Building an MLB betting model can be a complicated thing to do, but once you have one, it becomes the most important part of betting analysis. Below, you will find an explanation of my baseball betting model and how I started with a mathematical betting strategy. Learn also what my baseball betting model includes, and how to use it for successful betting.
What is an MLB betting model?
MLB betting model is a method, that helps you to project your own MLB odds before you bet, by using statistics, sports betting analytics, and algorithms. This gives you a chance to compare your odds with bookmakers’ odds, find +EV bets and maximize profits.
There are two fundamental approaches sports gamblers take when they bet on MLB games. The first one is based on intuition and picking winners of the game, and not paying much attention to the odds or numbers. The second approach is a mathematical betting strategy based on numbers, where the goal is to identify value bets.
The second approach, which is based on numbers and statistics is used by bookmakers and the best baseball handicappers in the World. Well-defined baseball betting systems, arbitrage betting, and MLB betting models are some of the best methods that help baseball bettors maximize profits.
How I started with using betting models
When I started betting in 1998, I soon realized, that truly profitable sports betting is all about betting on “good” odds with the combination of long-term money management strategies.
My first simple betting method was based on numbers
The question was how to identify “good” odds or find value bets. At the start, I was simply comparing my local bookmaker’s odds and online betting sites’ odds. If my local bookmaker didn’t move the line, after all, major online betting sites moved the lines, I knew that this was potentially a good bet. Without trying to pick the winner or giving too much weight to my personal opinion about the game.
Later, when my local bookmaker moved the odds much quicker, these betting opportunities were smaller and disappeared quickly. I started building my first betting models in excel. I tried different methods for many leagues and sports. Then I found that statistical data has long been collected in baseball. I started using these statistics in my favor and made my first serious betting profits.
My first MLB betting models were made in excel spreadsheets, where the goal of the model was to estimate:
- projected runs
- projected winning probability
- projected odds
- projected value by comparing my projected odds and bookmaker’s odds
The baseball betting model was a successful year after year and later I implemented the formulas and algorithms into Google Spreadsheets.
MLB Betting Model in Google Sheets
My MLB betting model is the heart of my baseball betting strategy. The main goal is to compare a team’s offense with other teams’ defense, which is a combination of starting pitcher and bullpen.
When baseball season is on, I analyze every single game. That means, that I use my baseball betting model to project winning percentages independently from bookmakers’ odds. Most of my data is automated and automatically pulled from the internet.
How do I use my baseball betting model?
Once the model is created, the use is very simple. Before the new season, I need to update stats and some links, where the data is automatically pulled from the internet. This is what we call preparation for the new season. I go through the lineups and check possible trades, new players, and teams.
MLB betting projections
Once the season starts, the games are played almost every day. Every morning I project the odds for all games. With the prepared baseball betting model, I first quickly check potential lineups and then add into the model necessary information about a single MLB game:
- The name of the teams
- Pitchers and their pitching hand (L/R)
- Bookmakers odds
The model outputs the team’s winning percentages and my projected odds – this is what we call betting projections. This is automatically compared with bookmakers’ odds, where a big discrepancy means a potentially good bet.
What does the model include?
My MLB betting model is a lineup-based betting model, where individual statistics for each player are included in estimations.
The model includes:
- Projected winning probabilities for both MLB teams in a single matchup
- Projected US odds and decimal odds
- Projected total runs scored in game
- Estimated value based on adjusted kelly criterion
- Full game and 1st half betting projections
- Individual players statistics
- Pitchers statistics
- Bullpen statistics
- Advanced statistics, that take into account factors like ballparks effects
10 tips on how can you bet on baseball and win
Baseball betting is traditionally very popular in the United States, but this popularity has grown all around the World. More and more sports bettors, who don’t come necessarily from the USA are looking to answer the question – how to bet baseball and win.
The most popular bet types in baseball betting are Moneyline, totals (Over/Under), and run line.
Is baseball good for betting?
Yes, baseball betting is one of the most popular and best markets for sports bettors because it offers more games and more action in one season than any other major league. MLB betting experts, who put an effort in analyzing baseball games and have a good baseball betting strategy profit from betting on baseball.
Advantages of betting on baseball
If you are considering betting on baseball there are a couple of advantages that this betting market has against others.
Number of games
MLB baseball season has 2430 regular season games + playoff games. In sports betting every game is an opportunity for a sports bettor to win money. More games also give you more data and statistics for analyzing the games and making better betting predictions.
Comparison with NFL in terms of the number of games:
Let’s compare betting on NFL and betting on MLB reaching the same yield (profit/sum of all stakes) of 10%.
- NFL Betting: 256 games * $1000 = $256,000 risked money
- Yield 10%: 0.1*$256,000 = $25,600
NFL bettor will make $25,600 of profit with a yield of 10%.
