Tigers vs. Braves Betting Pick: How to Bet a Bad Team on a Win Streak
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Brandon Dixon and Nicholas Castellanos
- The 21-32 Tigers are on a two-game win streak heading into Friday's meeting with the Braves (7:20 p.m. ET).
- See what history says about betting bad teams that have put together a few consecutive victories.
Don’t look now but the Detroit Tigers are the fifth-hottest team in baseball!
Is that a stretch? Maybe. But their two-game win streak is technically tied for the fifth-longest active streak in the majors (which is really just to say that the longest active streak is six games).
In any case, the Tigers’ “win streak” brings up an interesting situation in the betting market tonight, specifically because they’re not the greatest team around. With a win percentage below .400, stringing together two straight wins is not the most likely thing.
Even less likely? Stringing together three.
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise then to see that 84% of bettors are betting against that happening tonight when Detroit visits the Braves (7:20 p.m. ET).
The problem with that way of thinking, though, is that while three straight wins for a sub-.400 team is certainly unlikely, the first two have already happened, meaning tonight’s game should be looked at independently — the same way you should not expect tails to come up just because you’ve seen two straight heads.
In fact, because of that way of thinking, lines are often shaded in a way that creates value betting on the bad team’s streak to continue.
When a below-.400 club is on a win streak of two or more games, it’s been historically profitable to bet on that team. Since 2005, to be exact, such teams have gone 425-454 (48.4%) in their next game. And since almost all of them are underdogs, that record has been good for 81.8 units and a 9.3% return on investment.
The one issue with creating systems that incorporate win percentage, however, is that slow starts to the season can lead to good teams having poor win rates early. And those teams shouldn’t really be included in a strategy based on going against what feels right, since they probably were taking in decent public support in those games despite their early struggles.
To account for that, I set the system to look at teams whose win percentages were still below .400 at the 45-game mark and beyond.
Believe it or not, that not only increased the ROI (to 14.8%), but brought the record to an almost even 308-309 (49.9%), good for 91.3 units since 2005.
The pick: Tigers +163