MLB Betting Tip: Target Favorites Day After All-Star Break

MLB Betting Tip: Target Favorites Day After All-Star Break article feature image

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.

System Enhancers

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.

  • Favs Against a Non-Division Opponent: 74-35 (+18.4 units, +16.9% ROI)

One simple way to narrow down your selections is to target teams against a non-division foe. They’ve yielded an ROI that’s almost twice as good as favorites in division games.

  • Visiting Favorites: 44-20 (+16.6 units, +25.9% ROI)

Naturally, there are not nearly as many road favorites as there are home favorites. However, these strong teams on the road have been particularly undervalued and have yielded a crazy ROI north of 25%.

  • Favorites w/ at least a .500 record: 92-42 (+24.5 units, +18.2% ROI)

As I mentioned before, a large reason why favorites are successful is thanks to their rested bullpens. Most of the time, that’s because good teams have good bullpens.

However, there’s obviously going to be the occasional favorite that is actually not a good team either due to the starting pitching matchup or because the opponent is really bad. When we target teams with at least a .500 record, the ROI is substantially better than favorites with a losing record.

  • Team w/ .500+ record vs. team w/ <.409 record: 17-1 (+11.1 units, 61.4% ROI)

This is like … the holy grail of systems. Normally I would scoff at a system with fewer than 20 games under its belt, but considering the record is practically perfect here, I think I will let it slide.

Besides, I don’t think you folks needed more convincing to bet on the Yankees vs. the Jays or Rays vs. the Orioles.

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