It’s all baseball until football takes center stage. This means that recreational bettors looking for action will be forced to get involved in MLB throughout the summer months.
Odds makers are well aware of this yearly phenomenon and will look to help their clients. The sports books gain an edge by shading the lines to reflect the biases of the market.
When the market is saturated with sharp bettors the odds makers will tend to send out "true lines." A true line is meant to split the result over time. Since bettors are forced to lay a vig, this gives books the best chance to profit while limiting their exposure.
When the market is saturated with recreational or public bettors the odds makers will instead aim to send out a "fair line." A fair line is meant to split the action which will once again limit the book’s exposure while profiting from the vig.
Obviously it’s close to impossible to split the betting action right down the middle on every game so the vig also helps compensate for errors. With that said, by shading the lines to reflect the biases of the market, oddsmakers help books increase their hold so that it’s more than just the built-in edge.
Oddsmakers understand that the MLB betting market will see an influx of unsophisticated bettors when compared to those months when other sports received the bulk of the action. So they will look to factor in the biases of those bettors to help increase the bookmakers edge.
Ultimately this results in more value for sharp bettors. But when the action of public money outweighs that of wise guy money, it becomes a trade-off they’re willing to take. So it’s even more important than ever for handicappers and bettors to go into each day and week, with a list of teams that are over and under valued.
Below is my version for the week ahead.
Top "5" Over-Valued
1. CINCINNATI REDS
Only 2½ games out of first in the NL Central. Above .500, but a $100 bettor is down backing them. Unless they win at a much higher rate, bettors won’t be able to make any money. Turned a profit in back-to-back seasons so it’s not surprising to see them over-priced this year. Attracting public money nightly.
2. CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Expected to contend for the division, now 5½ games out of first in AL Central. Have a negative run-differential and a $100 bettor’s down over a nickel. Receiving plenty of support at the betting window, 5-5 in last 10 games but have been favored in eight.
3. SAN DIEGO PADRES
Now nine games out of first in NL West after losing nine of their L11 games. Have a -38 run differential and have won only 35 percent of home games. The listed favorite in eight of L12 home games, $100 bettors down over a dime backing them.
4. TEXAS RANGERS
After coming out of the gate winning 7 of 10 games on average, are now only four games above .500. First in the AL West but not turning a profit for backers. With a big premium added it’s tough to make any money backing this team. Were favored in eight of last 10 games even with nine of them on the road. They’ll have to win at a higher rate than current 52.7 percent for bettors to profit.
5. ST LOUIS CARDINALS
They’re seven games above .500, winning close to 55 percent of their games overall. Yet to show a profit for their supporters at the betting window. They’re only .500 on the road so bettors shouldn’t be in any rush to back them as favorites there. A long-term losing proposition.
Top "5" Under-Valued
1. WASHINGTON NATIONALS
As long as they hover around .500 should continue to show a profit. Currently one game below .500 but a $100 bettor is up over a nickel backing them. Showing a positive run-differential. Continue to be offered at a discount, as home dogs, definitely positive estimated value.
2. MINNESOTA TWINS
Yes, Twins are now under-valued after horrific start to the season. Perception created early on means oddsmakers are forced to send them out at a huge discount as bettors look to fade them nightly. Won 10 of 11 and at seven below .500, a $100 bettor is now down only $2 backing them.
3. PITTSBURGH PIRATES
We’ll keep them in the Top 5 because perception hasn’t changed and they continue to offer value. Only two teams in the entire NL have made their backers more money. They are 5-5 in last 10 so will continue to be discounted.
4. ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Still the most profitable team for bettors in the NL. Going back and forth with the Giants for first place in the West.Have a +13 run differential and bettors in no rush to back them, especially on the road. At .500 away from home are offered at a discount on the road, a lot of value as dogs.
5. SEATTLE MARINERS
Only two games out of first in the AL West and second most profitable team in the league. Books report receiving more action against them so we’ll continue to see them discounted by oddsmakers. They are 6-6 in last 12 games and were the listed dog in over half.
(By-Line : Vegas-Runner is a Pro Bettor in Las Vegas..Featured on CNBC and ESPN..Follow VR on Twitter (@Vegasrunner) and at Pregame.com)