Makinen: Underdog and streak MLB bullpen betting systems bring results




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As promised, I have another MLB Monday bullpen systems update and it’s a good one, as we are coming off an overall profitable week, highlighted by huge performances from the underdog and streak angles that we’ve been tracking over the past month or so. I have updated all systems with results through Sunday, May 14th.

Hopefully, this isn’t your first time reading one of my weekly bullpen system pieces. If it is, to familiarize you with the methodology, over the course of the last 5+ years while with VSiN, I’ve employed a generic system of tracking the results of teams that have a bullpen rating edge on my scale. It has done consistently well, producing profits each season in that span. However, I’ve always felt it was something I could improve on by narrowing the scope of what should actually be wagered. I’ve done that by breaking down the bullpen edges by line ranges and other various game situations. I will get into those later.

For now, the general bullpen system was pretty good last week, going 52-39 for +5.6 units, and we head into Monday’s (the 15th) games on a 5-day profit streak. These were the results by day:

Monday 5/8: 5-6, -2.29 units

Tuesday 5/9: 7-8, -2.75 units

Wednesday 5/10: 9-6, +1.86 units

Thursday 5/11: 4-2, +1.17 units

Friday 5/12: 11-4, +6.4 units

Saturday 5/13: 8-7, +0.56 units

Sunday 5/14: 8-6, +0.65 units


Adding these numbers to the overall season records of this methodology, we are now at 343-250 for +13.28 units, an R.O.I. of 2.2%. The profit & R.O.I. numbers are a bit lower than they have been for the past five seasons, but it stands to reason that you’ll find more fluctuating of the bullpen ratings earlier in the season as teams stabilize their relief staffs.

If you have read the last two weeks of bullpen updates, you’ll recall that I released four different bullpen advantage angles that have proven more definitive than the overall system, and they’ve allowed more discerning bettors to focus on a more specific set of games each night. Keep in mind that they all are based upon the all-important philosophy that betting teams with better bullpens makes foundational sense. These are those systems and the updated records for the season based on what happened last week. I will continue to update these throughout the season:


Better bullpen but overpriced angle

–  Highly-priced better bullpen teams enjoyed a rare successful week this past seven days, going 9-2. Now, in games this season through Sunday 5/14 in which the team with my better-rated bullpen was listed as a favorite of -190 or more, that team is now 77-38, but for -7.86 units. Considering that the overall profit for the season has been +13.28 units, it shows how much these big favorites are dragging the overall system down. Had you removed these edges from your plays all season long, the profit would be up over +20 units.


Overpriced better bullpen without a big starting pitcher edge angle

– In combining starting pitcher differences in looking at these games with -190 favorites or higher, there’s been an even better opportunity to avoid games. Specifically, when the starting pitcher difference between the better bullpen team is less than 20, these big favorites have gone just 13-26 for -45.62 units! This angle was 2-2 last week for -3.9 units as two different mediocre starting pitchers of -190 or higher in games lost. In my opinion, there has to be a massive starting pitcher strength difference between the teams to even consider paying these prices. The R.O.I. on this has been -117%, and if you would have taken these games out of the entire MLB Bullpen system, the profits would be up to almost 60 units!


Better bullpen underdog teams remain solid

–  Money line underdog teams with better bullpen ratings enjoyed another big week, going 16-13 for +8.13 units. For the season, these gems are now 85-71 for +39.36 units, an R.O.I. of 25.2%!


Better bullpen teams thwart losing streaks

–  Finally, I discovered over the last few weeks that backing better bullpen teams on losing streaks has also proven fruitful. After updating the results from this past week of games, when on 2-game losing streaks, the teams with better bullpen ratings in a matchup have gone 60-35 for +14.9 units. Better bullpen teams on 3+ game losing streaks have gone 33-6 for +27.26 units, including 6-0 last week! The R.O.I. on that magnificent system is 69.9%!

Obviously, the success rates of the systems continue to improve, making them must consider angles moving forward. Hopefully, you can agree with the thought that these are foundational systems and allow bettors to turn profits without investing in every game. From my own standpoint, I am never comfortable paying very high prices for any single baseball game in a regular season, and solid underdogs with good bullpens are always of great value. Likewise, teams with good bullpens don’t tend to get stuck in lengthy losing skids.

