Are you in a rut with your MLB betting? Is the variance of MLB baseball eating you alive? Yeah, it happens. There is so much volume to the 162-game baseball season that it’s common to experience some very nice winning streaks but also some prolonged dark periods throughout the year.
It doesn’t mean you’re a bad bettor. Maybe you just need a reset. When was the last time you took a good look at the standings? What about the recent standings? The same applies to individual performances. Who are the hottest hitters over the past week? Past month? What about the arms. Which bullpens can you trust right now?
Let’s take a trip around the league and break down the best MLB teams to bet along with those that should be faded. Along the way, we’ll sprinkle in our best MLB moneyline advice to aid your efforts betting baseball the rest of the way.
The Best MLB Moneyline Teams of 2023
The Tampa Bay Rays were the most profitable moneyline team in the MLB for several weeks thanks to their sky-high win rate, but that has long since subsided. Here’s a newsflash, if you’re still betting the Rays everyday, you’ve been throwing money away since the beginning of July.
Tampa has lost back all of the money they won at the beginning of the year and now have actually accrued year-to-date losses for their backers of $82. This is not the place to dive deeper into the Rays’ woes. We’ll do that later in the “worst teams and bets” section.
To begin to talk about which sides have been printing money in 2023, let’s throw down a list of the top-10 year-to-date earners in Major League Baseball this year and see if we can’t learn a thing or two from patterns we might unearth.
|Team||SU Record||Avg Odds||ML Profits|
Lessons to Learn in Identifying Good MLB Moneyline Bets
Here’s the first thing we want to draw your attention to. 3 of the top-10 most profitable teams this year are underdogs and 5 of the remaining 7 are very slim favorites, on average, of (-110) or less. The only 2 heavy favorites finding any sort of sustained success on the moneyline this year are the Braves and Rangers. No other teams who face big-time lays every night can hack it. They all lose their backers money.
Here’s a dirty little secret about big moneyline favorites: they’re almost never profitable. Sharp bettors know this and the bookies know that the sharp bettors know this, but they don’t really care. Do you know why?
Casual sports bettors put their money almost exclusively on favorites and overs. And they lose a lot.
It’s true, talk to any casual sports bettor who throws down a few bucks on the weekends and he’ll likely look for spots to bet on the most well-known franchises in the world. We’re talking about Real Madrid, the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Lakers, or the American women’s World Cup team.
These franchises have been more successful than the rest over the course of sports history, and that success has built up an inherent trust in the mind of a casual bettor. The casual bettor doesn’t weigh the odds before he places a bet. That’s too much work. The casual bettor simply clicks on the teams that he/she recognizes or roots for – almost always favorites.
The bookies can bank on getting tons of action on the favorite’s side whenever they roll out a big moneyline, so they don’t really care that all of the sharps will be betting on the underdog. It’s actually advantageous for them as bookies are always striving to create equal action on either side.
Sometimes the big favorite does win – in fact, they’ll win pretty often. This keeps the recreational bettors coming back for more until eventually they find themselves deep in the red with no clue of how they got there.
Avoiding a Common Trap in MLB Betting (and all Sports)
The sports media stokes a love of favorites and overs in the casual fan. Here at Wagerbop, we pride ourselves in actually giving valuable information to our readers, but many of the big-name sports entertainment syndicates (you know who we’re talking about) opt for sensationalist journalism that focuses on star players, the best teams, and offense. Look at the highlights shown for any sport – it’s always offense. The people want scoring, not boring defense.
Imagine the weekly buildup before a big NFL playoff game. The media will focus for an entire segment on the quarterback matchup or the health of the receivers and maybe, at the very end, use one short breath to mention a star defensive end or a hard-hitting safety.
Because the lines get so heavily inflated for favored teams and totals in matchups that are projected to be high scoring, a smart bettor’s first instinct should always be to look at the sides getting plus money. The dawgs.
Almost universally, books will incorporate more juice into their favorites than they will their underdogs. This means underdog bettors are (almost) always getting a more fair price while having the added benefit of owning a contrarian betting style.
Being a Contrarian Sports Bettor is Fun and Profitable
Being a contrarian means you think differently than the rest of the pack. When the Dodgers are major favorites and everybody is rushing to their computers to bet them because “they can’t lose,“ your first thought is to check the advanced metrics to see if there’s an angle that makes the underdog profitable.
Contrarian betting makes you look like a genius when you’re right, but it makes you look incredibly stupid when you’re wrong. You never wanna be the one guy in the room who goes against the favored team and then watches them crush the poor underdog by 12 runs. You’re going to hear a lot of “I told you so.“
Conversely, though, you’ll be lauded as a sports-betting god when you are the one person at your watch party adamant the underdog will win … and then they do.
Being contrarian is not only fun, it’s a necessity to separate yourself from contests with large player pools. This includes deep DFS tournaments, office survivor pools for the NFL, and your yearly March Madness bracket challenge entry.
A large chunk of the field is going to be betting favorites every single week. If you side along with them, you won’t really gain much when you win. Put your neck out there and bet on underdogs, though? Oh yeah, you’ll shoot to the top of the leaderboard because you had the guts to do what no one else in your field was willing to do. Being a contrarian is how you stick out from a big crowd.
