have an idea what is the good or bad price to pay and even when.
If the price on the market on Boston Red Sox is +150 (bookmakers give Boston 40% of chance), but you estimate somehow that fair price should be +108 (you give Boston 48% of chance), you will make a profit on the long run, despite both estimation are below 50%.
If your estimation is correct (you give Boston chance of 48%):
You will win 48 out of 100 games. Record: 48-52 at the odds of +150, Profit: +20 units
Of course you have no idea if your next game will fall into that 48 L or into 52 W. But because you are constantly looking for positive expect value in betting (+EV), you can expect the profit on the long run.
And this is the first answer on the question how to bet baseball and win: You must estimate the probabilities before you bet, because probabilities represent the prices, that you pay. Either you do this in your head, which is not recommended, because many bettors try to do it and bookmakers love it or you find the way how to use information and statistics and turn them into the odds.
I use my MLB BASEBALL BETTING SYSTEM, or even better we should call it baseball betting model that I reveal and teach you in my online betting course (start with free betting course here).
I simply estimate my own probabilities and then I turn those probabilities into the odds. Then I compare my odds with the bookmakers odds.
Here is the example of my table that I create every day during MLB season:
- Projections are my estimated numbers
- Value report is the discrepancy between my estimated numbers and bookmakers numbers.
Many bettors are looking for betting systems that win 97% of times and they are all based on high risk martingale (or different variations) systems. This is why I don’t like to call it a system, but rather a betting model, because I estimate the probability of every single game and every single game is analysed with the numbers. Then I bet only those games, where I think I have enough value.
Using my PREDICTIVE MODEL I project my own odds and probabilities for every single game in the MLB season. Then I simply compare my estimated odds with the bookmakers odds. The difference between the numbers is value. My baseball betting system idea is to compare team’s offense with other team’s defense, which is a combination of starting pitcher and bullpen.
When baseball season is on, I analyse every single game. Every day I calculate win % with the right starting pitcher and the formulas in the model, that I have created for baseball. Most of my data is automated and automatically pulled from the internet.
I just type:
- The name of the team
- Pitcher and his hand
And the model outputs winning percentages and my projected odds. Then I use Kelly criterium to estimate the optimal bet size.
Some useful mlb betting strategies you can use right away
Bullpen and statistics are important!
There are many mistakes rookie mlb bettors make, but two mistakes that I would like to point out here, are very first mistakes many make, when they start betting baseball:
- They use mainstream statistics, found on ESPN, Yahoo, and other mainstream sites: One nice example is ERA, which is probably most popular statistics in baseball and most bettors will rely only on it. ERA will show you how many runs one pitcher (or a team) allows per 9 innings. The problem with ERA is that is not the best future predictor. Much better are some others like FIP, xFIP, SIERA, whip, …
- They ignore bullpen: The average pitcher will pitch around 5.5 innings per game. The game has 9 innings and most bettors simply ignore a big part of the game (approx. 38% of the game) and this is the late game, where the game will be decided.
I don’t use mainstream statistics and I pay special attention to the bullpen too, because the game is usually decided late by bullpens.
How to bet baseball and win on the long run
Winning baseball betting requires extreme discipline, expert money management, and constant analysis and research.
I can teach you how to analyze games, how to create and use betting model, but there is also one other part that we all must fight on a daily basis: Work and discipline.
Sports betting is not a passive income, like many want to show you, because every game is unique and the line movement is so dynamic now, that it is almost not possible to follow the right prices, especially if you follow someone. You must understand that sharps never follow anyone and those who lose they either make bets based on gut feeling or they constantly look for picks. With the social media, this game of following and looking for that big winner is even more dangerous. Sports betting triggers the brain’s reward system which are linked primarily to the pleasure and motivation centers and releases dopamine into the body. This makes sports bettors feel excited while they’re taking risks. The story is even more complicated when bettors win or see other people win. Potential winning and dreams about winning lead to a lot of irrational decisions, which means a loss on the long run for a bettor and a win for a bookmaker.
