Beware MLB Betting Trends


Many bettors who wager on Major League Baseball games rely on trends. And many of these same bettors solely rely on trends. As we have discussed, handicapping every MLB game, every day, is a Herculean task. Hence, bettors lean on trends. And then they post these trends to social media or discuss them on the myriad podcasts and sports-gambling-related shows on YouTube and, increasingly, the major sports television networks.

But what is the value of a trend? Moreover, what constitutes a Trend? And most important, can you make money betting it?

Let’s say you bet a Total today (Over or Under), based on some specific criteria or circumstance, like a day game or a night game, or whatever it may be, and it hits, and you get paid. Is that a trend? It is an outcome based on a single event – or single bet – so no it is NOT a trend. However, it can be the start of a trend. If the same thing happens tomorrow, under the same circumstances, what have you got – is it a trend or not? I will say NO; others will demand that YES, it is. If this same outcome continues happening then, indeed, it IS a trend! But how many times does the same thing have to happen for it to be considered an actionable (betable) trend? I do not know if there is an official definition.

I monitor social media from time to time – not because I’m bored and have nothing better to do – but because I like to see what others are talking about. Occasionally, I hear of something that gets me interested, so I investigate more. There is some excellent information out there. Likewise, there is a Universe of garbage. I found this today – May 16, 2019:

What should we make of this? More importantly, as bettors who are trying to make money betting, can we make money from this?

These are some fantastic numbers and some great trends. The author, whom I have great respect for, notes the Mariners are crushing this trend. But, understand, this trend is for day games played prior to 2:30 PM, and the author had to make a correction, as noted in the thread (yet the author still does not note the relevant time zone).

There is one game of importance today that meets his Trend – the Phillies are 1-8 O/U this season. I take that to mean in Phillies day games starting before 2:30, let’s call it Eastern Time because that would fit for today, the game Total has gone Over 1 time and Under 8 times. As I write this, the score is Milwaukee 11 Philadelphia 3 in the Top of the 9th inning. The opening Total for this game was 8.0 runs and moved Up to 9.0.

Way Over – they scored 14!

Here is the important thing I’m trying to demonstrate. All trends are only identified as such – as trends – after the fact. If somehow you got on this trend, before it could be identified as a trend, you are way ahead monetarily. But most bettors only heard of this trend today. And if they bet it today, they lost.

What does this outcome tell us about the trend?

The answer is – Who knows?

Today may have been the last day of the identified trend and now it is time for the trend to regress back to the mean – you know back to about 50/50. Half the time it happens, half the time it doesn’t. So long trend.

Or, the trend lost today, but the next time the situation comes up, it cashes, and the trend keeps on going. The important thing about this trend – and all trends – is we have no idea if it will continue or come to a screeching halt.

When betting my hard-earned money, I am always wary of trends. The best practice here is to try to identify WHY this is happening – through good old fashioned handicapping – and not bet anything blindly.

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