Why the Orioles are baseball's best bet: First-half MLB betting standings

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

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As we reach the second half of the Major League Baseball season, there are going to be a lot of big favorite roles. Some of the teams that are well off of the pace will trade some of their better players at the August 2 trade deadline and some will continue to use a lot of young players and unproven starters.

A lot of bettors don’t like to lay chalky moneylines, so they’ll opt instead to look at run line betting (-1.5 or + 1.5). So far this season, underdogs are 549-809 and teams that are + 1.5 on the run line are 782-585, meaning that they either won the game or lost by one run.

That means that favorites are 585-782 on the run line, which translates to a 42.79% win percentage and a break-even line of + 134. When you look at stats for teams, the records and cover percentages aren’t enough, you also have to consider the break-even point and the line.

Here are the run line units gained/lost through the first half (based on $100 bet sizes):

Baltimore Orioles + 2078

Los Angeles Dodgers + 1373

New York Mets + 986

Texas Rangers + 873

Philadelphia Phillies + 598

Houston Astros + 586

St. Louis Cardinals + 470

Cleveland Guardians + 467

Arizona Diamondbacks + 458

Boston Red Sox + 368

Colorado Rockies -22

New York Yankees -59

Pittsburgh Pirates -59

San Francisco Giants -162

Atlanta Braves -169

Los Angeles Angels -260

Seattle Mariners -271

Chicago Cubs -585

Minnesota Twins -707

Chicago White Sox -864

Tampa Bay Rays -893

Detroit Tigers -956

Cincinnati Reds -1028

Miami Marlins -1080

San Diego Padres -1176

Kansas City Royals -1328

Toronto Blue Jays -1348

Oakland Athletics -1414

Milwaukee Brewers -1756

Washington Nationals -1760

Evaluating a few teams further, we can see some really interesting things about their results that have had a big impact on the amounts won and lost.

Orioles: Baltimore has been the best underdog team in baseball this season, especially during this recent run to get to the .500 mark. Lines are heavily dependent on starting pitchers and the Orioles don’t have a lot of big names or aces by the numbers, so they are often priced low.

Dodgers: The Dodgers have the second-most wins in baseball and only seven of their 60 wins have come by one run. They’ve been able to cover the run line in the majority of their triumphs.

Rangers: While the Rangers don’t have a great win-loss record, they do have 20 losses by just one run. They’ve been an underdog a lot, so their performance in + 1.5 run-line roles has stood out in a big way.

Nationals: The Nationals are awful, but they’ve also lost a lot in their rare favorite roles. This is a team that only has 31 wins and has lost by five or more runs 24 times.

Brewers: The Brewers have a solid win-loss record, but they don’t win by margin a lot; 17 of their 50 wins have been by one run. They’ve also been favored in a lot of games due to their starting pitcher talent and are only seven games over .500.

Blue Jays: The Blue Jays have been favored a lot and have a decent record, but they have 21 wins by one run, which doesn’t do any good with a -1.5 run line. The Mariners are the only other team with at least 21 one-run wins, but they’ve been in more underdog roles.

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