This is why we also must pay a lot of attention discipline, focus and strategy/money management of course. If we can not control our emotions, then we will probably not stick to the strategy that we set before the season. I did this misake in the past and I saw bettors who had a good strategy for 10 months, made profit and they they lost everything in 1 month, because they lost focus, discipline and they became overconfident.
It is very important to pay attention to this part of betting as well.
I meditate every morning, which helps me to stay focused and I don’t watch games. Watching games is basically collecting the data, but with a lot of errors, because our brains can not properly collect the data from 5 games at a time if you watch them. There are some sites, that collect statistics about games much better. Plus if we take into account the hours of baseball games, it is not possible to watch all games. There is 2430 games and it is simply not possible to watch them all. And if you don’t watch them all the “same way” then you will make an error. While other gamblers try to watch games for couple of hours per day, I try to improve my knowledge. Imagine that you invest 3 hours of time into learning about betting instead of watching games for next 6 months. It can be a huge difference. Once the game starts, you can not do anything about it. It is only a dopamine game, which can lead to addiction. Watching games is in most cases waste of time, except if you bet live and you must be there.
Money Management – professional sports betting strategy
I use proportional money management Most of my bets are 1-2% of my current bankroll (I use adjusted Kelly criterium to estimate the bet size). If the value (adjusted kelly criterium) is bigger, then the bet is slightly bigger, if the value is lower, then the unit is little bit lower.
Intuition vs Analytics in MLB betting
Statistics and analytics are more and more important in baseball betting. This is something that I always repeat and in the world of dynamic sports betting, following other people’s picks is not the smartest idea. People who look for picks and follow other handicappers never make money in sports betting – at least not on the long run. Following other people’s picks is much more expensive than learning how to bet and creating your own unique betting system that will work for you. Funny thing is that those who disagree with this statement, usually don’t make any profit in betting. The line movement and betting world has changed so drastically that you can be 10 minutes late after your handicapper send picks and you will have a losing season. If you get the odds of 1.91 (-110) instead of 2.00 (+100) it is a big difference and it can be the crucial line between losing and winning. This is why I think (I am very confident about this) , that estimating the numbers and betting on your own is very important. After all bookmakers offers are expressed with the numbers. This is what is really important.
But still, I see a lot of handicappers, that say, that they have “good info” and “experience”. Of course, this can not work in the long run. Good info is easy to find with the internet and intuition, which is basically some sort of experience that can not be measured. Because of that a lot of bettors and also some old successful bettors can no longer make a profit.
A good example for me was a 2017 baseball season when I made 738 picks. 65 picks were made by my intuition, which means, that I didn’t follow my betting system and math model, but of course I tracked it all. In the past 20 years, I made a lot of profit with some extraordinary “so-called” intuition plays, but the times are changing. At least for me. Why? Because in 2017 I made -3,185 units of loss on my intuition plays. At the same time I made 673 picks that were based on my math model and I made a profit of +4,109 units on MLB baseball picks.
How do I know which is my intuition bet and bet that was supported by my baseball betting strategy? Because I tracked all bets and I wanted to see what are my results based on my model and my intuition. This is why I mark Intuition plays as GUT PLAYS (G) and my math model plays with (M)
HERE ARE ALL MY BETS IN 2017: DOWNLOAD MY MLB BETTING RESULTS
Chart 1: All MLB bets (including Intuition bets) vs baseball betting strategy bets
Performance with different odds
In the previous chart, I showed you how important is to use analytics and that intuition bets were disastrous. On the other side, my baseball betting model and strategies have an edge and I made a profit!
So I went a little bit deeper to see what results my MLB betting model has with the different odds and I found that the best yield would be if I would play the odds between 1.80 and 2.20. But then again, I would play less games and I would make less profit. So I also wanted to see what is the odds range with the best profit and the most profit I made with the odds between 1.75 and 2.85.
