With the MLB season just around the corner, it’s time to start shifting some attention to the bases. This article takes a look at how the reigning World Series Champion performs in the first month of season.

For this study I went back to 2004 and gathered the data on how the defending champs performed in their opening game, opening series, home opener, first home series, and overall prior to May 1.

I expected to find some value in fading the team that was fresh off a World Series title. Not only would these teams have to deal with inflated lines from the public being all over them, but this is the team that has a target on their back.

So I figured to test this underdog strategy.  What better way to prove you are contender than to come out early and beat the guys who held up the trophy at the end of the previous year.

Find out if Betting MLB World Series Champions is Profitable Early

Before we have a look at the results, I want to explain the information provided in the tables.

The “SU” is the straight up record. This should be pretty self explanatory, it’s simply the win/loss record.

The “Average Line” is a way to give you an idea of the typical money line you could expect in each scenario.

The “Bet On” and “Bet Against” categories represent the amount of money you would either win or lose if you were to place $100 wager on or against the reigning World Series Champion.

Opening Game

YearsSUBet OnBet Against
 2004-2015 6-7 -$114 +$64

The first thing I looked at was how the champs performed in their first game of the season.

As you can see from the table, overall there’s not a lot to get excited about.

However, it’s worth mentioning that during this stretch the World Series Champions have been an underdog in their first game on five occasions and are just 1-4 as an underdog (-$230).

Opening Series

YearsSUBet OnBet Against
 2004-2015 19-19 +$36 -$166

If you were to bet on the World Series Champion in every game during their first series since 2014, you would barely being showing a profit.

With that said. There’a also not a lot of value in taking the other side either.

When you add it all up, it appears the best strategy is to ignore this series and try and find some better value elsewhere.

Home Opener

YearsSUBet OnBet Against
 2004-2015 8-5 +$81 -$140

The home opener is typically when the champs are presented their World Series rings. There’s a big celebration and will be one of the toughest tickets in town.

While they have a winning record at 8-5 in these games, due to being big favorites they are not a great betting option long-term.

Opening Home Series

YearsSUBet OnBet Against
 2004-2015 16-22 -$1,379 +$1,119

The results here certainly caught my attention.

Despite the fact that the World Series champs have gone 8-5 in their home opener, they are mere 16-22 overall in the opening home series.

If you were to bet on the defending champs over the entire series, you would be down over $1,300.

Looks like the best strategy here is to wait until after the opener of the home series and load up on the opposition the rest of the series.

Prior to May 1st

YearsSUBet OnBet Against
 2004-2015 173-139 +$636 -$2,198

Based on the date pulled from both the opening series and opening home series,  I was really starting to get excited about the potential money to be made fading them over the first month of the season.

That excitement didn’t last long.

Once I started compiling the numbers for how the World Series champs performed prior to May 1, I knew my theory was headed for the trash.

Believe it or not, the smart play is to jump on the bandwagon with the team that won it all.  If you click here to see who our experts are giving out for free tips today, you might see them taking last year’s winner.

As you can see, if you were to back the defending champs in every game prior to May 1 since 2004, you would be up a solid $636. Had you faded them you would be down over $2,100!

It does seem logical to wait until after the first series and skip the opening home series if it’s not the first series of the season.