I recently conducted a video explaining just a handful of the motives why computer software is so significant in thrashing the bookmakers. High atop the list of reasons is that it helps eliminate biases.
To this day, I get the shakes just thinking about laying heavy lumber in MLB. Bearing in mind home field advantage, I defined big favorites as more than -255 at home or -211 on the road. But I did eliminate the outlier of bigger than -308. Disclaimer, one could argue there was some back-fitting to maximize units won. Still, it does not nullify the truth that goes against my DNA: large favorites are +88.85 percent on the moneyline and much better +105.91 on runline for 7.9 ROI.
I suppose it’s always easy to back fit theories. The reality that the runline is even more advantageous gets back to another fundamental of betting: the best way to maximize profits is to minimize losses. I’ve underscored when line-shopping, it’s not just about getting the hook, but also and more so about getting the best juice. Excluding key numbers, a half-point is generally worth about .04 to .06 juice at most. For example, I’d rather get +4 -102 than +4.5 and -110.
You must acknowledge that you will lose 40something percent of the time. Reduced juice is imperative to acquiring the biggest payouts. When wagering the runline on large favorites, you save an enormous amount of money with each loss or winning a lot more with each win (depending on if your bet amount is based on “to win” or “to risk.”)
The drawback is you do get banged if the garganuan favorite wins by exactly one-run. But the scientific results demonstrate the tradeoff says to lay -1.5 runs.
I don’t exercise contrarian information when it comes to baseball moneylines or even runlines because they also incorporate juice. Hence, I’m not the expert that I am in other sports in studying betting tendencies. However, it does stand to reason that even the chalk-lovers among us get sticker shock with numbers above -200.
In fact, I have noted, certified by data, that in NBA with totals, there are limits to how much is too much. Once totals get in the 240 range, the public backs off overs. Hence the posted price on favorites well above 200 is such a deterrent even to Joey Bagofdonuts that their value manifests.
Regardless of hypothesis, facts are facts, and I have to bite the bullet often, but luckily more with runlines. Still even at -1.5 in the -170 range pays off, despite my apprehension on risking so much vigorish.
It is less of a surprise that big favorites execute even better on Opening Day, be it home or road. Just as one example, road favorites of -125 or more have a whopping 18.2 ROI on the moneyline and 15.9 on runline in the first game of the season.
Perhaps one would theorize home underdogs would do well. That’s about the only “intangible” one could argue, but 35-plus years of experience decrees that intangibles are overplayed. Additionally, there are clearly no letdown or lookahead situations (they are playing the same team in their next game anyway), so it makes perfect sense that there is nothing to counterbalance the straightforward superior team winning.
I’ve built my reputation as “undisputed king of the underdog and small favorites,” but isolated some notable exceptions. I never thought I’d say this, but the newest weaponry in my betting arsenal is laying the lumber—though by and large on the runline.
The author Joe Duffy is one of the most quoted sports bettors of all-time. CEO of OffshoreInsiders.com the place for both approved sportsbooks and winning sports handicapping advice. Check out this video on bad beats