Chart 2: Betting Model vs Adjusted Betting Model
Chart 3: All Bets vs Adjusted Betting Model
Flat vs Kelly Criterium
I use (adjusted) kelly criterium to estimate my bet size. In a very simple explanation, when I see a bigger value, I bet more and when the value is lower, I bet less. Or if you like, when the difference between my estimated odds and the bookmakers odds is bigger in my favor, I bet more and when the difference is smaller I bet less.
I wanted to see the MODEL performance in the difference between flat strategy, where I would ignore kelly criterium and actual betting (with Kelly Criterium).
The average bet size was 1.777 units/game, so I couldn’t use 1 unit for flat, because the profit would be lower with flat analysis, right? This is why I use 1.777 units/game for flat analysis. I also didn’t take a proportion betting strategy for this comparison.
FLAT BETTING STRATEGY (1.777 Units/game):
ACTUAL KELLY CRITERIUM BETTING STRATEGY:
As you see, both baseball betting strategies would make a profit with my system, but still, if I use kelly criterium when I estimate actual bet size has better results.
How much money would you make using this betting strategy in 2017?
I can not imagine sports betting without using analytics anymore. My MLB Betting System (betting model) is the heart of my sports betting.
Because I estimate the winning percentages for the games and then I calculate my own odds. This is the only way I see how to beat bookmakers.
But there is a big difference between some so called betting systems and my betting model strategy. Most bettors usually use martingale-based systems where they try different odds, different stakes, etc… But they don’t estimate winning percentages or spreads for games. The same is with the trends. Trends will tell you what happened in the past, but will not tell you if this will happen in the future and if you don’t include them somehow into the model, they have no predictive power. If Red Sox are 6-1 in last home games, when they played in the rain and the other team had green shoes, that doesn’t mean, that they will be 7-1 in the same situation. It is complete nonsense.
With my baseball betting strategy (model), I look at each game independently and I see one game as one event, where I estimate future probabilities for outcomes.
If you used my math model and if you stick strictly with the model, you would make a profit with a combination of progressive strategy and my adjusted Kelly Criterium you would make:
- 673 Picks
- 338 Wins
- 316 Losses
- 19 Pushes
- +3.17% of yield
If you used my math model and if you stick strictly with the model, you would make a profit with a combination of flat (not proportional)MLB betting strategy and my adjusted Kelly Criterium and if you are $100 bettor you would make:
- 673 Picks
- 338 Wins
- 316 Losses
- 19 Pushes
- +77.64 Profit
- +6.49% of yield
Despite progressive will outperform flat in the long run, if you used flat strategy with a combination of Kelly criterium for bet size, that was the best option in 2017.
I always recommend, that if you are a $100 bettor (1 unit = $100), then you must have $10,000 of starting bankroll. In this case you would make +$7,764 of profit. Or in other words, if your starting investment is $10,000 at the start of MLB season, your ROI (return on investment) at the end of the season would be +77.64%.
If you played the odds between 1.75 and 2.85, then you would make +$10,520 of profit.
Major league baseball handicapping 2018-2020
In 2018 I have improved my betting model, betting strategies and I pay more attention to closing line value. According to bookmakers this is the most important factor how they filter sharp bettors from losing bettors.
So what is a closing line in baseball betting?
Closing line is the last line (or the odds if you like) just before the game will start. It includes all the information and it represent the most efficient price on the market. If you can beat it, you have a good chance to be a winner on the long run.
- Example: You bet on Red Sox +145 and just before the game starts the odds on Boston are at +110 -> THIS IS GOOD, YOU BEAT THE LINE
- Example: You bet on Red Sox +145 and just before the game starts the odds on Boston are at +175 -> THIS IS BAD, YOU WERE BEHIND
Here is what Pinnacle, which is one of the sharpest says about the importance of closing line: “According to the efficient market hypothesis the closing odds are on average more accurate than the opening odds in predicting the probability of how a fixture will play out. One of the main concerns among successful bettors is whether their success represents a genuine edge over the bookmaker or simply a stroke of luck. By tracking your ability to beat the closing odds, you have a measurable way in your hands to differentiate between reliable strategy and blind luck. A consistent track record of beating the closing odds is, therefore, an indicator of consistent profits in the long run.”
