MLB Betting Tip: How to Play Monday’s Orioles vs. Yankees Doubleheader

MLB Betting Tip: How to Play Monday’s Orioles vs. Yankees Doubleheader article feature image

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge

  • The New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles are playing a doubleheader on Monday.
  • Using Bet Labs we analyze how teams that lose the first game have performed in the second matchup of a doubleheader.

On Monday, the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles are going to play a doubleheader (1:05 p.m. ET and 7:05 p.m. ET). A popular theory among baseball bettors is that the losing team in the first game of a doubleheader is undervalued in the second game.

The idea is that the losing squad will have extra motivation while the club that won may be primed to underperform in Game 2.

Other factors could contribute to the Game 1 loser being undervalued. The team that won the first matchup may not have a full bullpen. Managers have to be careful with player fatigue and will be more apt to hold their star players out of the starting lineup if they have already posted a win.

On paper this strategy makes sense, but does the data support the theory? To find out, we used the Bet Labs database to see if bettors can count on the Game 1 loser bouncing back in a doubleheader.

In the past three seasons, teams that lost the first game of a doubleheader have gone 49-36 (57.6%) straight up (SU) in the second game, returning a profit of $941 for a $100 bettor. Theory approved, right? Don’t be so quick to start following this strategy.

From 2005 to 2016, Game 1 losers did not bounce back as strongly as these teams went 134-150 (47.2%) SU. A $100 bettor following this system would have lost $1,920. The results have been inconsistent over the years, which makes this theory difficult to trust.

While blindly betting the Game 1 loser is not wise, a simpler approach to wagering on a doubleheader is to bet the favorite in Game 2. Oddsmakers are good at their job and will set a line that accounts for starting pitching, lineups and bullpen usage.

If a team is expected to win the second game it is because of a clear advantage in the matchup. The data shows that the chalk has been a profitable play in Game 2 since 2005:

The optimal situation is to bet road favorites. Home teams are usually favored. In our database the team with home-field advantage has been the chalk in 67.5% of games. For a team to be a road favorite it must have a clear edge in the contest.

Since 2005, the road favorite in Game 2 of a doubleheader has gone 82-47 (63.6%). A $100 bettor has returned a profit of $1,587 for a 12.3% return on investment.

When handicapping a doubleheader don’t expect the Game 1 loser to bounce back. Instead, lean toward the chalk as the favorite has historically been undervalued.

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