Beware big baseball favorites in August and September
August is looming on the calendar which means MLB clubs in the playoff hunt are giving their all and teams outside the October picture are planning their offseason vacations.
That disparity in motivation can lead to some of the bigger odds baseball bettors will deal with all season.
When a public team like the New York Yankees hosts a lost cause like the Minnesota Twins in August or September, it’s not surprising to see moneylines as big as -250 and sometimes even -300. But despite the massive price tag, these chalky favorites are anything but a sure thing.
Over the past five seasons (2011-2007) favorites priced -200 to -249 are just 261-129 (67 percent) in the months of August and September.
In that same span, moneyline favorites between -250 and -299 are 65-25 (72 percent) in August and September. They went 11-4 in 2011 – their best record since going 11-2 in 2007 – but still would have left you at least -5.6 units in the hole.
And the kicker: MLB favorites of -300 or above are a bankroll-busting 15-8 (65 percent) in August and September, meaning the very most you could win betting each of those 15 victories was five units. But that would quickly get washed away by the -24 units – at the very least - walking out the door on those eight losses.
Last year, baseball bettors only had one team tagged with a -300-plus moneyline in the final two months of the schedule. The Philadelphia Phillies were -310 favorites with Cliff Lee on the mound versus the Miami – then Florida – Marlins on September 15. The Phillies squeaked out a 2-1 win in extra innings on Ryan Howard’s RBI double in the 10th, giving any one nuts enough to lay the hefty chalk on Philly an aneurysm.
On the flip side of it, the Marlins were tempting +287 road underdogs at Citizens Bank Park for that game. While they didn’t win, they did provide some solid value on Sept. 15 – value that should be easy to spot as the MLB season rolls into its final two months.
Keeping a close eye on underdogs playing out the schedule and ones giving up on the year is key to cashing in on those plus-money odds.