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Betting MLB Underdogs

The Value of Betting Mild Underdogs

By Loot, Major League Baseball Handicapper,

Before we set our sights on picking favorites and underdogs, it’s important to note how in baseball, the idea of a “favorite” and “underdog” is a little different. There are not many sports that come to mind where a 4-1 favorite would cause your eyes to pop, but that’s what we’re dealing with in this sport. In all other forms of sports betting, a favorite or underdog covers a much further range of numbers.

This can be attributed to the parity of Major League Baseball. We might have ideas in our head of who the good and bad teams are, but before we bet, we may need to adjust our perceptions slightly. The difference between the “good” and “bad” teams is much slighter in baseball than other sports. In any other league, you’re much more unlikely to see the “bad” teams beat the “good” teams straight-up, but in baseball--it happens often and it’s no big deal.

In NBA and NFL and the college level of both sports, the gulf between the best and the worst is far greater, thus giving a different meaning to the terms “favorite” or “underdog.” In baseball, we need to recalibrate everything we know about those terms.

When speaking of mild underdogs, we’re talking about teams in the range of +105 to about +160. These are technically underdogs, but really, how much of an underdog are they? The nice part of picking these teams is that you get a team that has a totally reasonable chance to win and you also stand to win more than you wager.

In any form of betting, standing to win more than you wager is a nice perk. It allows you to come out ahead in the long-run without even winning half your bets. Sharp-shooting some mild underdogs can be quite a profitable play. The mild underdogs win. And they win everyday, multiple times per day.

We have to remember that over the course of 162 games, a slight favorite is not in a terribly strong position. They’re favored, but not to a point where you should feel any hesitation to bet against them. In fact, a lot of slight favorites are favored because of the expectations of the public. They see a team at home, on a slightly better run in recent years, with a slightly better pitcher perhaps, and boom--they’re a mild favorite.

With experience, you can sense when a team is favored because, more or less, they’re supposed to be. They have a few conditions in their favor, perhaps, but certainly nothing that is going to be terribly dominant over a 9-inning game. They might be better in a way that will be worth a small handful of extra wins a season, but in one game--anything can and will happen.

The idea of a “favorite” and “underdog” resonates differently with people. Some betting men just have a natural aversion to underdogs. They figure, and rightfully so in some cases, that the odds tell the story. The better team has a minus-sign next to its odds, while the underdog has a plus-sign. That (+) can wreak havoc on people’s psychology, like by picking it, they’re going against the whole world.

To some degree, we all possess this idea. And also to varying degrees, we need to develop a healthy disrespect for baseball odds. Any “security in numbers” sentiment you may have will probably end up costing you money. Especially in a sport like baseball, is there any value in being on the same side of the public? Can betting on teams with the minus-sign provide that much comfort?

It would be more understandable for a guy who bets on boxing or MMA, or even money-lines in the NFL or NBA. Being a favorite really means something in those sports and when they lose, it registers as an “upset.” It’s difficult to remember the last time any result in regular season MLB was even referred to as an “upset.” When the absolutely best team in the league loses 60 times in a season, how unexpected is it really? It all speaks to the need of the betting man to adjust his concept of a “favorite” and “underdog.” When we wager, we need to feel no hesitation in betting especially mild underdogs who we feel can easily win the game. And we don’t even have to be right half the time.

The best place to bet on baseball underdogs is 5Dimes because they pay more there due to their reduced odds offerings! Make the switch today and start banking more loot!

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