MLB Playoffs Betting Tips

Boston Red SoxWhether this 2018 MLB season has put you on top or left your wallet drained, finishing strong with a solid month of October would be a dream scenario. Easier said than done, right? Not necessarily!

I will break down a profitable trend that has been making MLB playoffs bettors money for the past several years as well as give insight into how I approach betting playoff baseball.

Small Home Favorites Are Good MLB Playoffs Bets

For the first several years of this decade, road teams fared exceptionally well in the MLB playoffs, posting better win percentages than their NBA or NFL counterparts. This all changed in 2017.

Any bettors who blindly backed road teams were crushed by a 11-27 record and a -38.4% ROI – ouch! Those who only bet road dogs took an even bigger hit. Road dogs won just 6 games while losing 21 en route to a -49.7% ROI.

While this trend turned in a major way, there is a trend that has remained consistent for the past four seasons. While much of the public is focused on the numbers I just mentioned, smart MLB playoffs bettors know to fly under the radar and capitalize on these little-known emerging patterns.

Home favorites have been a very solid pick in each season since 2014, provided that the game is projected to be close. If the underdog’s line is 120 or less in the game, home favorites have played to the following records. Take a look:


Year Record ROI
2017 5-3 16.3%
2016 4-2 24.1%
2015 3-2 10.2%
2014 8-5 11.6%


There are two options when you find a system like this. You can either bet it straight or use it as the foundation of a deeper strategy. You can now handicap games based on things like momentum, starting pitchers, or bullpen rest, giving the benefit of the doubt to the small home favorite.

Betting MLB Playoffs Series Can Make or Break You

Baseball’s entire 162-game schedule is divided into series and the playoff format is no different. You would think that many baseball bettors would enjoy betting on series outcomes but few take advantage.

Betting on series provides a couple advantages that keen bettors can use to leverage greater profits:

1)    You no longer are required to pick the winners of individual games.

When you bet an individual game, one fluke play or mistake can ruin your chances. When betting series, your team can drop a couple of close contests and still win you money.

 2)   Awesome hedging/arbitrage opportunities toward end of series.

 Imagine you bet the favored Mariners at -125 to win a hypothetical AL division series against the Indians. You bet $625 to win $500.

After six games, the series is deadlocked and heading to the deciding Game 7. Pretend the Indians have suffered a couple of major injuries during the series and now have to throw a mediocre pitcher. The line for this final game is Mariners -190, Indians +175. Do you see the opportunity here?

You stand to win $500 from the series bet if the Mariners win this game. You can let it ride and risk losing your initial $625 bet or you can hedge your bet and create an arbitrage situation, in which it is literally impossible to lose money!

 Say we put $400 on the Indians in Game 7. This means we will win our series bet if the M’s win and our Game 7 bet if the Tribe wins. As you can see by the chart below, this approach will make us money every single time!


Outcome Profit from Series Bet Profit from Game 7 Bet Total Profit
Mariners Win $500 -$400 $100
Indians Win -$625 $700 $75


You can always let your original bet fly solo and go for the big jackpot, but I think making $75-100 in guaranteed profit sounds pretty nice.

If you become good at picking series, you will be presented with arbitrage situations like this all the time!

The Author

Kreighton Rahn

Kreighton Rahn

Kreighton Rahn is a contributing writer for Rahn, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in writing at the University of Michigan, is a former sports betting content writer for the now defunct OGSports. Kreighton has a love of both sports and mathematics, and he is a dedicated sports fan as well as an avid sports bettor. His favorite sports to follow and bet are MLB, NFL, NBA, and men's college football and basketball.

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