MLB Bullpen Betting System Update for Week of July 7:

This week’s MLB Bullpen Systems update wraps up a tough holiday week overall for the “Easiest” system. In fact, it’s been a couple of tough weeks in a row for that angle, and it has driven us back under the even profit line. However, most of the other drill-down systems I’ve been tracking for readers in the MLB Analytics Reports each day continue to perform at a respectable level, including the small underdog better bullpen system that is arguably the most foundational of all, and as a result is producing at a very healthy level, now up +15.36 units for the season.

For those of you perhaps new to the MLB Bullpen Systems, they derive from my own fundamental belief that backing teams with better bullpen performance consistently over the course of a season will lead to profits, or in the least, minimize losses. It has done so in every year I have shared the logic. This season has been a somewhat volatile one for the angles, and although we still remain in negative territory for the simplest of the systems, I have preached that diligent patience is key to letting this methodology bloom.


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Looking back at last summer, some VSiN readers that were perhaps looking for a shortcut asked what would take time out of the process. That led to THE EASIEST WAY TO PLAY THE BULLPEN SYSTEM. You will see that by simply taking the better rated bullpen team on my scale and avoiding those -190 or higher favorites that weren’t at least 19% better in winning percentage than the opponent that you would have netted +45.66 units in 2023. That is a pretty nice 2.2% return for a very simple yet very fundamentally sound methodology. The ROI for this year is -2.5% after a prolonged period of up & down results. Looking at the “easiest way” results since my last bullpen update by day:

Monday 7/1: 2-1, +0.56 units
Tuesday 7/2: 11-2, +8.87 units
Wednesday 7/3: 5-8, -6.8 units
Thursday 7/4: 6-9, +5.7 units
Friday 7/5: 7-7, -2.3 units
Saturday 7/6: 5-10, -7.3 units
Sunday 7/7: 9-6, +1.07 units

Overall, the last seven days produced a record of 45-43 for -11.6 units, leaving us at –31.35 units for the season. VSiN readers who have followed me for years know that I preach persistence when it comes to this method of wagering. That said, our 2024 results are well below usual standards. I will still be utilizing the method for my own personal wagering if that helps, as it is a foundational belief that drives this system for me, and peaks and valleys are part of it.

When you consider that the average MLB bettor playing every game for the season would be approximately -127 units down with average performance, being -31.35 units down for this system is still a tremendously advantageous strategy for such a simplistic system betting every game. Narrowing down the plays and using greater discernment in your baseball wagering can provide an even bigger edge. This is one of the main reasons we produce such a multi-faceted Analytics Report each day.

Remember, to full implement these strategies into your daily baseball betting routine, you only need two things: 1) the details of the systems as noted below and 2) VSiN Pro Access to MAKINEN DAILY POWER RATINGS page under the MLB tab on You can also have the work of qualifying the angles done for you in our latest VSiN feature called the MLB Analytics Report. No serious baseball bettor should be without it.

I do narrow the plays with what I believe are more sharpened systems employing some various situations. Here is an update of the various system records with results through Sunday, 7/7:

The easiest way to play the bullpen system
Better-rated bullpen teams that were not favorites of -190 or higher or were -190 or higher and had a winning percentage of 19% or higher went 1200-916 in the ’23 regular season for +45.66 units, a 2.2% season-long return on investment. Nearing the midway point of the 2024 regular season, they are 669-564 for -31.35 units. This is well below usual standards after a couple of losing weeks in a row.

Back big favorites (-190 or more) with better bullpen ratings and winning percentage >=19% higher than opponent
A 2023 mid-season bullpen ratings discovery found that big favorites of -190 or higher with better bullpens and a winning percentage of 19% or more than their opponent were 145-61 for +9.08 units in the regular season. Some big favorites do prove worthy of backing consistently, regardless of the high prices, because the games are absolute mismatches. The ROI on this angle settled at +4.4%. In the first half of the 2024 season thus far, the record of this angle is back to positive at 67-27 for -0.47 units after some big losses over the last two weeks.

Fade better bullpen overpriced favorites of -190 or higher when win percentage difference of teams is <19%
In games of the 2023 regular season in which the team with the Steve Makinen better rated bullpen was listed as a favorite of -190 or higher and had a winning percentage less than 19% higher than the opponent, that team owned a 171-106 record, but for -84.47 units. That represented an ROI of -30.5%! So far in 2024, these teams are again losing money, 60-36 for -16.88 units and a ROI of -17.6%.

Fading overpriced better bullpen without big starting pitcher edge angle was the 2023 regular season’s most lucrative system
In combining starting pitcher differences in looking at games with -190 favorites or higher, there was a huge opportunity to be selective in fading overpriced favorites. Specifically, when the starting pitcher difference between the better Steve Makinen rated bullpen team was less than 20, those big favorites went just 80-74, but for -87.21 units in the regular season! This angle has been 40-23 since opening day 2024 and has lost -10.01 units, a season-long ROI of -15.9%.

Better bullpen underdog teams are typically solid wagers all season long
A frequent and profitable system in the ‘23 season, and prior to that as well, arose when the team with the better SM Bullpen Ratings played as an underdog (or pick ’em). Money line underdog teams with better bullpen ratings for the season were 341-346 for +72.72 units. The ROI of this angle produced a healthy 10.6%. In the first half of the ’24 season, these teams have produced a 197-231 record, for -4.75 units (ROI -1.1%). This angle did produce +2.04 units last week (14-13).

