Baseball Handicapping: Streak Systems
by Darin Zank - 5/18/2011
Baseball betting systems are, like the old saying goes, like rear ends; everybody's got one. One of the oldest betting systems involves streaks, both winning and losing. The basic idea being that a great many baseball games, over the course of the long season, fall into one of those two categories. And when a team is hot, bet them to stay hot, and conversely, when a team is cold, bet them to remain cold.
For the uninitiated, “streak betting” involves backing teams on winning streaks of three games or more, and going against teams on losing streaks of three or more. Simple enough, right? But is it profitable? Going by the results of last week, that answer might be “yes.”
Last Monday four teams entered the week on streaks of three games or more, although only one of them was playing. The Colorado Rockies were on a four-game losing streak, and yet favored by -165 over the New York Mets. So the play was the Mets. But with a theoretical $100 bet on New York at +155 streak bettors got off to a slow start to the week, as the Rockies ended their slide with a 2-1 victory.
Tuesday 10 teams owned streaks of three games or more, and two games matched a team on a winning streak vs. a team on a losing streak. We call those games “double plays,” involving a bet on the team with the winning streak and a bet against the team on a losing streak. The Boston Red Sox, winners of three straight, were favored by -160 over the Toronto Blue Jays, who had lost three in a row. And the Detroit Tigers, winners of three straight, were favored at -105 over the Minnesota Twins, who at that point had lost three straight. So we had double plays on Boston and Detroit. We also had single plays on Tampa Bay at +125 at Cleveland, on Pittsburgh at -115 vs. the Dodgers, on the White Sox at +110 at the Angels, on Seattle at +100 at Baltimore, on San Francisco at -170 vs. Arizona and on Cincinnati at -130 at Houston.
The Tigers, Giants and Reds provided us with wins Tuesday night, while the Rays, Pirates, Red Sox, White Sox and Mariners all went down. So Tuesday's total, on our fictional $100 bets and the double plays on Boston and Detroit, resulted in a $335 loss, putting us down $435 on the week.
Things began to turn around, though, on Wednesday. Six teams entered the day on streaks, and two games fell into our double play category. The Tigers, at +115, beat the Twins, while the Reds, at -105, lost to Houston. Also, on single plays, Baltimore, at +120, extended Seattle's losing streak to four; and San Fran, at -150, extended its winning streak to five by beating Arizona. So on the day we won $240, putting us at -$195 on the week.
Thursday gave us two double plays, and both came in. The Orioles beat the Mariners again, and the Giants beat the Diamondbacks again. Which gave us a profit of $400 on the day, and put us up $205 on the week.
Friday gave us six plays, on Detroit, Baltimore and San Francisco, and against Minnesota, Seattle and Arizona. The Tigers won, and the Twins, M's and D-Backs all lost, which helped us make $200 on the day, putting us up $405 on the week.
Saturday was basically a wash for streak betting, as four wins and three defeats resulted in a $10 loss, bringing us to + $395 on the week.
Then Sunday three wins, including a double play on Toronto at Minnesota, gave us a $300 profit. So streak betting produced a theoretical profit last week of $695, or almost seven units. Not bad for just perusing the extended standings each day.
And our double plays last week went 6-3, for a profit of $430.
This week streak betting got off to a winning start. Ten teams came into Monday on streaks of three games or more. However, with Detroit and Toronto playing each other with both on winning steaks, and Minnesota and Seattle playing each other with both on losing streaks, we eliminated those games from consideration. That gave us plays on Boston, Cincinnati and Milwaukee, and plays against the Yankees, Cardinals and Pirates, which resulted in five wins and just one loss, and a profit of $360. Happy days, eh?
Tuesday, with postponements canceling three of our plays, we won four bets by getting down on Atlanta and Cincinnati and going against Kansas City and Philadelphia. But we also lost four bets by taking Tampa Bay, San Diego and a double play on Milwaukee, and going against Minnesota, which finally broke its nine-game losing streak by winning out in Seattle. So on the day we took a $225 loss, bringing our total for the week to + $135.
For Wednesday our streak betting system calls for plays on Toronto, Boston, Cleveland, Atlanta and a double play on Cincinnati; and plays against KC, the Angels, Philly, the Cubs and Houston.
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