Our MLB handicapper, Mark Lathrop, discusses an early-season results trend that needs our attention. Read on as he explains the trend and how to take advantage of it as you make your MLB Picks.
2017 MLB Record, 51-50-2, -5.77 Units, -4.77% ROI
Every once in a while, even a sabermetrics technician like myself has to be aware of league-wide trends occurring during a season. Today is one of those times, as I just spotted that road run line underdogs are cashing at a great 64.34% clip over the last 30 days. I’ve used the run line dogs with some success this season, as I’ve spotted games that should be more of a toss-up being priced very well in situations on the run line without giving up much juice at all. Most of the time I focus on home run line dogs, but they are only cashing at 57.36% over the same time period.
A 64%-plus probability equates to about -185 odds, as you can easily calculate on SBR’s handy odds converter. I haven’t picked a run line dog with odds steeper than -150, so this trend tells me that we can accept even more juice and still profit in the long run for this road team situation.
To find a situation where a run line dog may be a good value, I like to focus on statistics such as Fielding Independent Pitching, or FIP. I’ve discussed this in the past, but FIP takes into account issues in which luck is at play. All that is left is the actual results that a pitcher controls in a game, such as walks, strikeouts, and home runs. Washed out in this statistic are results that are a result of fielding or batting average on balls in play.
Just like in all other sports, there is a home-field advantage baked into odds offered for baseball. As a run line dog, we are wagering that the losing team can keep it close. This has happened at a 175-97 pace over the last month. A fantastic result for those willing to blanket bet those lines even at prices as steep as -185.
There are of course some specific reasons why this trend is occurring as well, based on just the marketplace alone and the teams that the public is fading. Teams with surprising starts such as the Reds and Phillies come to mind, and slow starts by perennial winners like the Cubs (that was weird to type) and the Cardinals are another. As these records normalize, this trend’s results may start coming back into line. In the meantime, pay special attention to run line away underdogs as a tool to cash more tickets as you make your MLB picks in 2017.Bet On MLB Futures At SBR's Top Sportsbooks