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MLB News

MLB Handicapping Study – Divisional Dogs
2010-07-14

I had a conversation last week with a FoxSheets subscriber who claimed to have consistent success in betting baseball by following just a short list of fundamental concepts and strategies. While some of them were FoxSheets info-related in terms of systems and power ratings, etc, one of them was much more straight forward and it involved simply looking for value-laden underdogs in divisional games. Of course this piqued my curiosity, and to scratch that itch, I went back and did a study analyzing the performance of divisional dogs over the last decade.

One of the most fundamental beliefs in anyone who puts more weight in divisional games is that there is a familiarity that decreases the theoretical talent margin between two teams. They face each other so many times each season that they are well-versed in the strengths and weaknesses of each player and thus the opponent as a whole. Realistically, the oddsmaker doesn’t take this into account as much, since they are typically building their lines from a more universal set of power ratings that doesn’t recognize situational factors such as divisional play. Obviously the underlying thought is that this disconnect should lend value to anyone who believes in the power of the rivalry.

So, having theoretically been convinced that there was some merit to this divisional underdog theory, I set out to find out the actual results. I took all of the divisional games played in Major League Baseball between 2000 and this past Sunday (July 11th) and tabulated the wins, losses, and betting units won had a bettor backed every divisional dog in that time frame. The results are below.

<b>Divisional Road Underdogs in MLB by Season (2000-2010)</b>

<b>Season: W-L (PCT), UNITS</b>

<b>2000: </b>224-293 (43.3%), +24.4 Units

<b>2001: </b>284-376 (43.0%), +8.2 Units

<b>2002: </b>251-417 (37.6%), -57 Units

<b>2003: </b>265-404 (39.6%), -2.5 Units

<b>2004: </b>283-403 (41.3%), +4.9 Units

<b>2005: </b>318-400 (44.3%), +43.9 Units

<b>2006: </b>301-411 (42.3%), +2.1 Units

<b>2007: </b>306-377 (44.8%), +53.4 Units

<b>2008: </b>308-406 (43.1%), +22.1 Units

<b>2009: </b>270-421 (39.1%), -39.6 Units

<b>2010: </b>134-187 (41.7%), +1.4 Units

<b>TOTAL: </b>2944-4095 (41.8%), +61.3 Units

Average Road Underdog Line: -158

Average Return on Investment = 0.9%

As you can see, the divisional road underdog has been generally successful, producing 61.3 units of profit over the last decade-plus, with a R.O.I. of about 0.9%. Now, that isn’t enough to really wow a systems handicapper, but it does suggest that the strategy of backing road divisional dogs will at least keep the average joe in the fight against the oddsmakers. One important thing to note from the season-by-season results is that in only three of the 11 seasons has the road divisional dog netted a loss. So it can be said that the results of 2002 & 2009 in particular skew the numbers of what would be an otherwise more solid theory.

<b>Divisional Home Underdogs in MLB by Season (2000-2010)</b>

<b>Season: W-L (PCT), UNITS</b>

<b>2000: </b>127-112 (53.1%), +49.5 Units

<b>2001: </b>157-215 (42.2%), -22.4 Units

<b>2002: </b>156-210 (42.6%), -4.2 Units

<b>2003: </b>171-199 (46.2%), +25.6 Units

<b>2004: </b>150-187 (44.5%), +11 Units

<b>2005: </b>133-185 (41.8%), -14.9 Units

<b>2006: </b>162-187 (46.4%), +15.3 Units

<b>2007: </b>152-184 (45.2%), +0.8 Units

<b>2008: </b>147-160 (47.9%), +12.2 Units

<b>2009: </b>143-184 (43.7%), -14.4 Units

<b>2010: </b>74-77 (49.0%), +13.3 Units

<b>TOTAL: </b>1572-1900 (45.3%), +71.8 Units

Average Home Underdog Line: +129

Average Return on Investment = 2.1%

The divisional home underdog has proven over doubly effective than those on the road in terms of R.O.I., producing about 2.1% over the last 11 seasons, with a net profit of 71.8 units. Again, only four seasons netted a loss during that time span, with 2002 & 2009 again being part of the group. It is interesting to see that divisional home dogs up through the all-star break in 2010 have won 49% of their games, the highest winning percentage since 2000, with a R.O.I. of 8.8%.

<b>Divisional Road Underdogs in MLB by Line Range (2000-2010)</b>

<b>HOME LINE: W-L (PCT), UNITS</b>

<b>-300 or higher: </b>24-66 (26.7%), +5.7 Units

<b>-250 to -299: </b>58-148 (28.2%), -9.6 Units

<b>-220 to -249: </b>143-252 (36.2%), +47.8 Units

<b>-190 to -219: </b>236-410 (36.5%), +25.7 Units

<b>-170 to -189: </b>305-501 (37.8%), +4.4 Units

<b>-150 to -169: </b>529-801 (39.8%), -25.7 Units

<b>-130 to -149: </b>786-973 (44.7%), +29.2 Units

<b>-116 to -129: </b>435-477 (47.7%), +12.5 Units

<b>-106 to -115: </b>428-467 (47.8%), -28.7 Units

<b>TOTAL: </b>2944-4095 (41.8%), +61.3 Units

As you can see, there are some distinct breaks in success rates by divisional road dogs when you consider the line range in which they are playing too. There is a so-called “sweet spot” when the home team is favored in the -190 to -249 range. In these games since 2000, the road divisional dog has only won about 36.4% of its games, but has produced 73.5 units of profit. That equates to a R.O.I. of 7.1%. Now that type of return is something that mutual fund managers would kill for nowadays. If only us bettors had dropped our 401K money into this option rather than on Wall Street!

