The public likes to side with the favorite, but more often than not, value lies in the underdog.
It can be especially true when handicapping baseball. The extremely long season and countless games without a day off lead to a lot of winning and losing streaks, crucial to track. But years of research have shown that simply picking every high-flying favorite will lead to a bigger loss at the end of the season than if you were to bet every ‘dog.
While gamblers are likely to end up spinning their wheels by betting every ‘dog, there are numerous underdog betting systems that can lead to nice profits. Here’s a look at 4 baseball betting systems for underdogs that I have found to work.
One thing to keep in mind when choosing ‘dogs is you are less likely to end up with an overall winning record. This is what makes picking the plus-line so popular among baseball bettors. For example, if you bet on 50 ‘dogs with an average money line of (+130), you would have to go just 22-28 (44%) to show a profit.
Chances are with our underdog systems you are more likely to hit 50% of your bets. A $1000 better who went 25-25 on clubs whose lines averaged out at (+130) would be up $7,500! That is just a 50-game sample size, so just imagine how you could clean up over the course of a full season.
Our low-scoring pick system relies heavily on ‘dogs who just won in a previous day’s outing. Teams who are coming off a win tend to play with more confidence, and there are some handicappers out there who will only bet on a team if they won the previous day.
The key is to not simply pick underdogs who won their previous games, but to locate those who prevailed in their previous game as an underdog by scoring 3 runs or less. Clubs which can succeed as an underdog without a strong offensive performance show they don’t need to score a lot of runs to win games. Teams that fall into this situation are normally strong on defense and have a solid bullpen, which is exactly what you are looking for.
Since 2004 my system is 556-667, which doesn’t sound that great, however, with an average line of (+138.9) wagering on every club in this situation would have resulted in a return on investment (ROI) of +7.6%. This means if you’d have wagered $100 on each ballgame over that time period you would be up $9,258.
With this system, you are looking for teams who won in their previous game and are facing a team within their division. Because teams play so many more games against teams in their division, there is a greater chance that the ‘dog will win the game than if they were playing a club outside of their division.
More times than not the team with the better starting pitcher on paper will be the team favored. The reason that you go against these pitchers is the fact that they have likely faced a given team within their division numerous times, and the more opposing players face a pitcher the more likely the hitters will eventually succeed.
There are a ton of games that fall under this umbrella each year. In fact, since 2004 the record for this system is a whopping 2114-2635 for an ROI of +3.3%. Because there are so many opportunities, putting $100 on each game (with average odds of +135.4) in this situation would have earned you an impressive $15,807.
A few of Tony Stoffo’s underdog betting tips from Vegas Insider:
1) The first thing you want to do is pull up the odds for a given day and eliminate any games in which a team is listed at above (+150). More often when a team is listed at (+150) or higher to win a game, there is a pretty good chance the favorite is going to prevail in the game. By eliminating this option, you will save yourself money by avoiding the temptation of gambling on huge ‘dogs.
2) Next, eliminate any underdogs who have lost 3 or more games in a row heading into the game, or any underdog who is facing a favorite which has a winning streak of 3 or more in a row. This allows you to avoid getting caught up on a ‘dog who isn’t playing very well or going up against a favorite who is red hot.
3) Finally, eliminate any team that is facing one of the top 20 pitchers. The top pitchers in the game will prevail more times than not, and avoiding going up against these aces is a smart play. While many websites will rank pitchers, the one that has been of the most value for this system is Jeff Sagarin’s Ratings of USA today.
4) Place your bets on the clubs remaining. You want to place the same wager on each bet. Tony suggests placing between 1.25 – 2.50% of your bankroll on each play.