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Do You Take The Series Price Or Bet Game-To-Game In The Playoffs?

October is a time where MLB series odds can fluctuate as much as the weather. 

As prices change, one option for bettors to consider is this: Is it better to take the series futures price on a team that’s facing elimination or is it better simply to take that team on the moneyline each game and roll it over? 

(Thanks to @TheDavidSolar of Sports Insights for this topic after we chatted about it on Twitter.) 

The short answer is that it generally makes the most sense to take a team on the moneyline and simply roll it over from game to game. Usually you’ll end up with more profit that way than if you simply decided to take the futures price and wait it out. 

Our discussion on Twitter focused on the Jays-Indians ALCS so we’ll dig into that one to examine this topic. The Jays are down 3-1 in the series after winning Game 4 and they were set at +450 to come back and win.  

I took the Blue Jays. I think they still have better starting pitching than the Indians and I think their bats will heat up after getting familiar with Cleveland’s bullpen over the last four games. 

Solar did the math for how it might play out, shown here: 

Solar’s suggestion makes good betting sense. The profit would be $555.94 compared with $450 profit on a $100 wager on the series futures price.  

In my case, though, I took the series price for two reasons: 1. I think the Jays might see different odds than this in Game 7 (and maybe Game 6) and 2. My hedge option for Game 7 is more limited this way. 

I think the Blue Jays are looking at a line more like -110 if they make it to Game 7 because I think they’ll have their bats back in top form if they make it that far. Here’s a look at how the profit would play out if that is the case: 

In this case the profit would be $444.45 compared with $450 on a series bet before Game 5. I could be wrong on that Game 7 price, so the bigger reason I went this route is because it provides me with a better option to hedge. 

If it goes to Game 7 and I have the Jays +450, I can hedge with the Indians at -110. 

There are a number of ways I can approach a hedge but let’s say I take the Indians for $110 to win $100 in Game 7 simply to cover my initial stake if Cleveland wins. If Cleveland wins, I would break even overall and if the Jays win, I make a profit of $340. 

It’s a risk-free bet for a chance to win $340, in other words. 

I like the hedge because it provides either guaranteed profit if I choose to take it or potential for strong profit on a risk-free bet. That’s if we get to Game 7, of course. I also like having the hedge option in case there’s an injury or something else that pops up. Bad weather, for example.   

But normally in a situation like this where a team is in an elimination situation, it’s often better to simply take them game-to-game and roll it over as Solar suggests. 

Do the math and map out your betting strategy first. The game-to-game route is one you may want to consider and it's an easy one to overlook if you don't bet a lot of series futures.

Follow me on Twitter @JonnyOddsShark  

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