- MLB Betting: 2430 games * $1000 = $2,4300,000 risked money
- Yield 10%: 0.1*$2,4300,00 =$243,000 of profit
MLB bettor will make $243,000 of profit, which is close to 10 times more than the NFL bettor.
Almost every day during the baseball season, there are 10-15 games available to bet and win money. Potential profit is much bigger because there are much more opportunities if we take into account a realistic yield of 5-10%.
Big betting market
MLB is one of the biggest markets in the sports betting world and on average you can bet much more than on any other smaller league. It’s not only how to bet baseball and win, but also how much to win. Smaller leagues are softer, but bet limits are very small. In baseball betting, these limits are big compared to most other sports.
Lots of statistics
Statistics for baseball is tracked since 1876 and upgraded with baseball’s first comprehensive historical register in 1969. This is a significant benefit and helps anyone who wants to win betting on baseball by using algorithms and sports betting models.
Value betting and betting on MLB underdogs
Profitable sports handicapping is about finding the value and ability to exclude emotions. During the regular MLB season, there are 2430 games or 162 by each team and the best team in the league wins around 65% of games, while the worst team wins around 35% of games. Teams and players are playing almost every day during the season and it is hard to put full effort into each game.
This gives sports handicappers more chances to focus on exploiting market inefficiencies and betting on value. Underdogs win more than in other big leagues, which is a big advantage for sports handicappers, who know how to use statistical analysis, exclude emotions and find profitable MLB underdog opportunities.
10 MLB Betting tips you can use right away
Maximizing profits and winning at baseball betting will require:
- discipline, because with so many games, there will be many personal tests and temptations every single day. To stick with your pre-defined betting strategy will require strong discipline.
- patience, because baseball is a streaky sport, where you can easily face 10 wins or 10 losses in a row. Because so many games, it is not necessary to win every single game, but playing a long game and beting patient.
- statistical analysis of the games, because you are competing against sharpest bettors and bookmakers who use numbers and statistics.
- money managament, because you must protect your money during losing days, which will happen, no matter how good you are at betting baseball
To help you make more money at betting on MLB, here are some useful MLB betting tips you can use right away.
1. Manage money when betting on baseball
The first thing to do even before you start betting on baseball is to set aside money for betting. The concept of bankroll management is a very important strategy for every serious sports bettor.
Every sports bettor has a different approach and bankroll management must be always a part of a bigger personal financial plan. If sports betting is the only source of income or the only investment fund, then the percentage of every bet must be very small. If sports betting money represents speculative money and is just a small percentage of your bigger financial fund, the percentage can be a little bit bigger.
But in general, professional MLB bettors recommend betting around 1% of your betting bankroll on a game. This will give you room for mistakes, losing streaks, that will happen in the span of the season.
2. Bet early
The best odds on the best bets are always much before the game starts. Beating the closing line in baseball betting is important. In other words, good MLB bets are those where your taken odds are bigger than closing odds. Closing line value theory is one of the most important theories for identifying if your betting system works. The MLB odds just before the game starts is most efficient and because of that (in theory) is not possible to beat in the long run.
Even if you make some profit at the start of the season, you must pay attention to the odds movement. If your taken odds are constantly worse than closing odds, it is time to start paying attention and improving the betting method you are using.
3. Focus on value bets
Don’t focus on winners in baseball betting if you want to win. The whole concept of winning in sports betting is based on value betting. Sports bettors usually try to pick a winner and they can be lucky in the short run, but in the long run, and especially in baseball betting, where we have more than 2400 games in one season, only focusing on the value makes sense.
Is betting on MLB underdogs profitable?
Betting on MLB underdogs is profitable only if you find a value bet with the underdog. Betting on MLB underdogs with no value is not profitable in the long run. The results of betting on MLB underdogs since 2010:
- MLB underdogs since 2010: -$106,545 (ROI -4.3%)
Is betting on MLB favorites profitable?
Betting on MLB favorites can be profitable if you exploit inefficiencies in the market and bet on a value. Blindly betting on favorites is not profitable. The results of betting on MLB favorites since 2010:
- MLB Favorites since 2010: -$12,467 (ROI: -0.3%)
There is no such a pattern or simple betting system, where blindly betting would return a significant profit, because the market will adapt to such patterns and you’ll lose because of vig if you don’t bet on a value.
4. Get the best MLB odds
Don’t just bet with one bookmaker or only one betting site, because this will force you to get whatever odds they offer you. To get the best possible price when betting on baseball can be a difference between winning season or a losing season. Many rookie bettors make a huge mistake, by not paying attention to the price and just betting with one sportsbook.