<b>Divisional Home Underdogs in MLB by Line Range (2000-2010)</b>

<b>HOME LINE: W-L (PCT), UNITS</b>

<b>+105 to -104: </b>440-456 (49.1%), -5.2 Units

<b>+106 to +120: </b>456-480 (48.7%), +40.8 Units

<b>+121 to +154: </b>475-585 (44.8%), +54.7 Units

<b>+155 to +199: </b>167-289 (36.6%), -6.2 Units

<b>+200 or higher: </b>34-90 (27.4%), -12.3 Units

<b>TOTAL: </b>1572-1900 (45.3%), +71.8 Units

The break in line range performance by home divisional dogs is very transparent. Those playing in the +106 to +154 range have been a solid investment over the last decade-plus, going 931-1065 for +95.5 units of profit. Compare that to the home divisional dogs in every other range that have netted -23.7 units of loss. Considering that 1,996 games have produced 4.8% R.O.I. over the 11-year span, bettors have a strategy in front of them that has produced both handsomely and consistently. At an average of 190 games per season, bettors can expect to have an opportunity to take advantage about once a night during the baseball season.

<b>Summary</b>

The results of the divisional dogs study are encouraging as it doesn’t take a whole lot of digging to come up with plays that should produce profits over the long haul, assuming of course that proper money management techniques are held to. Of course, this study was conducted using dime lines as the basis, and bettors paying higher vig than that is just cheating themselves. I would have no problem recommending the divisional dog strategy as a basis for beginning your baseball handicapping each day. When you spice in bullpen analysis, systems, and other key strength indicators, you should have all you need to build a nice bankroll each summer.


MLB: Colorado vs. Philadelphia Divisional Series Betting
2009-10-07

The defending World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies and Colorado Rockies have ability to score runs by the bushel-full and h Apuestas Deportivas Apuestas NFL Futbol Americano Online Bingo Rooms Play Bingo online SITRAK C7H Costa Rica 1989 Suzuki GS500E Modificada ave strong starting pitching. The Phillies topped the National League in runs scored at 5.1 per game, which was just ahead of second place Colorado at 5.0. The Phils boast playoff experience, the Rockies were one of the league’s hottest clubs in the second half of the regular season. It should be a great series, and an exciting one to bet on. Speaking of which, Sportsbook.com has all kinds of options available for you to consider. Head over to the LIVE ODDS page to see all those.

Need a game changing home run, look no further than these two clubs with Philly going yard 224 times (1st in NL) and Rocks batters sending the ball over the fence 190 times (2nd).

No team can live on hitting alone and Colorado had five different starting pitchers win 10 games or more, led by Jorge DeLa Rosa 16 wins. The Phillies have Cole Hamels who pitched much better the last two months than the first four and knows what it takes in the postseason. The addition of Cliff Lee gave the Phillies a wonderful a chance to win every fifth day and placed Joe Blanton in better position as a solid starter.

Both lineups have the ability to explode at any time, which sets up the potential for a great deal of second guessing by the managers in this series when it comes to making pitching changes. When has a starter had enough or can he work out of jams?

This leads to the late inning bullpen situations for both teams. Closer Brad Lidge was given every opportunity to succeed by manager Charley Manuel and he failed. Ryan Madison is now the closer, but his mental makeup is unproven in this pressure packed role. Huston Street has only allowed runs once in his last 10 appearances, yet nobody is convinced he’s Mariano Rivera material.

Offensive – National League
Runs scored Colorado 2nd Philadelphia 1st
Home Runs Colorado 2nd Philadelphia 1st
Slugging Pct. Colorado 2nd Philadelphia 1st
Walks Colorado 1st Philadelphia 7th
On base Pct. Colorado 2nd Philadelphia 8th

Pitching & Defense
ERA Colorado 7th Philadelphia 5th
Bullpen ERA Colorado 13th Philadelphia 9th
Strikeouts Colorado 8th Philadelphia 9th
Walks Colorado 4th Philadelphia 2nd
On base Pct. Colorado 6th Philadelphia 7th
Putouts Colorado 12th Philadelphia 4th
Errors Colorado 5th Philadelphia 2nd

Key Numbers- Philadelphia won four of six meetings this year and tied for the best record in baseball on the road at 48-33. Colorado’s mission is to earn split and return home where they had the second best record in the senior circuit on home turf with 51-30 record. The Rockies are only 6-18 vs. NL teams scoring 4.8 or more runs a game on the season, while the Phillies are 17-7 when facing the same kind of offense.

Sportsbook.com Series Odds: Phillies -170, Rockies +145