Royals vs. Mariners Betting Pick: Can Kansas City Pull Off 3 Straight?

Royals vs. Mariners Betting Pick: Can Kansas City Pull Off 3 Straight? article feature image
Credit:

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Alex Gordon (4), Billy Hamilton (6), and Jorge Bonifacio (38)

  • The struggling Royals have won two straight games ... so can they make it three tonight in Seattle (10:10 p.m. ET)?
  • According to the historical data in Bet Labs, games featuring bad teams on win streaks have betting value.

Other than the Orioles, there has been no worse team in baseball this year than the Royals, at least as far as the standings are concerned.

Kansas City’s 24-48 (.333) record sets a pace for a 54-win season, which is … not great. If there’s any good news out of KC, though, it’s that the Royals have now strung together two consecutive wins.

So maybe something’s starting to click?

Most bettors aren’t going to see it that way, though. In fact, the most common reaction to the two straight wins is probably going to be something like, “Oh, well they’re definitely due for a loss now.”

While it’s certainly true that a team that wins one-third of its games is very unlikely to win three in a row (a 1 in 27 chance), the Royals’ recent victories should no longer hold any weight in their chance at winning tonight, because they’ve already happened.

It’s the same reason you shouldn’t expect heads to come up on a coin just because the previous two flips landed on tails (often referred to as the gambler’s fallacy).

But perhaps because so many bettors still play by that flawed reasoning, it’s been historically profitable to bet on bad teams that are putting together a string of wins.

Since 2005, when teams holding a sub-.400 record in June or beyond have won two or more consecutive games, they’ve gone 254-272 in their next matchup (per Bet Labs). That might not seem too impressive, but because of their poor records, just about all of them have been underdogs — like the Royals are tonight.

That means they’ve actually profited 78.6 units over the timespan for a 14.2% return on investment.

A small added bonus for Royals bettors based on today’s market activity: They’re attracting only 26% of bets but 33% of money, meaning they’re drawing bigger wagers — the ones more likely to be made by sharps.

Since 2016 (when we began collecting money percentage data), teams fitting the above system that were also getting at least three percentage points more money than bets have gone 42-32, good for 23.7 units and a 32.1% ROI.

The pick: Royals +123