Friday, 5 April 2019

MLB Favourites and Opening Day Results

With the new baseball season comes opportunity, and unfortunately quite often misleading or outdated information.

One such statement on Sunday night was regarding favourites in baseball (MLB).

I don’t think I’ve found value on a -300 MLB line ever and if I have, it’s so infrequent that it feels like never.
While such statements are good for the sharper investor, they are also easily proven to be false.

Readers of this blog will be aware that around 2012, the markets changed. After years of the underdog being the value play, i.e the public were overrating the favourite, this all changed. 

This is the fate of backing regular season favourites at 1.5 or shorter (-200 in US odds) since 2007:
1.5 is an arbitrary entry point of course, but it's a round number and easy to remember. 

Here are the Money Line numbers for our friend's -300 entry point, 1.33 in EU pricing. 

I actually use this line as an entry point myself, and enjoy parlaying the bets since, not surprisingly, at these odds long winning streaks are to be found (see below):

Early days yet, but the current season hasn't been kind to favourite backers so far, nor for that matter to the T-Bone system.

There's a method on baseball's MLB Opening Day which is to back certain favourites - specifically those who won fewer games the previous season than their opponents. 

With all the changes that take place during the off-season, you might think that the early weeks of a season might have a few surprises in store, but this doesn't seem to be the case. 

Unlike a sport such as football, where the game flows, and the style of play and formations make new teams something of an unknown, baseball is a series of plays, all from a set starting position, e.g. two down, top of the seventh, no outs, runner on first etc, and the probabilities of a win / loss from any position is well known after 150 years of data. It appears that on Opening Day, the market gets the favourite right, but doesn't quite have the confidence in it, that it should. 

Although these once a year systems are of limited value, and of limited sample sizes also, here are the results of this strategy over the years:

For those of you with 2020 vision, take note.  

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