There’s a certain excitement that comes with the start of a new season and that’s definitely the case when talking about Opening Day for MLB.
For fans the beginning of a new season brings hope that this will be the year their team wins it all. For those that handicap and bet on baseball, it marks the first opportunity to exploit the oddsmakers.
Keep in mind that it takes some time for the experts making the lines to really dial in on each team. You also have to understand that because baseball isn’t as popular to bet on as other sports, the primary focus of the books will be on those sports that are receiving the most action.
While they will get their fair share of wagers on MLB, most of the action right now will be on March Madness, NBA and NHL.
The problem most people have when it comes to betting on baseball this early in the season, is they haven’t done the research on the teams to feel confident enough to wager their hard earned cash.
I completely understand, but what if I told you that there’s a system for betting Opening Day that has been blindly profitable for more than a decade.
Profitable Major League Baseball Betting System for Opening Day
One thing that I’m sure you have noticed if you have watched the start of a new season in previous years, is fans flock to the stadium and provide an almost playoff like atmosphere right out of the gates. I think that most would agree the more life a crowd has the bigger edge that provides the home team.
I went back to the start of the 2004 season and studied the performance of teams at home and was able to spot some noticeable trends to help you build your bankroll.
Early Focus – Home Favorites
The first thing I looked at was home favorites. Why only favorites? More times than not teams that aren’t favored on their home field in this spot, are either not any good or going up against one of the best pitchers in the game (unless there’s an injury, the ace of the staff almost always takes the rubber for the first game of the year).
What I found is that home favorites are 88-53 (62.4%) on the money line. The average line on those games was -149.3, so be prepared to lay some juice. However, the key here is that over the long-run it’s provided a solid 6.0% return on investment (ROI).
While I’m not a huge fan of the run line, it’s definitely a wager I’ll make on Opening Day when it comes to home favorites. While teams in this scenario have gone just 50-59 (45.9%) against the run line, the profit actually increases. The ROI jumps to 9.5%. Why is this? By playing the run line the odds changed drastically. Instead of laying around -150 on the money line, the average run line for home favorites is +145.8. Instead of risking $150 to $100, we are now risking $100 to win $145.
Not a bad return for blindly taking home favorites on opening day. But, if you are a guy who likes betting underdogs then you might be in for a rough start to the season.
System Improvement – Avoid Small & Big Favorites
While I could have just called it quits with my research and just focused on any home favorite that was on the board on Opening Day, I wanted to see if I couldn’t make this system even stronger by weeding out both the small and massive favorites.
Let’s be honest, a team that’s less than a -120 favorite at home isn’t really saying much. I personally view a line in this price range as basically a coin-flip on whether they will win. On the flip-side, I think there’s too much risk laying more than -200 on any team this early in the season.
By avoiding these small and big favorites, we see that teams priced in the range of -120 to -200 at home are 68-29 (70.1%) on the money line with an ROI of 16.8%. As you can see, not only do teams in this spot win more often, the return on your investment almost triples from playing every home favorite on the board.
We see a similar spike in the results with the run line, as teams are 39-36 (52%) with a massive ROI right around 27%. Again, almost 3x more than what we found in our first go around.
Where All the Magic Happens – Target AL Teams
The last thing I checked was whether or not the results were the same across both the American and National League. I think most would just assume they would be, but that’s not the case at all.
Home favorites in the NL are a modest 28-20 (58.3%) on the money line, while teams in this exact same spot in the AL are a ridiculous 40-9 (81.6%). It’s turns out all of the profit in this system is from AL teams, as the ROI for the NL is actually -3.4%, where it’s 37.6% in the AL.
Things do get a little better in the National League if you play just the run line, as teams are 16-19 (45.7%) with a respectable ROI of 13.6%. However, the real money remains in the AL, as teams in this league are 23-17 (57.5%) with a ROI right around 40%.
It should go without saying, but if you want exploit the MLB odds on Opening Day, focus all your attention on AL teams at home that are favored anywhere between -120 and -200. Don’t forget the biggest profits will come when backing these teams on the run line.