Now, let’s take an updated look at some of the key bullpen stats that have been accumulated so far this season, as well as my current Bullpen Power Ratings as we head into this week’s games. Note, ratings were as of games through Sunday, May 14th and I do update them on a daily basis.


Key Bullpen Stats (through games of May 14th)

Top 5 Bullpen ERA’s

  1. Seattle: 2.81
  2. Baltimore: 3.05
  3. Cleveland: 3.14
  4. New York Yankees: 3.20
  5. Houston: 3.33

Worst 5 Bullpen ERAs

  1. Oakland: 7.01
  2. Chicago White Sox: 5.97
  3. San Francisco: 5.95
  4. Kansas City: 5.03
  5. Arizona: 4.56

Top 5 Bullpen WHIPs

  1. New York Mets: 1.15
  2. Detroit: 1.17
  3. Baltimore: 1.18
  4. Houston: 1.18
  5. Cleveland: 1.2

Worst 5 Bullpen WHIPs

  1. Oakland: 1.72
  2. Chicago White Sox: 1.62
  3. San Francisco: 1.53
  4. Kansas City: 1.46
  5. Philadelphia: 1.41

Top 5 Bullpen Ks/9 innings

  1. Kansas City: 10.84
  2. Baltimore: 10.68
  3. Houston: 10.49
  4. Philadelphia: 10.4
  5. St Louis: 10.33

Worst 5 Bullpen Ks/9 innings

  1. Tampa Bay: 6.98
  2. Washington: 7.2
  3. Oakland: 7.27
  4. Boston: 7.76
  5. Milwaukee: 8.14

Top 5 Bullpen Last 7 Games WHIPs

  1. Philadelphia: 0.81
  2. Los Angeles Dodgers: 0.85
  3. Baltimore: 0.93
  4. Houston: 0.97
  5. Milwaukee: 0.97

Worst 5 Bullpen Last 7 Games WHIPs

  1. Boston: 1.84
  2. New York Yankees: 1.75
  3. Oakland: 1.67
  4. Tampa Bay: 1.62
  5. San Francisco: 1.61

As a reminder, I use a manual process of analyzing daily box scores to build my Bullpen Power Ratings. In most cases, the end number is a reflection of the stats listed above with great consideration also given to overall talent, injuries, and momentum.

Biggest Movers in SM Bullpen Power Ratings since last week Monday the 8th of May:

Biggest upward movers (PR points)

  1. Philadelphia: +9 points
  2. Arizona: +7
  3. St Louis: +6, Colorado: +6
  4. Miami: +4

Biggest downward movers (PR points)

  1. Oakland: -11 points
  2. Chicago Cubs: -7, Tampa Bay: -7
  3. New York Yankees: -6, Atlanta: -6

Steve’s Current Bullpen Ratings/Ranks

Rank – Team – Bullpen PR

  1. Houston: 21
  2. Seattle: 15
  3. New York Yankees: 12
  4. Baltimore: 11
  5. Los Angeles Dodgers: 10
  6. Toronto: 10
  7. Philadelphia: 10
  8. Cleveland: 10
  9. Milwaukee: 9
  10. Tampa Bay: 8
  11. Los Angeles Angels: 7
  12. Detroit: 7
  13. St Louis: 6
  14. Atlanta: 5
  15. New York Mets: 5
  16. Boston: 5
  17. San Diego: 4
  18. Minnesota: 3
  19. Colorado: 3
  20. Chicago Cubs: 2
  21. Pittsburgh: 2
  22. Cincinnati: 1
  23. Texas: 0
  24. Arizona: -1
  25. Miami: -1
  26. Kansas City: -6
  27. Washington: -7
  28. Chicago White Sox: -14
  29. San Francisco: -16
  30. Oakland: -38

These are sorted first by bullpen ranking and then by overall team power rating. Remember to be selective using the drill-down systems I shared above. Good luck with your baseball wagering this week.