MLB Betting: How Can Bettors Cash in on the Baltimore Orioles?
I discussed prior to the MLB season that betting against the Baltimore Orioles was going to be a tricky proposition. The reason was simple: The betting markets were projected to price this team as one of the worst in the modern era. Heading into Tuesday night, Baltimore is 10-20 but down less than -1 unit based on the traditional moneyline format. Yes, the Orioles are technically ahead of last year’s 47-win pace that saw them drop north of -50 units but the lack of success fading this squad (-1 unit) has more to do with market adjustment. Last season, the average moneyline price against Baltimore was -167. This year, -203. That price is oddsmakers’ telling bettors, “If you want to reap the benefits of betting against arguably the worst team in MLB, you’re going to have to earn it.”
So if betting against the Orioles on the moneyline isn’t going to yield much of any return, what’s the alternative? The obvious choice is the run-line. I’ve never been much of a run-line bettor, especially early in the season when who is “good” and “bad” is far less defined. Typically, I’ll become more active with run-line wagers late in the season when moneyline prices start to really soar and weaker teams officially take a knee on the season. I’ll admit, it’s not even May and the Orioles are really testing that philosophy. Through 30 games, if you’ve bet against Baltimore on the run-line, you’re up just over +6 units or a 16.4% ROI. The average price tag on those run-line bets has seen only a modest increase; -117 vs. only -110 in 2018. Now, a 16% ROI on only 30 bets is likely unsustainable. In fact, betting against the historically bad Orioles on the run-line last year produced a 11.6% ROI. Let’s say for example Baltimore matches last year’s 68-94 record on the run-line but instead of -110 the average price becomes -125. You’re ROI all of a sudden is cut in half. For some bettors any sort of profit in MLB is worth the time and effort. And for those willing to be diligent and “grind”, betting against the Orioles on the run-line is far from a bad idea. But as we know, nothing in the world of sports betting is that cut and dry over such a large sample size. What happens if that 68-94 record becomes 72-90? Or the average price of -125 climbs to -135? Now the juice no longer becomes worth the squeeze. Ultimately, this isn’t so much of an exercise in betting against the Orioles as it is understanding where a team resides in the eyes of oddsmakers and the betting markets. It’s well established by all parties that Baltimore is an awful team. The question now becomes how long will we as bettors be able to take advantage of that fact?