Aaron Judge hitting against the Boston Red Sox

MLB’s Early Season Betting Trends

It took until late July for MLB to have its Sportsbook Day but we finally got there, albeit with no fans in the stands. Have the empty ballparks had an impact on the way you handicap a game or are there some betting trends that you have already hopped on to increase your bankroll? I’m going to lay out some of the best trends that are occurring in the early stages of the shortened MLB season.

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New to the MLB betting scene? Take a look at our MLB betting guide to help you get in on the action. Also, be sure to check out our MLB odds page for the latest up-to-date betting odds.

No Crowds, Fewer Runs

Season OVER UNDER Avg. Combined Score
2020 68 91 8.76
2019 1146 1161 9.66

Records as of August 6

Perhaps the pitchers have benefited from the delayed start to the MLB season or the batters are struggling to find their timing but we are seeing UNDERs hitting at a decent rate through roughly the first 160 games. In 2019, the OVER/UNDER record was near 50/50 – Sportsbooks are darn good at their jobs – with a final tally of 1,146-1,161-122 for a 50.3 percent mark on the UNDER and an average combined score of 9.66.

In 2020, though, we are seeing nearly a full run less per game at 8.76 and the UNDER is hitting in 57.2 percent of games with the OVER/UNDER record at 68-91-5.

According to Odds Shark’s MLB stats page, Cleveland, Toronto and Texas are scoring the fewest runs per game, averaging 2.50, 3.11 and 3.20 runs respectively. Conversely, Houston, the World Series favorite New York Yankees and San Diego are scoring the most runs per game at 6.09, 5.55 and 5.54 in order.

Meanwhile, the Indians are also topping the majors in the fewest runs allowed at 2.25 per game followed by the Marlins (2.67) and the Twins (2.75). On the flip side, the Mariners (6.31), Giants (5.69) and Diamondbacks (5.58) are surrendering the most runs per game.

Favorites Living Up To Their Odds

Favorite/Underdog Records
Season Fave ML Dog ML Fave ATS Dog ATS
2020 102 59 80 84
2019 1429 944 1093 1336

Records as of August 6

In sports betting, there’s not a much better feeling than handicapping a game, finding a good edge on an underdog and seeing your research pay off with a plus-money Sportsbook.

Well, this feeling has been elusive thus far in the 2020 campaign as betting favorites are sporting a moneyline record of 102-59 for a 63.4 percent hit rate. Last season, the favorites, as expected, also dominated but at a lower rate of 60.2 percent.

Additionally, favorites are hitting at a higher percentage on the -1.5 runline compared to last year, winning by two or more runs in 48.8 percent of the games (45 percent in 2019).

According to our MLB standings page, the three teams that are best living up to the minus odds next to their name are the Twins (9-1), the Cubs (8-1) and the Braves (7-1).

Meanwhile, the Orioles (0-3) and Blue Jays (0-1) are the only two teams to not get a win as a favorite while the Mariners (0-0) have yet to be favored in a game.

There are a few underdog teams that are worth keeping an eye on. Leading the charge are the Marlins, who are 5-1 as a dog and are the most profitable team in baseball, bringing in a profit of $573 based on $100 wagers on each of their games. The Rockies are the next best underdog team at 6-2 followed by the Orioles at 5-3.

Other Notable Betting Trends

When it comes to placing a bet on an MLB game, the most important factor is likely the starting pitching matchup. Often, sportsbooks will set the line and total based on the two men who will be standing on the mound.

On our pitcher money won/lost page, you can see that the Giants’ Logan Webb has been filling the wallets of people who have backed him in his two starts as he has earned a profit of $445 based on $100 wagers thus far. He tops a pair of Orioles hurlers in Wade LeBlanc ($390) and Alex Cobb ($355).

While it’s easy to see how much money you can earn when you catch a hot pitcher, it can just as quickly be lost if you start to tail a struggling arm. Currently, there are four pitchers who are tied in the category of most money lost to date.

The Pirates’ Joe Musgrove, the Mets’ Steven Matz, the Royals’ Danny Duffy and the Diamondbacks’ biggest offseason acquisition, Madison Bumgarner, have all cost bettors $300 in 2020. Each pitcher’s team has dropped all three of his starts.

Another reason that the starting pitching matchup is so important is that many people will take the bullpens out of the mix and just bet on the first five innings of a game. Odds Shark’s own Joe Osborne has a great first-five betting report that details every MLB team’s success rate in the early stages of a game. Right now, the Rockies have been the most profitable at $734.30 while the D-backs are in the basement at -$800.00.

MLB Betting Trends FAQ

Is it better to bet over or under MLB run totals?

With no fans in the stands, Major League Baseball games saw fewer runs scored. In 2019, the UNDER hit pretty much 50 percent of the time. In 2020, we saw close to a full run less per game at 8.76 runs compared to 9.66 runs in 2019, with the UNDER hitting in 57 percent of games.

Do MLB betting favorites live up to their odds?

In 2020, betting favorites had a moneyline hit rate of 63.4 percent. In 2019, betting favorites weren’t quite as dominating with a moneyline hit rate of 60.2 percent. In 2020, favorites hit at a higher percentage winning by two or more runs in 48.8 percent of the games compared to 45 percent in 2019.

What are some other MLB betting trends?

Some other notable MLB betting trends are starting pitching matchups. They’re so important because the line and total is set based on the two men standing on the mound. Baseball bettors will just take the bullpens out of the equation, and simply wager on the top half or first five innings of a game.