Top 5 MLB ‘Over-Valued’ ‘Under-Valued’ Teams in betting market

Jun 15, 2011 6:45 AM

With the NBA season over and one game away from crowing an NHL Stanley Cup champion, it signals an increase in recreational bettors for baseball.

Even though betting volume decreases over the summer until football rolls around, the oddsmakers always adjust.

The best way to protect clients, which are the bookmakers, is to factor the bias of bettors into the price.

Shading the lines reflect that bias. The downside to this practice is that the market will ultimately offer more value for sharper bettors. When unsophisticated bettors’ money outweighs sharp bettors, the tradeoff becomes well worth it for books.

Until now, MLB betting was much more efficient because the market was saturated with sharp bettors. That forces oddsmakers to place less weight on factors like "perception" and instead focus on true intrinsic value in an attempt to limit exposure brought on by wiseguys.

With the only source of action MLB, the marketplace is comprised of a much more diverse clientele. Oddsmakers will begin to factor in biases like "Faves and Overs," knowing they reflect the wagers recreational bettors prefer. They’ll also put more weight on "perception" since those kind of bettors aren’t strictly information and data driven.

Now for this week’s "Value Top 10"

Top 5 Over-Valued To Bet

BOSTON BRUINS: The team that began the Stanley Cup Finals under-valued goes into Game 7 with a premium attached. The Bruins are a much smaller dog for the Game 7 than for the entire series even though it’s being played on the road. The lop-sided scoring in their wins as compared to their 1-goal losses has fans and bettors convinced Boston is superior. Oddsmakers factor that "perception" into the price.

COLORADO ROCKIES: No MLB team has cost their backers more this season. A $100 bettor is down over $1,500. The Rockies are 5-5 in the last 10 games but the average lay price was almost -135 or a win probability of 57.5 percent to break even. It’s obvious they’re being sent out over-priced especially at home where they are three games below .500.

LA ANGELS: They’re 3-7 over their L10, but only four games below .500. It appears the perception they created when neck and neck with Texas earlier this season hasn’t changed much because bookmakers continue to receive money daily on the Angels. With a -13 run differential and five games below .500 at home, this is a costly team to back when favored.

NY YANKEES: Bookmakers can expect to receive even more one-sided money on the Yanks now. Even at eight games above .500 and a .562 win percentage their backers are down on the season. Since the best teams in MLB end up with a final win percentage right around .600, oddsmakers know how to price these "public" teams. The only way to make money backing the Yanks is to really be selective.

FLORIDA MARLINS: It didn’t take long for bettors to make the Marlins the "sexy" pick and force oddsmakers to attach a premium after offering them at a discount earlier in the season. The Marlins are in a downward swing having lost nine of 10. With the highest negative run differential in the NL East at -16 and a 15-22 home record, you don’t want to back Florida when favored.

Top 5 Under-Valued To Bet

VANCOUVER CANUCKS: More than a 2-1 favorite to win the Stanley Cup Finals at the start, the Canucks stock has dropped dramatically. The perception has changed and that makes them the discounted team even as -150 faves at home in Game 7. In any market an investor should look to buy quality offered at its lowest price and sell when at highest. Vancouver’s price is at its lowest.

ARIZONA D’BACKS: No team in MLB has rewarded their backers as much – producing a profit of over a dime for a $100 bettor. Even after an amazing win streak, bettors just don’t trust the D’backs yet. I don’t know why. They have a +23 run differential which is highest in their division and are 20-13 at home. If you can get Arizona as a dog on the road and a small favorite or better at home, you’re getting the best of it.

PITTSBURGH PIRATES: I stated before that if this team can hover around .500 they’d be a huge money maker. Only the DBacks have produced more profit in the entire NL. Bettors have gotten accustomed to fading this team in years past so oddsmakers will continue to offer them up at a discount. At the prices being offered, they can stay the course to remain profitable.

SEATTLE MARINERS: The lack of attention has made the M’s an after-thought for bettors even though no other team in the AL West or East has produced more profit. Seattle has cost supporters a ton in past seasons and provided profit for its faders. That’s the main reason the market will not catch up for a while, if at all.

SF GIANTS: The Brewers came close to being in the five slot, but the Giants have a much better road. It’s extremely rare to have a defending champion in any sport under-valued, but the numbers support it. SF is currently first in the NL West but has been priced low enough to be the third most profitable team in the NL. Few give them credit for that Cinderella performance in 2010 and the market is slow to react to how good this team is.

Thanks again for all your support and best of luck ahead.

Vegas-Runner is a pro bettor and handicapper in Las Vegas featured on CNBC and ESPN. Follow VR on Twitter (@Vegasrunner) and at