If the yield will tell us about betting efficiency, CLV (closing line value) is a good indicator what you can expect in the future. In other words if you take some odds and if these odds drop most of the time before the game starts, you can expect positive results in the future, because you beat closing line. If the odds go against you most of the time, maybe it is a time to change something.
Tracking closing line value is something every bettor should do. I am giving you free downloadable tracker and you can use it for yourself. Once you know this information, there is no excuse not to track CLV anymore.
You can download FREE betting tracker that also tracks CLV (closing line value) here.
In 2019 I wanted to see my CLV numbers based on the value. So I wanted to see do I beat the line more often if I bet on the games with bigger +EV (positive expected value):
I saw that the bigger the ADJK value (if I am more selective), I also beat the line more times (75% of times).
baseball bets 2020
During COVID-19 I decided to be little bit more selective, because we had a strange season with some adjusted rules, without fans, with big gap between 2 seasons, no DH rule, some other new rules (extra innings),…
So, I decided to take betting selections, where the discrepancy between my estimated numbers and bookmakers numbers are little bit bigger – adjk 1.80 or bigger.
In 2020 I started to track also what would be my record if I bet on opening odds, which is possible once you have your own betting model, because anyone who follow picks is always late. And I wanted to see what would be the record if I would bet on closing odds. This is also one of the mistakes many bettors make. They wait until the last minute before the game starts and then they bet on most efficient lines, which are based on theory not possible to beat especially in sharp markets.
The difference between taken odds and closing odds is 3.22 units. The difference between opening odds and closing odds based on my betting selections is 4.90 units.
At the start of the season, I started to bet little bit earlier than usually and most of the negative xCLV (versus closing pinnacle odds without margins) came from that period. Later in the season this number was much better.
So I finished with +16.03 units
Which is pretty good.
Overall MLB betting results since I run this site:
It depends how much we bet on games. There are bettors who bet only $10 and there are bettors who constantly bet $10,000 per game. But if your base unit was $1000, +123.23 units represent the profit of $123,230 of profit since 2016.
The question is always the same: how to bet baseball and win
The question is much much bigger. Every day bettors and handicappers all around the world look for gambling advice, sports profit system, sports betting strategy, baseball betting trends, baseball tips and picks, mlb parlays, mlb picks and all kind of different quick ways to make money.
In last 20 years of betting I tried many different ways how to make money in betting, but unfortunately there is no shortcuts. Every single game must be analysed and researched and what is very important to understand, before you bet you must estimate your own probabilities. Probabilities represent the price that you are willing to pay. Without doing this, we just guess the price and this is what bookmakers love – guessing.
Because they have the edge. Every time when we bet, they take a commission (juice, vig, margins). Most bettors have no clue about what price should be paid and most gamblers just guess. It is only a matter of time, when their results will regress to mean and they start losing.
Before I started with my site, I saw this huge problem in sports betting world – to many bettors focus on picks and following (which will never work) and they simply don’t focus on the knowledge and building their own betting strategy, betting system or even a sports betting spreadsheet.
This is why I have decided to create this webpage to help bettors, who want to make a next step and start creating their own unique betting system, instead of being follower.
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
One very important thing: Underdog Chance is not picks service and I don’t sell any picks. Focusing on picks (selling, buying or even only following free picks) is bad for you and we all can write our own successful sports betting story.
If you pay for picks, you will pay from $100 up to $1000 per month for their picks. Maybe you win, maybe you lose, most bettors don’t have an edge anyway and nobody can guarantee a winning month or even a season.
When we take into account odds dropping and how hard is to follow other people’s picks on a daily basis, the only way to make money is to learn how to bet on your own. I am pretty confident about this statement.
Whatever you decide, I hope my view on baseball betting will help you somehow and check my social media @underdogchance or youtube channel to get the updates about my work, results and new betting systems, models, strategies.
But if you like my work and want to learn more:
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