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Betting on MLB is the definition of a grind. There will be weeks where things feel too good to be true, and there will be weeks where you can't pick a winner if your life depended on it. Such is life when you're betting the sport with the most built-in variance on a daily basis. As John Sterling is known to say, "That's baseball, Suzyn."
The first few weeks of the season are especially hard to handicap. We're still trying to figure out what each team really is. The weather is still cold across the country. Pitchers aren't stretched out fully and some hitters are still trying to get in rhythm. However, keeping up with recent streaks and trends is important. The tough decision is knowing whether it's time to bet on the streak to continue or whether it's time to start betting on some regression.
The Rockies are baseball's most profitable team so far
When you think about the best teams in baseball, you probably think of teams like the Dodgers and Astros. However, the most profitable team from a betting perspective through the first two weeks of the season has been the Colorado Rockies.
The Rockies were projected to be one of the worst teams in baseball. Their preseason win total was just 69.5 wins. However, they're off to an 8-4 start this season. Bettors who bet $100 on the Rockies on a game-by-game basis would be up $608 already this season.
The Rockies are 6-2 as underdogs, but just 2-2 as betting favorites. While I wouldn't look to lay juice with Colorado and bet it when it's in the favorite role, it's shown the ability to bark as an underdog early in the season.
Baseball's second most profitable team has been the Oakland Athletics. The Athletics traded away almost their whole team in the offseason and they were expected to be very bad. However, Oakland is off to a surprising 7-6 start, and despite Oakland being just one game over .500, bettors are up 4.7 units on Oakland to begin the season.
Oakland was the betting underdog in each of its first 10 games, but the A's already have five wins this season where they were +160 or larger on the moneyline. The Athletics have another game against the Orioles on Thursday and then a weekend series against the Rangers, so maybe they can continue their hot start.
The Cardinals (7-3), Mets (9-4) and Giants (8-4) are all off to great starts to begin the year, and they round out the top five most profitable teams to begin the year.
On the flip-side, the five teams costing bettors the most money are:
Cincinnati (2-11), bettors down 7.8 units
Texas (2-9), bettors down 6 units
Philadelphia (5-8), bettors down 4.1 units
Minnesota (4-8), bettors down 4.1 units
Atlanta (6-8), bettors down 2.9 units
Hope you're not betting overs in Baltimore games
We are 12 games into the Baltimore Orioles' season. Nobody expected the Orioles to be very good, and they aren't. They are 4-8 through 12 games. However, we're not looking at their win-loss record today. Instead, let's take a look at their performance against the total.
Through 12 games, Baltimore games have gone under 11 times and pushed once. If you've bet the over in every Baltimore game, you've yet to win a bet this season.
On average, there have been just 5.1 runs per game in Orioles contests. They've scored just 24 runs in 12 games. Their .206 batting average ranks fifth from the bottom. Surprisingly, their pitching has held up pretty well as their 2.57 ERA ranks top five in baseball.
As a general guideline, the under has been the way to go across baseball to begin the year. In the first 170 games of the season, 102 games have gone under, good for a 60% win rate.
In total, just four teams have had more than half of their games go over the total. Those teams are the Reds, Rangers, Cubs and Guardians. In addition to the Orioles, the Diamondbacks, Yankees, Twins and Royals are all hitting the under at a rate of 70% or better.
The way too early award picture
There's still approximately 150 games remaining in the MLB regular season, but there are betting odds posted for the end of season awards, so we might as well analyze how the market is moving.
AL Cy Young: Gerrit Cole opened the season as the betting favorite, but Cole has a 6.35 ERA through three starts and couldn't get out of the second inning in his most recent start. He's gone from +400 to +900 to win the Cy Young, but still has the third-best odds. Shane Bieber is the new betting favorite at +700. Dylan Cease has gone from 16-to-1 to 8-to-1 since the start of the season. Justin Verlander (10-to-1) and Luis Severino (30-to-1) are two pitchers returning from long absences who have seen their odds improve in the early part of the season.
NL Cy Young: Jacob deGrom opened as a huge favorite at +350 to win the NL Cy Young. However, he hasn't pitched this season and isn't particularly close to returning from injury. DeGrom is currently 35-to-1 to win the award. His teammate, Max Scherzer, is the new betting favorite at +600. Corbin Burnes (+800), Walker Buehler (+900), Carlos Rodon (+900) and Clayton Kershaw (15-to-1) round out the top five favorites.
AL MVP: Shohei Ohtani opened as the favorite to win AL MVP, and he's still there. Ohtani is +275 to win the award. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is right on his tail at +350. Luis Robert has gone from 30-to-1 to 16-to-1 to win AL MVP. Jose Ramirez has gone from 25-to-1 to 12-to-1 as well.
NL MVP: At +400, Juan Soto is the favorite to win NL MVP. He opened as the betting favorite and maintained his standing there. A pair of Mets has shot up the leaderboard, as Francisco Lindor has gone from 30-to-1 to 10-to-1 and Pete Alonso has gone from 40-to-1 to 20-to-1 to win MVP.