Working as a writer for an online sportsbook has its advantages. I have the privilege of spending dozens of paid hours combing through stats and prices, picking through every corner of the book to find interesting nuggets or markets that I might never otherwise find.
That’s exactly what I did this past weekend. On Sunday, I spent several hours looking at baseball odds and records over the last 45 days, piecing together an accurate picture of how teams are trending in the middle part of the season.
(By the way, if the season did start on June 1, here are the teams that would be at the top of the Major League Baseball standings: New York Yankees, Seattle, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Los Angeles Dodgers.)
Anyway, I also poured over all of BetMGM’s futures, including odds markets for Cy Young and Home Run leader. I was looking for potential inefficiencies in the market, which is driven more by public perception and betting than actual on-the-field potential.
— BetQL (@betqlapp) July 20, 2022
One specific market I honed in on was the Team Season Special, which allows you to bet which team will finish the regular season with the most wins.
That’s got to be the Yankees… right?
Houston Astros: Odds at BetMGM Are Favorable for Best Record
The top of the market here is indeed the Yankees, priced at even odds to finish the year with the best record. The Dodgers (+180) and Astros (+400) are behind them, with no other team lower than 10-to-1.
This makes total sense. At 64-28, the Yankees own the best record in baseball at the All-Star break. There’s been chatter about the 2022 Yanks breaking the all-time regular season wins mark.
In every market that’s posted, online sportsbooks have to price teams and sides according to the marketplace’s betting appetite. In this market, there is a lot of hunger to bet on the Yankees.
But if you look at the remaining schedules for the Yankees, Dodgers and Astros, this market begins to appear a lot more complicated.
The Yankees don’t have an insurmountable lead on Houston or L.A. here – it’s five and four games, respectively. And according to Tankathon, the Yanks will play one of the 10 toughest schedules in Major League Baseball down the stretch.
This is true broadly when you consider the AL East somehow has no teams currently under .500. (My Orioles have the second-best record in the division since June 1!)
It’s also true more specifically when you consider the difficult series still remaining on the Yankees’ slate: 22 games against just Seattle, Toronto or Tampa, just to start.
That’s a tough stretch to prepare for when the Yanks are already down one starter.
New York’s schedule was backloaded. It’s partly why they ran out to such a preposterous record.
According to the metrics, the Dodgers have an easier stretch schedule, but they also still have virtually their entire season series remaining with archrival San Francisco – 14 games.
They’ve also got 12 games left against San Diego, plus a series with the Cardinals, a series with the Mets and two series with Milwaukee.
It’s actually Houston that has the far-and-away best schedule of this trio. Really, the Astros have one of the easiest remaining schedules in all of MLB, thanks in no small part to the bottom of their division.
Since June 1, Houston has won more games (26) than the Angels and A’s combined (24).
With way easier opponents on the horizon and only a five-game gap to close, the Astros are very much alive in this market.
Truthfully, I’d consider this sort of thing if it was just a bar bet between friends with no odds. I feel that strongly about Houston here.
However, the fact that I can buy in on Houston at 4-to-1 is the real game-changer here. The implied odds of a +400 price is 20%, and I vehemently disagree with the math there.
There are a lot of MLB odds still available in futures markets, but this one is definitely my favorite.