Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Yankees Manager Aaron Boone.
- MLB favorites have excelled in the first game following the All-Star Break. In fact, there's no other day in the year that they're a better bet.
- Using The Action Network's betting tools, we look at just how good they've performed compared to other situations, as well as other things to look for when deciding on which teams to bet.
This season, favorites have been cashing at a historically high rate. For dog-lovers like myself, it’s been tough finding profitable spots with all of the crappy teams out there.
And for those of you expecting dogs to turn things around in the second half of the season, well … let’s just say that you may want to take a day off from betting on Friday — Christmas Day for chalk bettors.
Just like NFL favorites after a bye, MLB favorites have excelled when given extra rest. There’s not another day on the calendar when blindly betting on favorites is so profitable than the day after the break, per Bet Labs:
- 137-72 (65.6%), +27.8 units, +13.3% ROI
Winning nearly two-thirds of the time, the extended rest has clearly been kind to favorites. If you’re wondering, favorites have won at a 57.4% rate in all other games.
As I’ve speculated in years past, I believe this is largely thanks to rested bullpens. In fact, favorites in the first five innings have won at a much more normal 58.5% rate and have barely yielded a profit.
Generally speaking, the better team is going to have the better bullpen. When that better team can choose from any of its arms, that’s going to give it a big edge.
Other contributing factors could include how players on teams in contention spend their All-Star breaks compared to those on losing teams, as well as their mindsets entering the second half of the year. It’s going to be tougher for players on the Royals or Marlins to get back to work than it will be for the Astros or Dodgers.
Like I mentioned at the top of the article, favorites are already crushing this season (59.4%), which could lead to an extra strong second-half performance.
Taking these favorites -1.5 on the runline has resulted in very similar profits historically. However, someone like myself who does not typically like to play large moneyline favorites may be inclined to play the larger favorites on the runline to avoid laying hefty juice.
History suggests you’d be better off doing the exact opposite, though:
- Favorites up to -149: Moneyline 85-53 (+16.9 units, +12.3% ROI), Runline: 65-73 (+22.4 units, +16.3% ROI)
- Favorites of at least -150: Moneyline 52-19 (+10.8 units, 15.2% ROI), Runline: 34-36 (+3.5 units, +4.9% ROI)
There’s not too much difference in terms of ROI when it comes to playing the moneylines, but runline favorites have been much more profitable for smaller favorites.
I’m guessing most of you aren’t going to read this article and bet on 10-15 favorites. Some high-volume bettors may not mind tossing down a dozen or two units in a day, but if you’re used to making a few plays a night at the very most, you may end up struggling to choose which favorites to play.
Since the main system itself is so basic, you can toss on another filter or two to find situations in which favorites have done even better.