HomeMLBSystems Using MLB Betting Splits

    Systems Using MLB Betting Splits

    Steve Makinen introduces his newest Major League Baseball betting systems using data from DraftKings MLB betting splits.

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    Finding Opportunities by Using MLB Betting Splits

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    The DraftKings betting splits features on VSiN.com have grown into one of the website’s most popular attractions. It seems that bettors have become enamored with knowing what their cohorts are partaking in. In my experience with studying these splits over the last year, the simple fact is that the majority bettors I’ve analyzed simply do not win.

     

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    In my continuing series on developing systems that savvy bettors can use to take advantage of these betting splits, I’ve now wrapped up breaking down the 2023 MLB data, just in time for opening day on Thursday. And as I have for all of the other sports, I have created a set of actionable systems that readers of VSiN can take advantage of this season. We will be continually tracking these systems and sharing the daily plays in our MLB Analytics Reports as well.

    To summarize the full 2023 season findings, the data sample contained 2467 games, and for the most part, it can be concluded that majority bettors slowly dwindled their bankrolls over the course of the year, losing at least 2.6% in all categories. In fact, these were the results:

    • Majority handle on sides: 1350-1095 (55.2%), -262.68 UNITS – ROI -10.7%
    • Majority number of bets on sides: 1374-1067 (56.3%), -216.55 UNITS – ROI -8.9%
    • Majority handle on run lines: 1128-1318 (46.1%). -193.83 UNITS, ROI -7.9%
    • Majority number of bets on run lines: 1194-1233 (49.2%). -175.4 UNITS – ROI -7.2%
    • Majority handle on totals: 1197-1144 (51.1%). -61.4 UNITS – ROI -2.6%
    • Majority number of bets on totals: 1115-1188 (48.4%), -191.8 UNITS, ROI -8.3%

    If you’re wondering why the results don’t add up to 2467 games, it’s because 50/50 handle or bets splits are counted as null, and there were several pushes on totals throughout the season.

    One interesting point to note from the above data is that the majority handle was significantly sharper than the majority bets on totals. In fact, as you’ll see in a little while on the systems, majority handle bettors were actually profitable when they opted for Unders.

    I like to remind readers why I have adopted the strategy of following these betting splits. About a year and a half ago, I set out to study the college football betting splits data provided on VSiN.com by DraftKings. I felt that a book like DraftKings, known for servicing all levels of recreational bettors, providing this type of data would offer a ton of great betting opportunities if savvy bettors knew how to interpret the numbers. As it turns out, I was right, but by somewhat different means than I thought I would find.

    Why is this Betting Splits information so valuable? Well, most specifically, it lets us see which games are the most publicly supported each day or week. The common belief is that the “betting public” does not win over the long haul, and with the amount of money DK spends on acquiring customers, you have to assume that most of the bettors that play there would be considered “public”. In other words, the collective opinions of this group of recreational bettors are right out on display for all of us to analyze and take advantage of.

    Most of the theories I have believed about public bettors for all of the other sports came to fruition with baseball as well, specifically that they love favorites and they love Overs as compared to Unders on totals. In fact, majority handle bettors chose opted for favorites in 86.7% of the games and Overs 77.4% of the games. This is dramatic, and gives bettors like yourselves some good ammunition for choosing to go the other way more consistently.

    For those of you who have not seen my similar analysis in the past for football and basketball, I tried to analyze the records of the “majority bettors” at DraftKings and the side/total they preferred for games. I also broke it down further, sometimes by percentage of majority, by different line ranges, and by some other variables. There are two fields of analysis for each wagering option that DraftKings shares the data for both sides and totals: 1) handle 2) number of bets. These can produce varied results, but in general, I subscribe to the theory that total handle is a little less “public” than total number of bets. The former tends to include more serious bettors, while the latter works in a lot of “weekend warriors.”

    In the following betting splits systems I have developed, I will share with you some situational spots in which bettors were far worse or better than the average numbers shown above. These will provide some nice, consistent opportunities to wager on or against throughout the season, and we will continue to share these opportunities daily in our very popular MLB Analytics Reports. If you haven’t been using these for MLB or any other sports we offer, I highly recommend adding them to your MLB handicapping arsenal. They are loaded with great handicapping stats, trends, and of course, the popular bullpen systems I have been sharing with readers for the past few years on VSiN.

    As a general rule, acknowledging the approximate -10% returns on all majorities, if adopting the use of the betting splits this season, opt to fade majorities unless shown otherwise in one of the systems below to be a profitable follow angle.

    DK MLB Betting Splits system #1: When 90% or more of the handle was on the home side of an MLB moneyline wager last season, this supermajority group did quite well, going 125-45 (73.5%) last season for +36.19 units and an ROI of +21.2%. This obviously beats the overall majority handle ROI return by almost 32%. If you see 90% or more of the handle backing a host in an MLB game this season, it’s a solid bet to follow it.

