White Sox vs. Astros Odds: The Smart Way to Bet Big MLB Underdogs

May 21, 2019 11:48 AM EDT
Credit:

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Justin Verlander.

  • Justin Verlander and the Astros are massive betting favorites against the White Sox tonight (8:10 p.m. ET).
  • Using The Action Network's betting tools, we looked at how favorites of -300 or higher have fared historically.

Tonight, the Astros host the White Sox and are hoping to keep their one-game winning streak alive after the Red Sox foiled a lengthy 10-gamer on Sunday.

On Monday, the Brad Peacock and the ‘Stros closed as healthy -230 favorites. Tonight, the mighty Justin Verlander takes the hill. Last go-round, Verlander closed as a -362 favorite on the road against the Tigers in a 5-1 winning effort.

After opening at -333 for this evening’s soiree, Houston is up to -348. It is commanding just shy of 80% of moneyline bets and slightly more than 80% of the money.

How do gigantic moneyline favorites in baseball fare, pray tell?

We’ve tracked more than 200 favorites of -300 or higher in our Bet Labs database with Clayton Kershaw’s Dodgers taking the record at -485 in a game against the Braves in 2016. These beefy favorites have obviously done well — 153-54 (73.9%) — but not well enough.

If you love betting huge favorites because they’re “locks,” you may be troubled to see that if you had risked $100 on every one of these teams, you’d be down $729. Considering you’d be making back small fractions of a unit for each win, you would need them to cash at a rate higher than 73.9%.

Even if all of the teams were exactly -300, you would need them to win 75% of the time just to break even.

While teams like this may look enticing because they’ll probably win, they are not a recipe for success.

What about the runline? Since teams in this spot have an average margin of +2.46, perhaps taking them on the runline will help alleviate some of that hefty juice you’d have to pay on the moneyline.

Welp, our evidence shows that doing that rather than taking them on the moneyline is actually a terrible idea.