Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: The San Diego Padres celebrate an 8-4 win
- Public favorites generally fared well in the first half of the 2018 MLB season.
- There was still contrarian value to be found in situations like Friday's Padres-Phillies matchup, however.
Betting Odds: San Diego Padres at Philadelphia Phillies
- Padres odds: +143 (Clayton Richard)
- Phillies odds: -158 (Jake Arrieta)
- Over/under 8
- First pitch: 7:05 p.m. ET
Public favorites — MLB teams getting 70% or more of moneyline bets — won at a historic rate in the first half. These popular square picks went 301-174 (63.4%) straight-up, returning a profit of +1.62 units. That doesn’t sound like much, and it isn’t, but compared to past years, public favorites had a banner beginning to the season:
But what’s good for recreational gamblers is bad for contrarian bettors. Here are how unpopular underdogs have performed in 2018:
Underdogs getting fewer than 50% of moneyline tickets were 470-697 straight-up, costing a $100 bettor $3,408. At nearly every threshold it was not profitable to fade the public, except in the most lopsided games.
Teams getting fewer than 20% of bets — all underdogs — went 26-34 (43.3%) straight-up, returning a profit of $1,057 for a $100 bettor. These results are not an anomaly.
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Since 2005, all underdogs getting fewer than 20% of moneyline tickets have gone 870-1,267, producing a profit of $9,449 for a $100 bettor.
We often encourage gamblers to bet against the public, and these extreme situations are a perfect contrarian spot. On Friday, only one game features this kind of unbalanced betting.
The Philadelphia Phillies are -158 favorites vs. the San Diego Padres (7:05 p.m. ET). At the time of publication, 86% of moneyline tickets are on the Phillies.
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The Padres are an unpopular underdog to target. Making San Diego more appealing is that they start the second half on the road.
Historically, home-field advantage has been overvalued in baseball. Dogs getting fewer than 20% of moneyline bets playing on the road have gone 523-821 straight-up. A $100 bettor playing these matches would be up $10,055 (7.5% ROI) since 2005.
Here’s to fading the squares and cashing tickets. Cheers!
Editor’s note: The opinion on this game is from the individual writer and is based on his research, analysis and perspective. It is independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.