Sports Betting Insights: Wagering on Mid-Season MLB Futures
by Dave Schwab - 7/9/2014
The MLB regular season has reached the mid-point of its extended 162-game schedule, and Bovada has updated its MLB futures odds to reflect the results from the first half of the season. The trick in betting MLB futures this time of the year is finding the value in the numbers now that you have a good idea of which teams are true contenders and which ones have proven to be pretenders.
AL and NL Pennant Futures
My starting point when it comes to futures bets on winning a league pennant is to compare the numbers at the beginning of the season to what is currently posted on the futures board for the top four teams in both the National and American League. When it comes to the odds to win the pennant, the chances are pretty high that one of these four teams will be your winner.
The preseason betting odds to win a league pennant are based on predicted results, which are heavily influenced by a team's performance the previous season. The posted odds this time of year are heavily based on each team's first-half record as well as the money coming in from the betting public. The value in the numbers lies in the team that you think has the best chance to make it to the World Series from their respective league, so avoid the temptation to base your picks on current form as this has to carry all the way through both rounds of the playoffs.
Everyone knows just how important starting pitching is to winning in the postseason, but equally important is a team's bullpen at that time of the year. One or two hot starters is oftentimes not enough to carry a team all the way to the World Series as depth throughout the entire staff is a true indication of just how effective this team will be when the playoffs roll around.
You also have to avoid the temptation to put too much weight on teams that are scoring a ton of runs right now. Even the most powerful lineups have been shut down in the postseason, so you have to look for teams that are doing all the little things right. Statistics such as OBP (on base percentage) and OPS, which is a combination of OBP and slugging percentage, are much better indicators of just how solid a team is throughout its entire lineup.
Injuries are another thing to keep in mind when looking for your top two futures odds plays to win a league pennant. If nagging injuries have hampered a few of a team's top players, especially when it comes to pitching, there is a good chance that these will continue to be an issue all the way into the postseason. It is hard to get completely healthy over such a long and grueling season, and most times these players fail to get back to top form.
MLB Division Futures
Bovada has also posted futures odds to win a division, but it is a bit harder to find any true value in these numbers. The odds on the obvious favorites are definitely not in your favor, and even the odds on the surprise teams have been properly adjusted to squeeze out whatever value was left.
Even in the tightest division races, you have to make a reach on the third or fourth-best team in the current standings to generate any kind of decent return. That is not to say that one of these teams cannot win it all, but your confidence level needs to be pretty high when it comes to pulling the trigger on an actual bet.
World Series Futures
When it comes to the futures odds to win the World Series , you should be down to just two teams if you took the time to do your homework on both pennant races. Do not waiver from these two picks, but u nless you really like one team over the other, this is another futures bet to avoid.
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Read more articles by Dave Schwab
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