5. Avoid MLB betting trends
Trends are very dangerous and don’t help us to predict the future probabilities of the games. One of the problems is a gambler’s fallacy because many bettors believe that the probability of a baseball game occurring in the future is influenced by the past history of that type of game.
Trends are used as mainstream information for bettors who write analyses and don’t use other probabilistic methods. Trends are just the result of data mining and we can almost always find a contra-trend.
Every baseball game is a unique event and has to be analyzed independently, without looking for simple patterns from the past, that have no predictive power, like trends.
6. Avoid Parlays and Teasers
Bookmakers win because they have the advantage. This advantage is calculated in the odds in terms of commissions. Every time when you bet on a game with a win probability of 50%, you should get the odds of +100, but they force you to pay the worse price at -110 or -105. That small fee (vig, juice, margin) is their profit.
To overcome these margins is one of the biggest challenges bettors face every day. Because of that sports handicappers always look for the odds with low juice.
The problem with parlays and teasers is that, once you combine more games on a ticket, these margins multiply and their bookmaker’s advantage is bigger. Watch a full video explanation, why you should stay away from parlays.
7. Pay attention to details
While most baseball gamblers focus on mainstream information and intuition, professionals are paying a lot of attention to the details.
- Weather – pay attention to wind or possible rain. When the wind blows in, it is benefical for unders, because many potential home runs stay in. Rain is another factor, because the game can be stopped or played as a short game, where most of the game is played by pitcher.
- Bullpens – Around 30% of the games are decided by the bullpen. Bullpen are reserve pitchers who will replace the starting pitcher. Many baseball bettors pay attention only to starting pitchers, but in average starting pitchers pitch around 5 innings. The winner of the game is in most cases decided in last 3-4 innings. Teams with good bullpens have a an advantage and can overcome their bad starting pitcher late in the game.
- Pitcher’s hand – Some teams are better versus left-handed pitchers, some teams are better versus right-handed pitchers. Some teams are extremely good or bad versus different pitcher’s hand.
- Umpires – another detail can be umpires in some specific games. It is a small detail, that will not be a huge factor, but it can be one small factor, when you are not sure if you want to take a bet or not.
8. Bet on smaller MLB markets
Sharp markets are harder to beat because you are not playing only against bookmakers, but also against other MLB bettors. It is a competition, where Moneyline market could be too sharp for rookie bettors.
If you can explore smaller baseball betting markets, like players props, Half time betting, or Half Time Totals, you can compete against weaker competition. This is another way how to bet baseball and win, it’s not just betting on game-winners.
9. Use advanced statistics
The whole betting industry is based on machine learning and algorithms. Smart sports handicappers use available advanced statistics in their favor. Baseball is an extremely data-driven sport, which gives sports bettors an opportunity to use smart and advanced statistics when making predictions.
Pitching statistics useful for betting
- xFIP expected fielding independent pitching, estimates a pitcher’s performance based on what he can control. This includes K’s, walks, hit-by-pitches, and flyballs allowed.
- FiP – fielding independent pitching, includes strikeouts, unintentional walks, hit-by-pitches and home runs
- xERA – is expected ERA, which doesn’t have strong predictive power, but you can compare xERA with ERA and if the discrepancy is big, take a closer look and pay more attention
- SIERA – Skill-interactive Earned Run Average estimates ERA through walk rate, strikeout rate and ground ball rate, excluding the effects of ballparks, defense and luck.
Hitting statistics useful for betting
- wRC+ is an improved statistic RC (runs created), invented by Bill James. Bill James tried to estimate the number of runs a hitter contributes to their team with this metric, but later it was improved as wRC+, which takes into account other factors, like ballparks.
- wOBA – Weighted on-base average, measure a player’s overall offensive contributions per plate appearance.
Teams statistics and metrics for betting
- The Pythagorean Theorem / Wins – another statistic by Bill James, which says that runs are more important than actual winning percentage when it comes to predictive power.
- Win shares – statistics of a player for his contributions for the year and it represent one-third of a team win, by definition.
10. Build a sports betting model for baseball
The best way to bet on baseball and win is by including baseball statistics into sports betting models. Sports betting models are tools, where useful baseball statistics are incorporated in algorithms with the goal of predicting the outcomes of MLB games.
Good MLB Betting Model is an essential part of identifying value bets. For more details on how to start creating a baseball betting model today, click here for a free course.
Baseball is one of the most popular sports to bet on. MLB season is played in summer when most other professional sports are in the offseason. In the regular season, there are 2430 games, where teams play basically every day from Monday to Sunday.
To bet baseball and win in the end will require a lot of research on a daily basis. Professional sports bettors must look at every single statistic and take into consideration all relevant information for each game. MLB betting model takes into account all relevant statistics about every single game. Such a baseball betting system saves time and makes betting predictions, that would not be possible otherwise.