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Handicapping Streaks in MLB

By Steve Makinen  () 

With the Major League Baseball season stretching out 162 games and over six months, there can be a lot of peaks and valleys for any given team. In a lot of cases it can be argued that there are many seasons within the season, and how a team weathers these up’s & down’s has a lot to do with its eventual playoff fortunes. As bettors, properly riding these waves or knowing when to get off of them can help produce big profits, and thus the knowledge of what typically wins and what typically loses in regards to streaks in a must. In this feature piece for Point Spread Weekly, I am going to break down streaks in MLB, looking for betting systems that will help us build our bankrolls for the rest of the season.

Before I begin, however, I want to share with you the reason for why this idea came to me, as it was just recently when I noticed that certain teams’ prices seemed to be jumping or falling more rapidly than usual. In each case, it became quickly evident that these particular teams were riding multigame winning or losing streaks. Now that didn’t mean that the team on the streak was worthy of its sudden upgrade or downgrade, just that the change was noticeable to the eye of someone tracking and adjusting ratings daily. It was also not obvious whether or not the adjusted price wound up accurately reflecting the game result. So that answer is what I set out to obtain by looking at the historical data. For the record, I chose the last 5 seasons, or since the beginning of the 2014 season, as the basis for my study. Let’s take a look at the findings, then be sure to catalog these results for the rest of the season or beyond for your baseball handicapping.

The chart below illustrates the records of all teams in certain streak lengths dating back to the 2014 season.

As you can see, the left side chart shows the records when playing at home in the various streaks, and the right side shows the records when playing on the road. One thing is IMMEDIATELY obvious:

** Betting on ROAD teams riding both losing and winning streaks is more profitable, by a 2.7% to -5.9% difference **

It seems that the home field advantage, and its ability to either stop a losing streak, or extend a winning streak, gets overstated in games involving streaking teams. In fact, the only streak lengths that show any level of profitability in terms of ROI are when teams are playing at home and have lost at least their last six games. These teams do actually win more often than not, but are hard to stomach for average bettors. Just to make sure I wasn’t losing my sensibility, I went and tested my perceptions for this year, and it proved me correct. Teams playing at home and riding winning streaks of three games or more in 2019 were just 43-46 for -11 units in 2019, a ROI of -12.4%. In other words, these teams WERE getting overpriced after reaching the streak length of three games or more.

Alternatively, you can see that backing teams that are on winning streaks of seven games or longer and are playing on the road is HIGHLY profitable! These teams win better than 60% of their games, on the road mind you, and produce profit levels of better than 20% ROI. That is some healthy wagering!

MLB STREAK SYSTEMS BY LINE RANGE

Here are some “sweet spot” MLB systems to fade or follow teams on various streak lengths in certain line range scenarios (these are all dated since 2014):

Losing Streaks

• Play ON MLB road teams having lost their L4 games when playing as underdogs in the 100 to 155 line range (208-225, 48% win pct, 35.65 units, ROI 8.2%)

• Play AGAINST MLB home teams having lost their L5 games when playing as favorites of -160 or more (these teams are 29-23, 55.7% win pct, -16.75 units, ROI -32.2%)

• Play ON MLB home teams having lost their L6 games when playing as favorites in the -110 to -190 line range (58-38, 60.4% win pct, 7.7 units, ROI 8.0%)

• Play ON MLB road teams having lost their L6 games OR MORE when playing as favorites (33- 18, 64.7% win pct, 15.2 units, ROI 29.8%) or when playing as small underdogs in the 100 to 140 line range (66-51, 56.4% win pct, 29 units, ROI 24.8%)

• Play ON MLB home teams having lost their L7 games or more when playing as underdogs (51-54, 48.6% win pct, 15.0 units, ROI 14.3%)

record_mlb

Winning Streaks

• -Play ON MLB home teams having won their L3 games or more when playing as favorites of -285 or higher (28-4, 87.5% win pct, 15.1 units, ROI 47.2%)

• - Play AGAINST MLB home teams having won their L3 games when playing as small favorites in the -110 to -150 line range (these teams are 340-322, 51.3% win pct, -73.85 units, ROI -11.1%)

• - Play AGAINST MLB home teams having won their L4 games or more when playing as favorites in the -110 to -250 line range (these teams are 329-276, 54.4% win pct, -89.3 units, ROI -14.8%)

• - Play ON MLB road teams having won their L5 games or more when playing as favorites of -125 or higher (105-43, 71% win pct, 39.95 units, ROI 27%)

• - Play AGAINST MLB home teams having won their L8 games or more when playing as big favorites in the -200 or higher range (these teams are 9-10, 47.4% win pct, -13.5 units, ROI -71.1%)

