It’s common during baseball season to find teams on
winning streaks that can last for several games. Even though the current season
has just started, we’ve already seen streaks (at press time) that include
Detroit losing 10 straight, Milwaukee (seven straight losses), Cardinals (five
straight wins), Cleveland (10 straight wins), and Seattle (seven straight wins).
These early streaks lead to what could be lucrative trends
in baseball and baseball betting: you can hit a lot of winners by riding these
winning (or losing) streaks, according to sports handicapper Jim Feist.
“Actually, baseball is, by nature, a game of streaks,”
Feist said. “Therefore, the books can get hurt by a run of form, or the lack
Feist said streaks raise two schools of thought. The first
is to bet that the streaking team will continue to streak. The second ”” ÂÃ‚Âdefinitely
a less favorable attraction among most bettors ”” is to go with
“percentages” or the “due factor” to end the streak. Feist leans toward
“Streaks build on momentum,” he said. “The hotter a
team gets, the more likely it is to win its next game. The colder it gets, the
more likely it is to lose its next game.”
Yet, the dichotomy can
lead to a tough situation. As a team gets hotter, it becomes both more due to
lose and less likely to lose at the same time. Winning ÂÃ‚Âcarries its own
emotional fuel, but there is no such thing as an undefeated baseball season; 60%
win rates are considered pretty high.
For example, a team on a
six- or seven-game winning streak is certainly overdue to lose a game. Yet it
probably has a better chance to win its next game than any other team in
baseball, Feist said.
Likewise, a team that
has lost eight of its last 10 games, though overdue to win, is seldom regarded
as a good bet.
A good many streaks end
relatively early, before a lot of momentum has been built up and before they are
even due to end. Winning and losing periods reaching the likes of 3-of-3,
5-of-7, and 8-of-11 have not stretched long enough to establish a strong due
factor in the ÂÃ‚Âopposite direction.
So, when does the
momentum become stronger than the team’s due factor to lose? For an unbeaten
streak, a team should be 5-0 or better, Feist said. For a team with three
losses, figure on 11-3 or better.
If a so-called “law of
streaks” exists, it seems to be strongest when attributed to a
consecutive-game winning streak. The bottom line is that you only lose once when
betting on a winning streak, but some factors suggest how long to keep riding
the bandwagon, especially if the prices are high, Feist said.
If a team on a winning
streak is close to or even a bit above its expected win rate, one can assume
there is still room for additional upward movement and that the team will
continue to win fairly regularly for a while. But if the pronounced win streak
has sent a team soaring way above its true levels, it might be best to stay away
from most of its games until the streak ends.
If a team on a losing
streak is still well over its head, you may continue to figure on more losses.
It’s probably best to concentrate on going with the winners rather than
against the losers, look at how much you could have won riding against the
The key is knowing your teams and, after the season starts, to put a number on each team: a .500 club, a slightly-better-than .500 team, a .400 team, etc. Then it will be rather clear, and profitable, when teams may be playing on their level, too far above it, or too far ÂÃ‚Âbelow, and you will better be able to jump on a streak early rather than late.