MLB Bullpen System Betting Trend Update

I haven’t been able to post a full MLB Bullpen Systems article in a few weeks, but those following the VSiN Analytics Reports daily know that I have been updating the systems regularly. That said, in this current update, including games played through Sunday 5/26, I have put together the latest stats and records to keep everyone apprised of how we are doing.

To summarize the recent results, we have been treading water somewhat over the past few weeks, as it seems that we take one step forward, one step back. That said, a few of the more specific systems have been doing very well, including the overpriced angles as well as the better bullpen underdog trends. I have even added a line-oriented underdog angle to help bettors focus more on specific underdogs that have more value. With that in mind, let’s get into updating the early 2024 season records of all of the MLB Bullpen Systems.


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One of the key points that every bettor needs to realize about these bullpen systems is that even with a -0.5% season-long ROI for the EASIEST WAY system, it still provides a tremendous advantage over simply randomly stabbing at games. In fact, the average baseball bettor performs at -3.1% ROI over the course of a season. As I stressed before, this line of thinking is foundational and gives bettors a consistent advantage.

After numerous inquiries last year on how to use this valuable info, I shared with readers 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 you would have netted +45.66 units. That is a pretty nice 2.2% return for a very simple yet very fundamentally sound methodology. The ROI for this year is -0.6% after a few weeks of up & down results. Looking at the “easiest way” results since my last bullpen update by day:

Monday 5/20: 2-7, -6.37 units
Tuesday 5/21: 6-8, -3.87 units
Wednesday 5/22: 9-5, +3.65 units
Thursday 5/23: 7-1, +6.7 units
Friday 5/24: 8-5, +1.07 units
Saturday 5/25: 9-4, +4.72 units
Sunday 5/26: 6-7, -2.87 units

Overall, the last seven days produced +2.03 units of profit, leaving us at -4.34 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. It is a foundational belief that drives this system, and peaks and valleys are part of it, but long-term winning is the goal. When you consider that the average MLB bettor playing every game for the season would be approximately 47 units down with average performance, being only 4.34 units down for this system has still provided a tremendous advantage.

Remember, to fully 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.

Now, here is an update of the various MLB bullpen system records with results through Sunday 5/26:

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 2023 regular season for +45.66 units, a 2.2% season-long return on investment. So far in 2024, they are 400-329 for -4.34 units. This is below usual standards, and I expect things to improve.

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 early part of the 2024 season thus far, the record of this angle is still slightly negative but improving quickly at 48-20 for -0.02 units.

Fade better bullpen overpriced favorites of -190 or higher when the 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 fading fast, 31-23 for -18.7 units and an ROI of -34.6%. After last week’s 4-9 (-9.82 unit) performance, the ROI on this system has dropped 62% over the past 50 days!

Overpriced better bullpen without a 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’s 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 25-18 since opening day 24 and has lost -14.3 units, a season-long ROI of -33.3%.

Better bullpen underdog teams are typically solid wagers all season long
A frequent and profitable system in the 2023 season, and prior to that as well, arose when the team with the better SM Bullpen Ratings played as an underdog (or pick ’em). Moneyline 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 early part of the 2024 season, these teams have produced a 127-142 record, for +4.68 units (ROI 1.7%). This angle has settled in lately.

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 114-108 record, for +17.4 units (ROI 7.8%). This is an angle I will be watching more closely going forward.

Worse bullpens struggle in extending 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, a 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 70-72 for +3.39 units. The three-game teams are 36-34 for +6.35 units. Both of these angles are unusually profitable and I will continue to watch them closely to validate their usefulness.

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 three-game winning streak are 76-62 for +6.55 units (4.7% ROI) through Sunday, 5/26.

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 75 plays on this angle so far in ’24 through 5/26, and these teams are 39-36 for -3.24 units.

These simple angles 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 5/26:

Key MLB Bullpen Stats (through games of Sunday, 5/26)

Top 5 Bullpen ERAs
1. CLEVELAND: 2.55
2. NY YANKEES: 2.94
3. LA DODGERS: 3.25
4. BOSTON: 3.31
5. ATLANTA: 3.35

Worst 5 Bullpen ERAs
30. COLORADO: 5.1
29. TEXAS: 5.09
28. TORONTO: 5.01
27. PITTSBURGH: 4.85
26. LA ANGELS: 4.81

Top 5 Bullpen WHIPs
1. CLEVELAND: 1.01
2. LA DODGERS: 1.08
3. BALTIMORE: 1.14
4. NY YANKEES: 1.16
5. SAN DIEGO: 1.16

Worst 5 Bullpen WHIPs
30. COLORADO: 1.64
27. TEXAS: 1.39
26. KANSAS CITY: 1.39

Top 5 Bullpen Ks/9 innings
1. NY METS: 10.68
2. CLEVELAND: 10.05
3. MINNESOTA: 9.91

Worst 5 Bullpen Ks/9 innings
30. KANSAS CITY: 6.93
29. COLORADO: 7.19
28. ARIZONA: 7.55
27. TORONTO: 7.93
26. DETROIT: 7.99

Top 5 Bullpen Last 7 Games WHIPs
1. SAN DIEGO: 0.77
2. CLEVELAND: 0.81
4. HOUSTON: 0.93
5. MINNESOTA: 0.99

Worst 5 Bullpen Last 7 Games WHIPs
30. COLORADO: 1.93
29. DETROIT: 1.74
28. SEATTLE: 1.72
27. PITTSBURGH: 1.68
26. TAMPA BAY: 1.63

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 5/20:

Biggest upward movers (PR points)
1. BOSTON: +8 points
2. CINCINNATI: +7 points
2. SAN DIEGO: +7
4. HOUSTON: +6
5. OAKLAND: +5

Biggest downward movers (PR points)
1. LA DODGERS: -10 points
1. TAMPA BAY: -10
1. DETROIT: -10
3. ATLANTA: -8
4. SEATTLE: -9

Steve’s Current MLB Bullpen Ratings/Ranks (as of 5/27)

Rank – Team – Bullpen PR
3. HOUSTON: 20
6. SAN DIEGO: 16
8. BOSTON: 14
9. ATLANTA: 11
10. OAKLAND: 8
14. ST. LOUIS: 4
17. TAMPA BAY: 1
19. NY METS: 0
20. ARIZONA: -1
21. MIAMI: -1
22. SEATTLE: -2
23. DETROIT: -4
24. LA ANGELS: -4
26. TEXAS: -6
27. TORONTO: -6
30. COLORADO: -13

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

As we head into this week’s games, there are five teams on 3+ game winning streak (BAL, CLE, DET, STL, CIN) and five teams on a 3+ game losing skids (TOR, CWS, LAA, CHC, LAD).