FADE ‘PUBLIC’ BIG MONEY CHALK IN BASEBALL
No matter the season, sports betting experts know that there’s few better ways to produce profits in the longterm than by being a contrarian. The public goes one way, you go the other way. The public starts to throw money at certain teams, you bet their opponents. So on and so forth. It’s not that the public is always wrong (though they are a good deal of the time) is that they tend to create inflated valuations on the teams they back. And betting the other side of an inflated valuation will by definition give you the best of it.
Major league baseball season is here and it won’t be long before a few teams start to rise to the top of the fray. There’s also plenty of big name pitchers that usually attract sizable chalk prices and get support from the ‘public’ bettors. The flip side is also true—bad teams will be an anathema to the general public meaning that any halfway decent opponent will be installed as a sizable moneyline favorite.
All you need to do to be profitable is to isolate high priced favorites. That’s easy enough although the exact definition of what constitutes ‘high priced’ will vary. I’d consider it -160 or above. Now, watch the line movement and look for situations where the money is coming in on big moneyline favorites. If you’ve got percentage breakdowns (and with any decent live odds service you should) pay particular attention to teams attracting 70% or more of the betting action. When you find a big money favorite getting significant betting action, go the other way.
WHY THIS WORKS SO WELL IN BASEBALL
This works particularly well in baseball due to the large number of games. With 162 games per year no individual game takes on greater significance than the others. Even if it’s in the middle of a pennant race against another divisional rival baseball players and coaches view it in terms of a series rather than the individual game. It’s also important to keep each game within the context of what a team does in a full season. Even the worst teams win 40% or more of their games and the best teams lose 40% of theirs. That’s why you don’t hear baseball media types get hysterical after a big upset—even if it’s a doormat beating a top team with their ace on the mound.
Another reason this approach is so effective has to do with the way baseball lines are made. The most significant factor in making a baseball line is the starting pitcher. The problem with this is that there are many other ‘moving parts’ in a baseball game that can determine who wins or loses in addition to the starting pitcher. While it’s obvious that the starting pitcher is important to the outcome of the game they’re not the sole factor. When you bet a moneyline favorite there’s countless things outside of the starting pitcher’s control that can cause him to lose the game and cause you to lose the bet. When you bet the underdog you put all of these ‘circumstances beyond the starter’s control’ in your favor.
Games that attract a lot of interest from the betting public work even better than garden variety big favorites since these games usually come out of the box shaded toward that direction. The public then bets an already shaded line pushing it up even higher. All the while, the dynamic we outlined above of events beyond the control of the starting pitcher stay the same. A game with a huge amount of money on the favorite side more often than not is one with an obvious kneejerk reaction ‘storyline’. The good news for us is that ‘obvious’ storylines don’t lend themselves to a nuanced analysis of a matchup.
FOR FURTHER STUDY
If you want to take this concept even further all you need to do is a little bit of database analysis to determine the ideal price and ideal level of public support that is most profitable. You can also use these concepts in conjunction with your usual handicapping. If a team is facing a top lefthander as a big underdog yet they hit left handed pitching well that would present an even bettor opportunity for a strong play. The opposite is also true—sometimes an overwhelming favorite is priced that way for a good reason. There are no ‘easy’ strategies in sports betting but a long term winning concept like this one is a great place to start handicapping the daily baseball betting card.