Biggest MLB Moneyline Underdogs In 2023
With a contrarian approach in mind, let’s take a look at the biggest moneyline underdogs in the MLB this year and see which are turning a profit.
|Team||SU Record||Avg Odds||ML Profits|
First thing we notice here? 4 of the top-10 longest dawgs in the MLB this year are profitable on the moneyline. If sports betting worked the way casual folks thought it did, these teams would never win, right? There is big time value on the underdogs, folks.
The oddsmakers are quite good at their jobs. While they do pack a little bit of extra juice into the MLB favorites, the underdogs are not profitable in every situation. You can’t just come into an MLB season and say I’m going to bet every underdog the entire year and watch the profits roll in. It doesn’t work that way.
Betting every single favorite thus far in the 2023 MLB season would result in a loss of 124 units. Doing the same with underdogs would result in a loss of 19 units.
Making money betting on professional baseball is not as simple as blindly picking one side every single time. It is easier to beat the game betting on underdogs, but that doesn’t mean that they are blindly profitable – as the numbers clearly show. Finding good spots in which to back the underdogs is the key to long-term, consistent success betting Major League Baseball. The 10 teams in the first chart above (the biggest moneyline winners) are proof that it is very difficult for the heavy favorites to stay in the black.
Biggest Moneyline Favorites In MLB Betting 2023
To prove a point, let’s take a peek at the top-10 biggest moneyline favorites this year. The following teams are facing the steepest lines every single night:
|Team||SU Record||Avg Odds||ML Profits|
Almost every single team on this list of shortest moneyline favorites is in the red. If that doesn’t scare you off of these teams, nothing will.
If you want to add one thing to your sports-betting repertoire to enhance your bottom line, do this: bet on large, popular favorites ONLY IF you have a very good reason to do so. Oftentimes, you’ll find that you are only betting this team because of the name recognition or because of how many people around you are on the bandwagon. Cutting popular, heavy favorites from your card every day will greatly improve your profitability over the course of a baseball season.
How Often Do Big Moneyline Favorites Lose in the MLB?
Baseball is not really a sport in which you want to be trusting massive favorites. There’s quite a bit of parity in the game of baseball as even the worst teams in the league win around 60 games per season.
It has been said in the MLB that every single team is going to win 30% of their games and they’re going to lose 30% of their games. Diversity arises through what a team does with the remaining 40%.
From a mathematical standpoint, do you think it sounds smart to take a (-300) favorite in baseball when even the best teams in the league are going to lose more than 30% of their games? No, that does not sound very smart as the required win rate just to break even on a (-300) bet is 75%. Unless you’ve identified a rare spot in which a team has a greater than 75% chance to win, it’s not a good bet.
When a top team like the Rays or Dodgers faces off with a bottom feeder like the Rockies or Royals, the lines can get pretty lopsided. It’s not uncommon to see a (-250) or (-300) line every once in a while in professional baseball.
Here’s what large MLB favorites (-200 or shorter) are doing this season along with what they’ve done in the past:
|Season||SU Record (%)||Avg Line||ML Profit|
|Total||72.7%||-241||$27,935 (3.5% ROI)|
Wow! Not what we were expecting! (-200) favorites – or shorter – have been money lately! Betting these extremely short moneylines can test a bettor’s patience, though, because even a small losing streak will really sting.
So let’s put this all together. We’ve learned that while betting strictly MLB favorites, in general, is a losing move. However, betting large favorites (-200 or shorter) has proven to be very profitable over the past 10 seasons or so. Perhaps it is those -135 to -175 faves we need to be wary of.
Worst MLB Teams and Bets Since July 1st
The story of the Rays’ disappearing moneyline profits is as old as time. As a team continues to rack up wins, the books continue to hike the rate at which you must pay to obtain a piece of their action. You can get them at (-120) in April, (-140) in May, and (-180) in June – each requiring a better win rate than the one before it just to break even. Eventually, you reach a tipping point at which the team can no longer be profitable, and the reverse effect takes place.
The Red Sox (15-7) and Mariners (16-9) have been the 2 best teams in baseball since the beginning of July, setting a torrid pace in the AL Wild Card race. While the good have been eating, what have the bad been up to? About what you’d expect – a lot of losing – although July’s bad teams might surprise you.
|Team||Since 7/1||Avg Line Since 7/1||Overall||GB in DIV|
You may be expecting to see Kansas City, Colorado, or Washington on this list, but they’ve picked up their play a bit. Instead, good teams like the DBacks and Rays help populate our list.
Ranked by moneyline profits (or losses) since July 1, the Rays are officially the coldest team on the moneyline in the MLB. Here is a list of the league’s biggest losers (at the window) over the past month.
|Team||Record Since 7/1||Avg Line Since 7/1||ML Profits Since 7/1|
Laying big money is a killer. Look at the 5 worst moneyline teams over the past month, 5 out of the 5 are favorites every night, especially the Rays and Yankees. Let this be a lesson, although there are definitely spots where betting favorites is valuable – taking them every single night is a one-way trip to Brokeville.