MLB Betting: How To Bet On Opening Day

There’s a certain level of excitement that comes with MLB opening day games. For fans, the beginning of a new season brings hope that their teams will win it all. For sports bettors, the opening day games presents the first opportunity to exploit the lines of oddsmakers. However, it’s important to keep in mind that since baseball isn’t as popular to bet on compared to other sports, the primary focus of oddsmakers and sportsbooks alike will be to focus on the sports receiving the most action. In this article, we’ll take a look at MLB opening day handicapping strategies that have blindly been profitable for over a decade.

Focus On Home Favorites

More often than not, teams who aren’t favored on their home field at this point in the season are probably not any good or are playing against one of the best starting pitchers in the game. From historical analysis, home favorites have posted an 88-53 (.624 winning percentage) record on the moneyline. With an average payout of -149.3, home favorites have provided a solid ROI of 6%. However, one should be prepared to lay down some juice to bet on these teams. Additionally, while we’re not huge fans of betting on the run line, this has been a profitable bet on opening day games. Home favorites have gone 50-59 (.459 winning percentage) on the run line, and although the winning percentage is below .500, the average run line payout of +145.8 bumps the ROI to 9.5%. Essentially, this means that instead of risking $150 to win $100 on the moneyline, we’re not risking $100 to win $145 on the run line.

Avoid Small and Big Favorites

Frankly speaking, a team who’s less than a -120 favorite at home isn’t really saying much – this is basically a coin flip of which team will win. On the other hand, a team who’s a -200 favorite or higher presents too much risk in laying more than -200 on any team this early on in the season. By avoiding small and big favorites altogether, teams priced in the range of -120 to -200 are 68-29 (.701 winning percentage) on the moneyline, resulting in a ROI of 16.8%. Quite evidently, not only do teams in this spot win more often, the ROI almost triples compared to playing every home favorite on the board. Additionally, there’s a similar spike in the run line results, with teams posting a 39-36 (.520 winning percentage) along with a ROI of 27%. Again, this is almost triple the ROI compared to the aforementioned ROI run line results from solely focusing on home favorites.

Target American League Teams

Finally, we took a look as to whether the results were more or less the same within the American League compared to the National League and we noticed a startling difference. While home favorites in the NL were a modest 28-20 (.583 winning percentage) record on the moneyline, Al favorites were a ridiculous 40-9 (.816 winning percentage) record on the moneyline. As a result, it turned out that all of the profit were attributed to AL teams (-3.4% for NL teams vs. 37.6% for AL teams). However, things did turn out to be slightly better when focusing on the run line. NL teams posted a 16-19 (.457 winning percentage) record with a ROI of 13.6%. However, the real money still involved AL teams, who posted a 23-17 (.575 winning percentage) record along with a ROI of 40%.