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

Jun 8, 2011 7:48 AM

The NBA Playoffs are more than half way through and we already identified the Heat as the "under-valued" team coming into the Finals. In fact, after betting them to win the series at the start, we also took another position on them at the adjusted series price when it was tied 1-1.

Heading into Game 5, the Heat should continue to offer betting value ahead.

In the NHL Playoffs the Bruins were able to win at home in Game 3 but the Canucks lead 2-1 in the Finals. We identified Vancouver as the "over-valued" team coming into the Finals but as bettors began to fade the sweep, we saw shift.

The outcome of Game 4 will play a major factor in determining the public’s perception so we’ll wait to see what happens before labeling both teams.

That leaves us with MLB. Keep in mind when the NBA and NHL Playoffs are finished the MLB betting market will get more saturated with recreational bettors. Until then, books will continue to see mainly parlay wagers from the public and the majority of straight bets coming from sharps.

Remember that odds makers will create prices by factoring in the bias of bettors. Looking ahead to this week’s MLB betting market, these are the teams that I’ve been able to isolate and identify as being offered at a discount or having a premium placed on them.

"5" Most "Over-Valued" MLB Teams

1. CHICAGO CUBS. No team in MLB has lost more money for their backers this season. A $100 bettor is down over $1,300 and with such a huge fan base, odds makers will continue to add a premium. Cubs have the second worst run-differential in baseball. The last time bettors made money backing the Cubs was in 2008.

2. COLORADO ROCKIES. They have lost a $100 bettor over $1,200 this season. Only the Cubs have lost more. Their backers have only turned a profit one time since 2008. They continue to attract public money at the betting window. As long as that’s the case, they’ll continue to be over-priced.

3. BOSTON RED SOX. As long as oddsmakers continue to add a premium, it’ll be tough for bettors to profit backing them. A $100 bettor is still down over a nickel backing Boston on the money-line. With all that preseason hype and a huge fan base, they continue to remain in our Top 5 this year.

4. CINCINNATI REDS. They came into 2011 off back-to-back profitable seasons. Even though they have a winning record and a +15 run-differential, their backers are down almost a nickel this season.

5. LA ANGELS. No team won more money for their backers than the Angels did in 2008 and 2009...But it appears the market has caught up. This is a .500 team at best. As long as oddsmakers add a premium, I don’t expect bettors to be able to make much money backing them.

"5" Most "Under-Valued" MLB Teams

1. ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS. The most profitable team in the NL and second in the majors. A $100 bettor is up almost a dime backing them and with a +16 run-differential the D’backs should continue to turn a profit. Arizona should continue to challenge for the top spot.

2. MILWAUKEE BREWERS. Very quietly they’ve climbed to only 1½ games back in the NL Central and have a +23 run-differential. They were the sexy pick to win the World Series coming in but after a slow start, most lost confidence and the market under-valued them. A $100 bettor is up $700 this season. Should stay under the radar.

3. SEATTLE MARINERS. Now only 2½ games behind the Rangers in the AL West but remain an after-thought in MLB, No team lost more money for their backers in 2010 so it’s not surprising that odds makers would offer them up at a huge discount. They have a positive run-differential and bettors should be able to turn a profit backing them.

4. SF GIANTS. It’s usually unheard of to have a World Series winner showing a profit the following season when only eight games above .500. I expect it will take a lot to change the perception of bettors and that should force odds makers to continue to offer them at a discount.

5. PITTSBURGH PIRATES. Even at two games below .500 they’ve made a $100 bettor over a nickel of profit. Another team that will not be able to change the perception of bettors, who have been conditioned to fade them for so many years. If the Pirates continue to stay around .500, the profit should be significant.

(Vegas-Runner is a Pro Bettor and Handicapper in Las Vegas. Featured on CNBC and ESPN. Follow VR on Twitter @Vegasrunner and at