MLB Bullpen System update: Don't ignore bullpen systems during college football season

MLB Bullpen System update: Don't ignore bullpen systems during college football season

At this time of year, with college football now underway, and pro football’s season kickoff on the horizon, it’s not uncommon for a lot of bettors to abandon what has been their summer passion, betting baseball, in favor of the action on the gridiron. If this is your plan, I urge you to reconsider and stick to the grind that daily baseball wagering can be, as the bullpen systems I have been sharing with you for the past few months have continued to surge, seemingly building on profits week after week. This past week was no exception, especially with the games focusing on the key -190 money line number.

In this week’s update, I’ll dig into the individual systems a little bit later, talk about the overall numbers, which climbed a bit over the past seven days, and share all the updated key bullpen stats, ranks, and streaks to watch for.

Before we dig in, however, just a reminder. Hopefully, you have continued to embrace the idea that better bullpen teams are the stronger wager when assessing the options. They just aren’t accounted for as much as starting pitching by oddsmakers, thus giving bettors value in typically at least 1/3 of games. I also hope the continuous tracking is also convincing you that paying exorbitant prices in baseball makes little sense, as the big favorites continue to lose money for their backers, even with superior bullpens.

What’s the easiest way to use these bullpen ratings? Well, there are more profitable ways (by ROI) as shown by the drill-down systems below, but the easiest method is to simply take the teams with the better Steve Makinen Bullpen Ratings that AREN’T favored by -190 or more or are at least 19% better in winning percentage than the opponent. Had you been doing that all year, taking the overall season record and subtracting the big favorite losses, you’d still be up over +30 units. However, easiest is rarely best, and I will explain several other ways to use the methodology more effectively.

I’ll be continuing my weekly tracking of all these numbers for the rest of the season, and I’m hoping you have actively been employing these principles. I will continue to stress how much I believe in the foundation of the bullpen systems I have been tracking and how easy they are to utilize.

Hopefully, you have been using our new VSiN Analytics feature called the Daily MLB Report, as you can get all of these bullpen systems qualified for you each day as well.

Remember, to fully implement these strategies into your daily baseball betting routine, you only need two things: 1) the details of the systems as noted below and 2) VSiN Pro Access to MAKINEN DAILY POWER RATINGS page under the MLB tab on

FADE better bullpen overpriced favorites of -190 or higher when the win percentage difference of teams is <19%

In games this season through Sunday, August 27, in which the team with the Steve Makinen better-rated bullpen was listed as a favorite of -190 or higher and had a winning percentage less than 19% higher than the opponent, that team now owns a 126-91 record, but for -92.39 units. This is an R.O.I. of -42.6%! These are in essence the definition of overpriced favorites, teams that are marginally better than the opponent but may be getting a boost in the line because of a large starting pitcher edge, a bullpen edge, or an injury or two. Last week this angle was 9-7 for -8.57 units, another huge week of success fading these teams.

BACK big favorites (-190 or more) with better bullpen ratings and winning percentage >=19% higher than opponent

My most recent bullpen ratings discovery has found that big favorites of -190 or higher with better bullpens and a winning percentage of 19% or more than their opponent are now 118-42 for +30.05 units as of Monday, August 28. This coming after an 8-1 performance last week. In analyzing my own strategies for wagering games, I kept realizing that I was rarely backing teams like Atlanta, Los Angeles, etc., and not fading teams like Oakland, Kansas City, Colorado, etc., enough. As it turns out, some big favorites are worth back consistently, regardless of the high prices, because the games are absolute mismatches. The R.O.I. on this newfound discovery angle for the season is +18.8%! Since my introduction of this system two weeks ago, the results are 14-1 for +11.4 units, with Colorado’s upset of Baltimore on Sunday snapping the 14-game winning streak.

