Re-Evaluating MLB Futures

The ProMathletics’ team is always digging deeper to find some hidden value.  Today we’ll be seeking value on MLB futures bets, as well as value in daily MLB odds.  As we are 40% through the season, we now have both a solid sample size as well as plenty of time to collect winnings.

Baseball is widely known to be a sport of great superstition. We’ve all heard about not stepping on lines, not mentioning that a no-hitter is in play, or the utilization of “slump-busters”.  As practitioners heavily dedicated to our belief in math and science, the idea of luck does not sit well with the ProMathletics’ team.  Fortunately for us, a man we certainly believe in, father of sabermetrics, Bill James, devised a way to mathematically measure how lucky each team has been through a stat called Pythagorean Wins.  Pythagorean wins calculates the amount of wins a team “should have won” based on runs scored and allowed. 

Analyzing this “luck” calculation can help to identify teams that may be better or worse than their record indicates. This helps us to distinguish value as the general public accepts actual record as the true measure of a team.  We all know that is not the case.  There are a few other team stats that help to provide an indication that teams may be better than the standings indicate.  These include record in 1-run games and Simple Rating System (SRS).  It’s important to remember that there is no magic pill, but we’ll take all data points that provide an edge.

The chart to the right shows the difference in wins between actual and Pythagorean calculation.  Teams with more actual wins that Pythagorean wins are considered to be luckier and vice versa for teams with less actual wins.  From this analysis, there are really 5 teams that stand out.  On the lucky side (teams that are probably not as good as their record) is the Seattle Mariners and the Colorado Rockies.  These are two squads we will probably be fading in the near term.  The three teams that stand out as far as probably being better than their record indicates are the Astros, Dodgers, and the Cubs.  That is really no surprise there, as all those teams were picked to advance far in the playoffs, although none of them are in 1st place at the moment.  The Dodgers got off to such a slow start that there is still much value to be grabbed there.  The Astros, meanwhile have struggled lately, and we’ve already been taking advantage of the more reasonable moneylines.  The Cubs are always a tougher play, since they are such a public team. 

Simple Rating System (SRS) combines run differential and strength of schedule.  You can read more about this calculation here, but if you subtract one team’s SRS from another, the difference is how many runs Team A is than Team B.  The chart below compares the SRS and Rank in winning percentage.  Teams significantly above the trend line are better than their record indicates and vice versa for teams below.

Five teams stand out in this analysis. Once again, we see the Astros and the Dodgers standing out as over performing vs their record.  As far as teams that have a better record than we expect, the Mariners again appear.  We also see the Brewers and Royals as teams we will be fading, at least in the short term. 

The final way we seek to find value in MLB futures and near term MLB odds is Win % vs. Win % in 1-Run games.  There are many analyses out there searching for ways to interpret the value of winning 1-run games, but we are of the opinion that a teams’ 1-Run win % should pretty much mirror your overall win %.  Therefore, a great difference may indicate that there may be a reversion in the near future.  The chart to the right shows every teams’ difference between overall and 1-run win %. Again, we find Houston as a team underperforming vs. their underlying statistics.  Three other teams that we expect to see improvement include the Cubs, Twins, and the Nationals.  As far as teams that may have won a few more games than we would expect; the Rangers, Rockies, Pirates, and Braves stand out as teams that may be overvalued at the moment. As we stated above, none of these statistics is a magic pill for MLB futures bets, but they certainly may serve as some of the ingredients in the 5-star recipe that we cook up and deliver to our subscribers on a daily basis.  If you would like dine on some winners, CLICK HERE and start winning today.