#Betting101: Baseball Postseason Edition

Jason Lake

Tuesday, October 3, 2017 12:49 PM UTC

Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017 12:49 PM UTC

Baseball is tailor-made for sharp bettors to come in and exploit the marketplace. Now that the playoffs are here, let’s find some bargains on the MLB odds list.

Something very interesting happened last year: a renaissance for baseball betting. Maybe it was the Chicago Cubs making it all the way to the World Series and actually winning the damn thing. Maybe it was Cleveland nearly ending its own decades-long curse. Either way, there was a lot of attention on last year’s playoffs, and a lot more people getting in on the action.

Both these teams are back for another run at the World Series, but this time it’s the Tribe who are riding high, while the Cubs almost backed into the playoffs after a slow start. And there are six other teams who have a legitimate crack at winning it all this year. Who belongs in our MLB picks? Good thing baseball is such a friendly sport for sharp bettors – it’s the sport that gave us Moneyball, don’t forget. A look at the numbers should give us our answer.

God Loves Cleveland

Once again, we turn to Nate Silver and the sports nerds at FiveThirtyEight for their analytical expertise, which they lovingly deliver for free. We’ve taken their projected World Series chances for all 10 teams in the postseason, run those percentages through the almighty SBR Odds Converter, and compared them to what’s available on the MLB odds list at Bovada. Drum roll, please ...

Yup, it’s Cleveland. Every other team in the playoffs is overvalued on the MLB futures market, including the Cubs at +800. And the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are tied with Cleveland as +333 World Series co-favorites. Even the Houston Astros “should” pay out at more than +450, despite adding Justin Verlander to what was already a potent starting rotation. The Tribe have soaked up every drop of betting value in this market.


Should we be surprised? The Dodgers (104-58, +6.98 betting units) took over the baseball headlines this year by going on an epic tear that had them at 91-36 in late August. But they went into a tailspin, while Cleveland (102-60, +6.95 units) strung together 22 straight wins and finished with the best record in the American League. And look at those run differentials: Cleveland outscored opponents by 254 runs this year, way more than the Dodgers at plus-190. Of course we’re going to pick the Tribe at these odds. Then it’ll be up to the Texas Rangers to end their 57-year World Series drought in 2018.

Free MLB Futures Pick: Cleveland +333Best Line Offered: Bovada
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