Top 5 MLB, NBA and NHL ‘Over-Valued’ ‘Under-Valued’ Teams in the betting market

May 25, 2011 12:48 PM

It’s time to unveil this week’s version of VR’s Value Top 10 List. This list is comprised of teams I believe will be over and under valued in the coming week for the NBA, MLB, and NHL betting markets.

Keep in mind I am not simply advocating a bet on all of the under-valued teams in each game they play, nor am I urging that the over-valued teams are a fade in each of theirs. Instead, I am confident in the week ahead the betting market will be charging a premium for those over-valued teams and a discount for the under-valued ones.

By identifying these teams and the category they currently fall under, handicappers and sports bettors can determine where they’ll need more or less support and information to take a position on them.

When we are certain a "bias" will be placed based on perception more than true intrinsic value, we can be much more confident we are truly getting value on our wagers. And when you can identify value and take a position that offers you the best of it, you can overcome the vig and actually have the advantage.

Now let’s move along to this week’s contenders and pretenders because we’ll be covering all three betting markets currently attracting the most action and attention.


Top 5 MLB, NBA and NHL "Over-Valued" Teams in the sports betting market

1. MIAMI HEAT: Once again the most over-valued team in the current betting market, especially after covering four of five and back-to-back games against the Bulls. Star players have made Miami a "public-team" all season and during the playoffs when public money outweighs wiseguy money, the books get hurt when they cover spreads. Not only will a premium be charged the rest of the way against the Bulls, but if they advance and meet the Mavs an even bigger premium will be attached.

2. VANCOUVER CANUCKS: The best team in the West all season has made it look easy in the Conference Finals. They continue to turn a profit, winning seven of 10, and will get past San Jose most likely tonight. But in the NEXT round oddsmakers will try to get some of that money back by pricing them much higher than their true win probability reflects.

3. LA DODGERS: I continue to add the Dodgers to this list on a weekly basis and they continue to make money for bettors who fade them. But for some reason or other, maybe it’s because recreational bettors have grown accustomed to seeing them be contenders, the books I’ve spoken with claim to keep getting action on them. This team has a -43 run differential, second worst in the NL and third worst in MLB. A $100 bettor is down almost a DIME backing them on the ML but as long as the public keeps adding them to parlays and betting them, the oddsmakers will continue charging a premium.

4. CHICAGO CUBS: Another club with a huge fan base that is as loyal as they come and will continue to bet them. That loyalty has cost a $100 bettor almost a nickel already, and with a -36 run differential, I think it only gets worse. They haven’t turned a profit for bettors since the 2008 season, coming into 2011 off back-to-back campaigns where a $100 bettor lost over $1,500 on them. But oddsmakers know they’ll always attract money so a premium will always be attached.

5. BOSTON REDSOX: They’ve won eight of 10 and sit only a half game out of first place in the AL East after such a dismal start this season. But that "turn around" still isn’t enough to make them a profitable play and a $100 bettor is still down over $700 as oddsmakers continue to place a huge premium on them nightly. Over their last eight games the average lay price was almost -170, which translates to a 63% win rate to BREAK EVEN. With even the best teams in MLB barely winning 60% of their games overall, oddsmakers will continue to protect the books by making it so bettors can’t turn a long-term profit on some teams. This is one of them.


Top 5 MLB, NBA and NHL "Under-Valued" Teams in the sports betting market

1. CHICAGO BULLS: Let’s keep them here because the team that beat the Heat in all three games during the regular season and then in Game 1 of this series, is getting no respect at all now that they’ve fallen behind 2-1 in the Conference Finals. Most in the media have written them off and the perception is it’s now just a matter of time. That perception will be reflected in the price oddsmakers offer the rest of the way and we’ll continue to see the Bulls offered at a discount. Whether they are able to come back is another question all together, but as a bettor my main concern is covering spreads, not necessarily winning games.

2. BOSTON BRUINS: Books claim the underdog Lightening have been getting more support at the betting window in this series overall. With the Canucks almost a lock to be playing the winner in the Stanley Cup Finals, I don’t see Boston getting much action the rest of the way. I do believe Boston will advance and my adjusted series price bet placed before Game 5 reflects that, but even if they close it out in Tampa, I don’t see perception changing much. If Tampa can tie up the series 3-3 and force a Game 7, the Bruins will be offered at an even bigger discount if they get it done.

3. TORONTO BLUE JAYS: They made this list last week and have won seven of 10 to close within 1½ games in the AL East. More important, they have a +15 run differential and are only .500 at home this season. That win percentage will improve and as it does this team will continue to challenge for the division. With teams like the Yanks, Rays, and Red Sox also trying to do the same, the Jays will remain an afterthought and continue making money for their backers.

4. WASHINGTON NATIONALS: The reason a team that’s only won three of their last 10 games has made the list is because even with that run, they’re still showing a profit for their backers on the season. That supports my notion oddsmakers continue to offer them up at a discount and a profit can be made even if they don’t win more games than they lose. With "spread" sports the LINE becomes the great equalizer and with "money-line" sports it’s PRICE that does the same. And the price on the Nats will continue to offer value.

5. PITTSBURGH PIRATES: Another team that WON’T have to win more games than they lose to make bettors money in the long-run. That’s because oddsmakers will continue to discount them and the "take-back" will continue to offer value. Let’s face it, how many bettors wake up each day looking for reasons to bet the Pirates after witnessing them struggle for so many years. As long as markets continue to take a while to adjust to what’s currently happening, teams like the Pirates will keep offering profitable positions.

Thanks again for all your support, and best of luck betting in the week ahead. Vegas-Runner