Overpriced better bullpen without a big starting pitcher edge angle lost big last week

In combining starting pitcher differences in looking at games with -190 favorites or higher, there’s been an opportunity to be selective in fading overpriced favorites. Specifically, when the starting pitcher difference between the better Steve Makinen-rated bullpen team is less than 20, these big favorites have gone just 58-58 for -71.94 units! This angle was 5-3 last week and again lost -2.1 units. This situation is rare but should be taken advantage of when it arises. The R.O.I. on this amazing angle for the season has steadied and is now at -62%!

Better bullpen underdog teams remain solid wagers despite losses last week

A frequent and profitable system arises when the team with the better SM Bullpen Ratings is playing as an underdog (or pick 'em). After a fine week of 12-10 (+3.65 units), moneyline underdog teams with better bullpen ratings for the season are now 288-293 for +63.48 units. The R.O.I. of this angle remains a healthy 10.9%!

Worse bullpen teams continue to struggle in extending winning streaks

I have found that fading teams with lesser SM bullpen ratings who are looking to extend winning streaks has been a strong strategy. That strategy fared well again last week. After a 5-11 (-5.25 units) week, on 2-game winning streaks, the teams with worse Steve Makinen Bullpen Ratings in a matchup are now 198-204 for -37.76 units, an R.O.I. of -9.4%. After a 3-5 result (-2.61 units), worse bullpen teams on 3+ game winning streaks now have a record of 76-98 for -24.05 units. The R.O.I. on that system continues to produce at -13.8%.

Better bullpen teams are capable of building lengthy winning streaks

In conducting a study of teams with better bullpens on winning streaks, I have not found anything significant on the 2-game data, although these did do OK last week. However, when looking at teams with better Steve Makinen Bullpen Ratings looking to extend 3-game winning streaks, I have tracked that these teams have gone 198-132 for +22.44 units, a respectable R.O.I. of 6.8%. These better bullpen teams had a negative week though, with -1.2 units on a 10-7 performance.

Better bullpen teams thwart losing streaks

Updating the results since August 14, when on two-game losing streaks, the teams with better SM bullpen ratings in a matchup have gone 207-158 for +8.33 units. Better bullpen teams on 3+ game losing streaks had a winning 7-5 week and have now gone 101-68 for +20.83 units The R.O.I. for the season is at 12.3% after the past seven days.

These simple angles can be qualified each day by utilizing the MAKINEN DAILY RATINGS page on

My goal of posting and tracking these angles regularly is to get you to think along the lines of how fundamentally important good bullpens are in handicapping baseball and in being able to realize that no MLB game should ever command such lofty prices. I will continue to stress that I believe the reason for the success for these strategies is that they are foundational systems based upon a key team strength and other situational factors.

The reason these drill-down systems arose is that I wanted VSiN readers to feel more comfortable in betting systems that don’t require wagering on every single game. That said, for the entire season I have again been tracking the original general bullpen system, which took into account the overall record for backing the better bullpen-rated team in every game on the schedule. This is how the analysis started, and I have expanded since. I’ve been using this methodology for the last five or six years to strong profits. It was a solid week overall, with the total record for all bullpen edges this past seven days being 53-36 for +4.36 units.

Back to last week’s results, these were the figures by day:

Monday 8/21: 6-3, +1.17 units

Tuesday 8/22: 9-6, +0.4units

Wednesday 8/23: 10-5, +3.56 units

Thursday 8/24: 4-5, -3.29 units

Friday 8/25: 8-7, -2.9 units

Saturday 8/26: 10-5, +3.61 units

Sunday 8/27: 10-5, +1.81 units

Adding these numbers to the overall season records of this methodology, we are now at 1068-851 for -59.69 units. Even though these are showing losses for the year overall, compare that to the average baseball bettor, who if playing every game so far this season, would be down about -160 units with average performance. We are up to about a 100-unit difference, or what should be referred to as a strategic edge.

Here are the updated key bullpen stats that have been accumulated so far this season, as well as my current Bullpen Power Ratings as we head into this week’s games. Note, ratings were as of games through Sunday, August 27th and I do update them on a daily basis.

