- Since the bottom of the ninth isn’t played when a home team is ahead, it would make sense that less runs should be scored in those games.
- When the home team is a big favorite, it becomes increasingly likely that they’ll be ahead late in the game.
- Saturday’s slate features two potential unders that could have value based on that theory.
Saturday’s MLB slate features a couple pretty, pretty big moneylines. The Nationals (-360) and Astros (-350) are the fourth and fifth biggest favorites on the season so far.
While there’s no question that a -300 home favorite is more likely to win the game, betting on such teams has not been a winning strategy for bettors (it’s actually been the underdog that has been profitable in these situations).
There is, however, a way to take advantage of their high win rate, and it comes by way of the total.
Since I am a baseball expert I know that when a home team is winning at the end of a game, the bottom of the ninth is not played. So as home teams are more heavily favored, it becomes increasingly likely that the game will see 17 half-innings instead of 18. On top of that, the lost half inning will always be taken away from the much stronger team — the one more likely to be scoring runs.
To test the theory, I put together a Bet Labs system with the following criteria:
- Home team’s moneyline was -300 or higher
- Closing total was 8 or less (low totals tend to attract more ‘over’ bettors)
- Total did not rise from opening number (to filter out games with sharp action on the over)
The results: Unders have gone 42-18-1 for +22.26 units and a 36.5% ROI since 2005 (5-2 this season).
As long as both these totals stay put (or fall), I’ll be on both unders today.