MLB STREAK SYSTEMS BY WHERE STREAK GAMES WERE PLAYED

Sometimes where the games were played that made up a streak can affect a team’s level of success in the next game. Here are some MLB betting systems regarding that variable (these are all dated since 2014):

Losing Streaks

• - Play ON MLB home teams having lost their L4 games at home (152-122, 55.5% win pct, 24.25 units, ROI 8.8%)

• - Play AGAINST MLB home teams having lost their L3 games on the road (these teams are 140-166, 45.8% win pct, -52.95 units, ROI -17.3%)

Winning Streaks

• - Play ON MLB road teams having won their L5 games all on the road (67-51, 56.8% win pct, 14.55 units, ROI 12.3%)

• - Play AGAINST MLB home teams having won their L4 games all on the road (these teams are 42-35, 54.5% win pct, -9.6 units, ROI -12.5%)

• - Play AGAINST MLB home teams having won their L5 games all at home (these teams are 71-78, 47.7% win pct, -41.3 units, ROI -27.7%)

MLB STREAK BETTING SYSTEMS BASED UPON RUNS SCORED OR ALLOWED DURING THE STREAK

How well a team is hitting or pitching during a streak can make a big difference on whether that streak extends or is ended. Take a look at these MLB streak systems based upon runs scored or allowed during the streak.

Runs Scored: Losing Streaks

• - Play AGAINST MLB home teams having lost their L6 games while scoring <=2.5 RPG (these teams are 56-75, 42.7% win pct, -29.05 units, ROI: -22.2%)

• - Play ON MLB home teams having lost their L4 games while scoring >=3.7 RPG (106-84, 55.8% win pct, 21.4 units, ROI: 11.3%)

• - Play ON MLB home teams having lost their L7 games while scoring >=2.7 RPG (36-23, 61.0% win pct, 18.65 units, ROI: 31.6%)

• - Play AGAINST MLB road teams having lost their L7 games while scoring <=2.6 RPG (these teams are 16-34, 32.0% win pct, -12.28 units, ROI: -24.6%)

• - Play ON MLB road teams having lost their L4 games while scoring >=3.0 RPG (183-176, 51.0% win pct, 49.07 units, ROI: 13.7%)

Runs Scored: Winning Streaks

• - Play AGAINST MLB home teams having won their L5 games while scoring <=5.8 RPG (these teams are 107-105, 50.5% win pct, -36.7 units, ROI: -17.3%)

• - Play AGAINST MLB road teams having won their L5 games while scoring <=5.2 RPG (these teams are 44-67, 39.6% win pct, -26.35 units, ROI: -23.7%)

• - Play ON MLB road teams having won their L7 while scoring >=6.0 RPG (56-32, 63.6% win pct, 27.55 units, ROI: 31.3%)

Runs Allowed: Losing Streaks

• - Play ON MLB road teams having lost their L4 games while allowing >=6.7 RPG (191-159, 54.6% win pct, 30.95 units, ROI: 8.8%)

• - Play ON MLB road teams having lost their L7 games while allowing <=5.1 RPG (23-12, 65.7% win pct, 11.7 units, ROI: 33.4%)

• - Play ON MLB road teams having lost their L6 games while allowing <=6.8 RPG (81-65, 55.5% win pct, 42.09 units, ROI: 28.8%)

Runs Allowed: Winning Streaks

• - Play AGAINST MLB home teams having won their L3 games while allowing >=3.3 RPG (these teams are 271-269, 50.2% win pct, -79.15 units, ROI: -14.7%)

• - Play AGAINST MLB home teams having won their L5 games while allowing <=3.6 RPG (these teams are 204-181, 53.0% win pct, -55.95 units, ROI: -14.5%)

• - Play AGAINST MLB home teams having won their L8 games while allowing >=2.3 RPG (these teams are 23-26, 46.9% win pct, -17.95 units, ROI: -36.6%)

• - Play ON MLB road teams having won their L5 games while allowing >=3.8 RPG (44-24, 64.7% win pct, 21.85 units, ROI: 32.1%)

• - Play ON MLB road teams having won their L7 games while allowing >=3.3 RPG (22-8, 73.3% win pct, 15.1 units, ROI: 50.3%)

• - Play ON MLB road teams having won their L8 games while allowing <=2.8 RPG (33-14, 70.2% win pct, 21.95 units, ROI: 46.7%)

Summary

There are clearly enough definitive betting systems regarding streaks that you should start acknowledging when teams reach the 3-win or 3-loss streak threshold. The betting systems reveal that while it is obviously more profitable to be wagering on road teams on streaks rather than home teams, there are enough specific systems on both sides of that equation that you should be able to build big profits going forward. Pick out your favorites out of the 32 different systems I have uncovered for you and ride them to the betting window.

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