In the world of sports, football is king. That’s never more evident than in sports betting, where the market switches from baseball to football in the blink of an eye.
Not only are bettors shifting their focus to the new college and NFL schedules, but oddsmakers are also spending more of their time fine tuning the football lines each weekend and less time worrying about the MLB numbers. That makes football season one of the best times to bet baseball.
“The bookmakers focus on football Sundays, getting their numbers ready for the Sunday night openers. MLB lines come out the day before the game, so it's not unusual to see some relatively soft opening lines for Monday's games when they get posted on Sunday,” says professional handicapper Teddy Covers. “The bookmakers’ attention is clearly focused elsewhere.”
And it’s not just the lack of attention that makes MLB moneylines soft come football season. Those who were scratching their betting itch with baseball all summer are no longer wagering on MLB odds, leaving the baseball board “slow and sluggish in September because of bettor indifference more than bookmaker indifference,” notes Teddy Covers.
“I don't know many bettors - in fact, I only know one guy - who focus on MLB exclusively in September, eschewing the football workload,” he says.
According to Michael Stewart, an oddsmaker for CarbonSports.ag, MLB betting sees between a 15 and 20 percent decrease once football starts in September. The action picks back up come October, once the playoffs start, but baseball is third fiddle in the fall.
As for where diligent MLB bettors can find the softest lines, Teddy Covers says poor teams putting up a fight down the stretch don’t see the immediate adjustment that they would in the middle of the summer. Most MLB odds are computer driven and a season’s worth of data, as well as a thinning MLB market, won’t suck the value out of these unexpected runs as soon.