Key Bullpen Stats (through games of August 27th)

Top 5 Bullpen ERAs

  1. New York Yankees: 3.30
  2. Atlanta: 3.44
  3. Seattle: 3.48
  4. Cleveland: 3.51
  5. Toronto: 3.53

Worst 5 Bullpen ERAs

  1. Oakland: 5.42
  2. Washington: 5.25
  3. Kansas City: 5.23
  4. Colorado: 5.10
  5. Chicago White Sox: 4.77

Top 5 Bullpen WHIPs

  1. Atlanta: 1.20
  2. Toronto: 1.20
  3. Tampa Bay: 1.21
  4. New York Yankees: 1.22
  5. Milwaukee: 1.23

Worst 5 Bullpen WHIPs

  1. Oakland: 1.53
  2. Colorado: 1.49
  3. Kansas City: 1.48
  4. Los Angeles Angels: 1.47
  5. Washington: 1.45

Top 5 Bullpen Ks/9 innings

  1. Houston: 10.4
  2. Seattle: 10.29
  3. Baltimore: 10.1
  4. Atlanta: 9.78
  5. Toronto: 9.78

Worst 5 Bullpen Ks/9 innings

  1. Washington: 7.93
  2. Colorado: 8.24
  3. Oakland: 8.35
  4. Tampa Bay: 8.47
  5. Detroit: 8.7

Top 5 Bullpen Last 7 Games WHIPs

  1. Baltimore: 0.64
  2. Milwaukee: 1.00
  3. New York Mets: 1.00
  4. Toronto: 1.01
  5. Tampa Bay: 1.04

Worst 5 Bullpen Last 7 Games WHIPs

  1. Detroit: 2.00
  2. Colorado: 2.00
  3. Boston: 1.84
  4. Los Angeles Angels: 1.79
  5. St. Louis: 1.66

I use a manual process of analyzing daily box scores to build my Bullpen Power Ratings. In most cases, the end number is a reflection of the stats listed above with great consideration also given to overall talent, injuries, and momentum.

Biggest Movers in SM Bullpen Power Ratings since last week Monday, August 21st:

Biggest upward movers (PR points)

  1. NY Mets: +9 points
  2. Oakland: +5
  3. Miami, Milwaukee +4
  4. Tampa Bay: +3

Biggest downward movers (PR points)

  1. Colorado: -8 points
  2. Houston: -7
  3. Chi White Sox: -6
  4. Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona, Texas, San Francisco: -5

Steve’s Current Bullpen Ratings/Ranks

Rank - Team - Bullpen PR

  1. Baltimore: 18
  2. Milwaukee: 16
  3. Houston: 14
  4. Toronto: 14
  5. Atlanta: 13
  6. Los Angeles Dodgers: 13
  7. New York Yankees: 12
  8. Seattle: 11
  9. Philadelphia: 11
  10. Tampa Bay: 8
  11. Chicago Cubs: 6
  12. Cincinnati: 6
  13. Pittsburgh: 4
  14. Cleveland: 4
  15. Minnesota: 3
  16. San Francisco: 3
  17. Miami: 0
  18. Boston: -1
  19. Detroit: -1
  20. San Diego: -2
  21. Texas: -7
  22. New York Mets: -7
  23. Washington: -12
  24. St Louis: -14
  25. Los Angeles Angels: -15
  26. Chicago White Sox: -19
  27. Arizona: -20
  28. Oakland: -31
  29. Kansas City: -34
  30. Colorado: -36

These are sorted first by bullpen ranking, and then by overall team power rating. Remember to continue being selective using the drill-down systems I have shared.

As we head into this week’s games, there are three teams on 3+ game winning streaks and three teams on 3+ game losing skids:

Active 3+ game winning streaks (as of 8/28)




Active 3+ game losing streaks (as of 8/28)

Kansas City

San Diego

St Louis