With March Madness winding down and the first week of the 2015 MLB season underway, it’s time to turn our attention to arguably the most profitable sport for sharp sports bettors, Major League Baseball. It’s important to first outline how baseball betting differs from basketball and football.
1. MLB is a money line sport
Because baseball is a low scoring game, the majority of money bet on MLB is on the money line. With money lines, bettors are simply wagering on which team will win the game. This differs from football and basketball, where the bulk of money is bet on point spreads.
2. With baseball betting, you don’t need to win 52.4% of your wagers to be profitable
When wagering on basketball and football point spreads, bettors must win 52.4% of their games (assuming a vig of -110) in order to break-even. This can be confusing for bettors trying their hands at baseball for the first time because lower winning percentages can still be extremely profitable when consistently betting money line underdogs.
For example, a professional player I know had a win rate of 43.38% last season, but finished +31.35 units on the year (betting 1 unit per play) because of the plus-money payouts of money line underdogs.
That means a bettor wagering $100 on each our MLB picks last year finished the season with a profit of $3135 ($100 x 31.35).
3. The long MLB season provides many opportunities to take advantage of your edge
Some sports fans find the 2,430-game MLB regular season to be long and drawn out. However, for sharp sports bettors, more games means more opportunities to take advantage of their edge and maximize units won.
For example, if your betting system has a return on investment (ROI) of 2%, you’ll average a profit of $2 for every $100 bet placed.
Assuming this 2% ROI, it’s reasonable to expect your system to result in 486 MLB bets and 51 NFL bets over the respective seasons of each sport. (We arrived at these numbers by taking 20% of each sport’s total regular season games played). Remember, the NFL plays 256 games in a normal regular season compared to the MLB’s 2,430.
Even though the ROI is exactly the same for both sports, the sheer volume of wagering opportunities creates a significant difference in the amount of units this system will win for each sport.
A 2% ROI applied to 486 MLB games would result in a profit of +9.72 units, while that same ROI applied to 51 NFL games only earns a profit of +1.02 units.
An MLB bettor wagering $500 on each play ($500 x 9.72 units) would finish the season with a profit of $4,860. Conversely, a $500 NFL bettor earning the exact same ROI would have finished the season with a profit of $510 ($500 x 1.02 units).
The only difference between these two bettors is that a 2% edge in baseball offers exponentially more wagering opportunities than football and, in turn, a profit that’s more than 9.5 times greater for the baseball bettor. Baseball betting rocks! Good Luck this season!