    DK MLB Betting Splits system #2: Majority bets groups proved to be at least reasonably successful when not too many of them got on a side last season, and in fact, the benchmark was 60%+. When the majority percentage figure of bets landed in the 51%-59% range, these groups finished the season with a record of 221-193 (53.4%) for +0.88 units and an ROI slightly above 0%. This isn’t the rate of return that a professional bettor is looking for, but it is not a loss, and it is definitively better than the overall ROI of -8.9%.

    DK MLB Betting Splits system #3: Majority handle bettors were pretty sound last year when backing huge home favorites of -250 or higher. This group went 117-33 (78%) last season for +20.38 units and an ROI of 13.6%. This is a pretty strong rate of return and a tremendous winning percentage, but I would caution against getting too deep into this one if it turns the other way.

    DK MLB Betting Splits system #4: For as good as majority handle bettors were on huge home favorites last season, they were equally as bad on heavy road favorites of -200 or higher. This group went 59-40 (59.6%) last season for -38.89 units and an ROI of -39.3%. Anyone losing at this rate will drain their bankroll quickly.

    DK MLB Betting Splits system #5: Majority handle bettors were worse overall in interleague games in 2023, going 374-314 (54.4%) for -81.67 units and an ROI of -11.8%. This is over a full percentage point worse for return and an indication that bettors have trouble gauging the strengths/motivations of the teams when playing unfamiliar opponents.

    DK MLB Betting Splits system #6: Majority handle bettors were profitable last year when betting the lowest totaled MLB games, going 181-154 (54%) last season for +11.6 units and an ROI of +3.5% on games with posted totals of 7.5 or less. Recognizing that the majority bettors’ preferred option is Over bets, most of these wins came as games surpassed their posted numbers.

    DK MLB Betting Splits system #7: A unique system developed last year when majority handle betting groups backed home favorites with fewer wins on the season. This was a terrible scenario for bettors, as they were just 128-137 (48.3%) for -73.71 units and an atrocious ROI of -27.8%. There’s a lot of common sense to this not doing well as well, since a lesser team is being favored just because it is at home or has a better starting pitcher working.

    DK MLB Betting Splits system #8: There was a distinct up-and-down pattern of performance for majority handle bettors by month last season. March/April ROI was -1.3%, May was a brutal -20.6%, June climbed back up to -6.9%.  July slipped to -15.1%, followed by an August return of -3.5%, and finally a September/October drain of -16.7%. Diving deeper into specifics, these three different systems will be tracked in 2024:

    1. Majority handle bettors on road teams in March/April of 2023 were 101-65 (60.8%) for +15.3 units and an ROI of +9.2%.
    2. Majority handle bettors in May were just 207-201 (50.7%) for -85.15 units and an ROI of -20.6%
    3. Majority handle bettors in September/October were just 244-215 (53.2%) for -76.5 units and an ROI of -16.7%.

    DK MLB Betting Splits system #9: Majority handle bettors endured a terrible playoff season in 2023, with a month-long record of 19-21 (47.5%) for -10.51 units and an ROI of -26.3%. This is typically a high-volume set of games, so bettors lost big in October.

    DK MLB Betting Splits system #10: Majority handle bettors were profitable last year when betting the lowest totaled MLB games, going 181-154 (54%) last season for +11.6 units and an ROI of +3.5% on games with posted totals of 7.5 or less. Recognizing that the majority bettors preferred option is Over bets, most of these wins came as games surpassed their posted numbers.

    DK MLB Betting Splits system #11: When 85% or more of the bets were on either side of an MLB run line wager last season, this supermajority group did far better than the overall numbers, going 282-235 (54.5%) last season for +0.45 units and an ROI of 0%. Again, this is clearly just a very minimal return, but considering the major losses in all of the MLB betting categories, it beats the overall majority bets ROI return by almost 8%, and if it continues in 2024, it will at least keep bettors in the game.

    The betting splits on VSiN.com are essentially running live and will change in the days and hours before game time. If you adopt any of these strategies this season, be sure to visit VSiN.com for the latest numbers. In the spirit of continuous improvement, we have redesigned and expanded the VSiN betting splits page, the most popular destination on VSiN.com.

    The data we get directly from DraftKings Sportsbook is now updated every five minutes instead of 10. We ping the DK database to see what data has changed, and then we indicate the change with an arrow next to the percentage.

    Also, if you want to see the opening line and the line history, click on the visiting team’s logo. The updates are timestamped. A nice new touch is that – if the game is over – you will get a summary that includes the final score, Total result, season Over/Under record for each team, and you can compare the result to what Steve Makinen’s estimated score was.

    Unlimited access to betting splits and the MLB Analytics Reports is available to VSiN Pro subscribers.

    Steve Makinen
    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.

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