Baseball Betting Strategy

MLB Betting Strategy - Taking the Underdog


In most professional sports, bookmakers are able to do a really good job of balancing out action on both sides of the line. However, baseball presents a little tougher challenge because the game breeds more parity. To show an example of this, let's compare three major North American sports in football, basketball and baseball.

Football - The NFL's best team(s) normally finishes with a 15-1 or 14-2 record. The worst team often finishes around 2-14 or 3-13. In such a short season, this makes for a 12-game disparity.

Basketball - The top NBA team usually wins at least 60 games in an 82-game season. The league's worst club often wins just 20 contests or less, making for about a 40-game difference.

Baseball - Major League Baseball's best team normally wins around 100 games. The least successful club usually finishes with around 60 wins or so, which is a difference of 40 games.


Based on the schedule size and disparity between the best and worst teams, baseball gives underdogs a better chance to win. Going further, those who are into MLB betting can definitely find a good strategy by continually looking for value in underdogs.

Of course, you can't simply wager on underdogs every time and expect to come out ahead in the long run. The following seven-year study shows that much:

Underdogs: 6,917 wins/9,644 losses = -153 betting units
Favorites: 9,619 wins/6,891 losses = -641 betting units

Despite favorites winning 58.26% of the games during this seven-year stretch, underdogs proved to be the superior bet. But as we just alluded to, you've got to pick quality underdogs in order to be a profitable bettor. That said, here are some points to keep in mind when wagering on underdogs.

Tips for finding Quality MLB Underdogs

Tip #1: Look for Games where there's a Big Underdog - Like we stated before, parity is a big theme in Major League Baseball. Taking this into account, even major underdogs can offer good value in the right situations. Just about any time you see a team that carries a moneyline of +150 or higher, it's a matchup worth examining. The value you stand to get by winning such a bet may be better than how much of an underdog the team is.

toronto-blue-jaysTip #2: Seek Underdogs with Good Starting Pitching - This might seem like the most obvious piece of advice, but it's still worth mentioning. After all, bookmakers create lines that will convince the public to equally bet on both sides of the line - not what they think will actually happen. And since the public is fascinated with favorites - even when they're facing an ace pitcher - it can present a solid underdog wager.

Tip #3: Focus on Divisional Games - If you're going to bet on underdogs, it's a great idea to look for divisional games. According to a study cited by's Allen Moody, divisional underdogs won 3,414 games and lost 4,513 games, yet earned a total profit of 191 units. Contrast this to non-divisional underdogs, which went 4,401-6,434 and lost 341 betting units.

Tip #4: Watch for Underdogs coming off Shutout Losses - Continuing with Moody's cited study, another time when non-favored teams excel is if they're coming off of shutout losses. The reasoning behind this is simple because oddsmakers are more likely to give favorites a little more backing when they're facing a struggling team. Plus it seems likely that the underdog would come out more focused after failing to score a run the game before.

Tip #5: Don't count out Teams with Good Bullpens - When it comes to how the public views matchups, starting pitching is always the main focus. However, bettors should look just as closely at bullpens because relief pitchers go a long way towards deciding how a game turns out. And if you're looking at an underdog with a solid bullpen, they may not be such an underdog after all.

Of course, in addition to all of the points we've already mentioned, it also pays to look at stats, past performances and each matchup's recent history. Assuming you put all of this work in, you have strong chance to make money with MLB underdog betting.