MLB: Most/Least Profitable (Through July)

by Will Rogers

We’re almost through July, so let’s check on which teams have been the most profitable to bet on (and which have burned bettors the most). 

Most Profitable (All numbers accurate as of 7/29)

Baltimore (+20.8 units) - Not only have the Orioles been the best team to bet during the 2022 MLB season, but they have a winning record! This despite having a payroll (excluding money still owed to Chris Davis) that is lower than Max Scherzer’s 2022 salary! Where have the O’s excelled most? Well, at home, where they are up 16.7 units. They’ve also lost just five times in the last 20 games. Oddsmakers have had them favored in only 16 games all season, but that could start to change. They’ve actually been an underdog of +200 or more 18 times, a greater number than how many times they’ve been favored. Take those games away (they are 5-13) and they are even more profitable. Except when they face the Yankees on the road, Baltimore isn’t likely to be +200 or higher on the money line many more times.

NY Mets (+16.7) - Last August was when the Mets tanked and ceded the NL East to the eventual World Series Champion Braves. It remains to be seen if NY can capture the pennant this season, but I do expect at least a playoff berth. Unlike Baltimore, the Mets haven’t been very profitable as underdogs, but they are 49-23 as favorites (+15.3), which accounts for most of the profitability. They are also 28-12 vs. the rest of the division. The fact the Mets are 9-1 in games decided in extra innings shows there’s been a little bit of luck going their way.

NY Yankees (+15.3) - The best team in baseball has also turned a nice profit. The Yanks have actually lost money on the road, but are 38-12 at home. They’ve lost money facing National League teams and the Astros, so keep that in mind come the postseason. It’s very impressive that of the 31 games the Yankees have played that were decided by four or more runs, they’ve won 27 of them. You’re almost always going to have to lay a steep price to play the Pinstripes (they’ve only been underdogs in eight games), but so far it would have been worth it to bet them every game. Of course, almost no one bets the same team in every game, so perhaps it’s best to tread lightly? 

Houston (+11.4) - The second best team in the American League is also in the top five in profitability. When NOT a -200 or higher favorite, the Astros are up 18.4 units. So maybe just avoid them as big favorites? They just dumped a bunch of units last week in Oakland, twice losing as a -200 favorite. It was the first time the ‘Astros were swept all season. Like the Yankees, the ‘Stros are basically this high on the list because they win a lot. You would have to routinely bet them (almost every game) to make money. Beware the runline as well. They are 18-8 in one-run games and if you’re laying the -1.5 in those games, you’re losing money. (I’ll note the Yankees have 21 one-run wins and only one team has more. That is …) 

Seattle (+10.0) - The Mariners have rocketed up the list by virtue of going 17-4 over their last 21 games. No team has more one-run victories than their 23. The difference between them and the Astros/Yankees is that the Mariners have obviously not been favored in the majority of those one-run games. Seattle has been an underdog more times (55) than they have been favored (45). Interestingly, in their last 11 games, Seattle is 7-0 vs. Texas and 0-4 vs. Houston. This would be a Wild Card team were the season to end today. I’m very skeptical they stay in that position. Multiple starters are headed for regression, most notably Marco Gonzales, who has the worst FIP of any qualified starter! 

Least Profitable 

LA Angels (-24.8 units) - YIKES! This club has fallen off the proverbial cliff. Reportedly, the Angels are now willing to listen to offers for Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout’s back condition is said to be “rare.” In other words, there will be no turnaround in Anaheim over the next two months.  Consider this: On May 24th, the Angels’ were 10 games over .500. So since then they are 25 games below. Day games are the only situation where the team has turned a profit and that profit is slight. As an underdog, the record is 8-30. 

Washington (-17.1) - This team stinks and the oddsmakers know it, so the value in playing against them blindly is probably gone. It’s a slight profit on the road for the Nationals, but they are a dreadful -17.8 units at home. Against the NL Central and NL West, the Nats are actually profitable. The problem has been division games where they are 8-36 and down 22.1 units! 

San Francisco (-16.4) - A far cry from last year when the Giants had the best regular season record and were the most profitable team. Regression has been more severe than expected at the betting window. Losing the first seven games after the All-Star Break certainly did not help. All seven games were on the road though. Now they are back in San Francisco for the next week. The Giants have a winning record at home, but are still money losers there. Take away games where the Giants were favorites of -200 or more and they are eight games below .500 overall. Don’t see them getting back into the postseason.

Kansas City (-13.2) - Another team that is just plain bad. The Royals haven’t even scored a single run in their last three games heading into Friday. They are slightly above water the 26 times they’ve been favored on the money line (15-11). But other than that, they basically lost two out of every three games. 

Chicago Cubs (-12.0) - Always overrated and typically bad, the Cubs have not been a good team to put your money on in 2022. The confines of Wrigley have not been so friendly as the team is -12.9 units there. They’ve been outscored by a lot on the road, yet are basically break even there. Night games have been unkind (-15.8 units). Division games have gone alright (+3.0 units), but what’s surprising is that they have a better combined record against the Brewers and Cardinals than they do against the Reds and Pirates. 

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