Better bullpen underdog teams in -110 to +144 range have won nicely
Digging in deeper to the better bullpen underdog system above, when limiting the plays to those better bullpen underdogs (or pick ’em) in the -110 to +144 range, these teams have produced a 175-176 record for +15.36 units (ROI 4.4%). I believe this angle has a bit more merit than the overall bullpen underdog system in that the better bullpens figure to be the difference in games that are expected to be highly competitive. This angle has really stabilized over the past month or so.

Worse bullpens struggle to extend winning streaks
In 2023, it was found that fading teams with lesser SM bullpen ratings that were looking to extend winning streaks was also a strong strategy. On two-game winning streaks, the teams with worse Steve Makinen Bullpen Ratings in a matchup were 240-249 for -28.51 units, an ROI of -5.8%. Worse bullpen teams on 3+ game winning streaks finished the regular season with a record of 99-119 for -16.61 units. The ROI on that system finished at -7.6%. For 2024 so far, these two-game teams have gone 107-125 for -14.58 units. The three-game teams are 52-56 for -1.54 units.

Better bullpen teams were capable of building lengthy winning streaks
In conducting a study of teams with better bullpens on winning streaks last season, when looking at teams with better Steve Makinen Bullpen Ratings looking to extend three-game winning streaks, I tracked that those teams that went 241-168 for +11.33 units, a respectable ROI of 2.7%, a slight improvement on the overall record of the “easiest way system.” For 2024, better bullpen teams on a 3-game winning streak are 119-107 for -9.08 units (-4.0% ROI) through Sunday, 7/7. Over the last two weeks, this system has taken a big hit (-12.24 units).

Better bullpen teams thwarted potentially lengthy losing streaks
Better bullpen teams on 3+ game losing streaks went 119-79 for +22.2 units in the 2023 regular season. The ROI for the season closed at 11.2%! There have been 97 plays on this angle so far in 2024 through 6/23, and these teams are 58-50 for +2.23 units. This angle has been stuck in neutral for most of this season but has enjoyed a 13-6, +6.88-unit performance over the last three weeks.

These simple angles that can be qualified each day by utilizing the MAKINEN DAILY RATINGS page on or easily found on the MLB Analytics Report.

Here are the updated key bullpen stats that were accumulated in games through Sunday, 7/7:

Key MLB Bullpen Stats (through games of Sunday, 7/7)

Top 5 MLB Bullpen ERAs
1. CLEVELAND: 2.59
2. ATLANTA: 2.97
3. MILWAUKEE: 3.29
4. LA DODGERS: 3.34

Worst 5 MLB Bullpen ERAs
30. COLORADO: 5.64
29. TORONTO: 4.77
28. LA ANGELS: 4.7
27. PITTSBURGH: 4.52

Top 5 MLB Bullpen WHIPs
1. CLEVELAND: 1.03
2. LA DODGERS: 1.12
3. SEATTLE: 1.15
4. BALTIMORE: 1.16
5. ATLANTA: 1.17

Worst 5 MLB Bullpen WHIPs
30. COLORADO: 1.6
28. KANSAS CITY: 1.43
27. ARIZONA: 1.38
26. PITTSBURGH: 1.36

Top 5 MLB Bullpen Ks/9 innings
1. NY METS: 10.25
4. TEXAS: 9.4

Worst 5 MLB Bullpen Ks/9 innings
30. COLORADO: 7.25
29. ARIZONA: 7.27
28. KANSAS CITY: 7.3
27. TORONTO: 7.88
26. LA ANGELS: 8.17

Top 5 MLB Bullpen Last 7 Games WHIPs
1. ATLANTA: 0.74
2. NY YANKEES: 0.8
3. SEATTLE: 0.88
5. TEXAS: 1.03

Worst 5 MLB Bullpen Last 7 Games WHIPs
30. KANSAS CITY: 1.95
29. OAKLAND: 1.74
28. LA DODGERS: 1.72
27. NY METS: 1.68
26. MILWAUKEE: 1.66

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 MLB Bullpen Power Ratings since 7/1:

Biggest upward movers (PR points)
T-1. SEATTLE: +5 points
T-1. ATLANTA: +5
T-5. ST. LOUIS: +3
T-5. TORONTO: +3

Biggest downward movers (PR points)
1. MILWAUKEE: -9 points
T-2. BOSTON: -7
T-5. TAMPA BAY: -6

Steve’s Current Bullpen Ratings/Ranks (as of 7/8)

Rank – Team – Bullpen PR
1. ATLANTA: 28
7. HOUSTON: 14
9. ST. LOUIS: 10
10. TEXAS: 8
11. BOSTON: 6
14. SEATTLE: 4
17. LA ANGELS: 1
18. OAKLAND: 0
20. MIAMI: -1
21. TAMPA BAY: -2
22. SAN DIEGO: -3
23. NY METS: -3
25. TORONTO: -5
26. ARIZONA: -8
27. DETROIT: -8
29. KANSAS CITY: -12
30. COLORADO: -35

These are sorted first by bullpen ranking, and then by overall team power rating.

As we head into this week’s games, there are just two teams on 3+ game winning streak (DET, TEX) and two teams on a 3+ game losing skids (CIN, TB).

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Steve Makinen
As one of the original founders of StatFox, Steve Makinen has been in the business of sports betting and data analysis for almost 25 years now. In his time in the industry, Steve has worked in a variety of capacities on both sides of the betting counter, from his early days of developing the StatFox business, to almost a decade of oddsmaking consulting for one of the world's leading sportsbooks, to his last seven years as Point Spread Weekly and Analytics Director with VSiN. Steve has always believed that number crunching and handicapping through foundational trends and systems is the secret to success and he shares this data with VSiN readers on a daily basis for all of the major sports.