The past month of the MLB season has been defined by some ridiculous winning and losing streaks.
The Braves’ recent hot stretch was perhaps the most impressive, but teams such as the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Yankees and Phillies have also put together torrid runs. On the losing side, the Cubs, Brewers, Angels, Athletics and Pirates fell victim to lengthy skids in recent weeks.
Most of the time these stretches don’t define a team’s season, but they do make for some interesting betting data. Let’s dig into some of the best betting systems that have developed over the last 15 months.
I chose to start the analysis at the four-game mark for both winning and losing streaks. From the start of the 2021 season through the middle of last week, there have been 236 different stretches of teams losing at least four games in a row, and 230 of teams winning at least four in a row.
Here’s a look at team records and ROI if you bet on that team to win during various losing and winning streaks:
Losing streaks: Record in next game
L4: 122-114 (51.7%) %plussign% 31.95 units, ROI: 13.5%
L5: 51-63 (44.7%) -0.03 units, ROI: 0.0%
L6: 28-34 (45.2%) %plussign% 1.98 units, ROI: 3.2%
L7: 10-24 (29.4%) -11.85 units, ROI: -34.9%
L8: 6-18 (25.0%) -9.58 units, ROI: -39.9%
L9: 5-13 (27.8%) -7.93 units, ROI: -44.1%
L10%plussign% : 13-35 (27.1%) -18.56 units, ROI: -38.7%
Winning streaks: Record in next game
W4: 115-115 (50.0%) -22.26 units, ROI: -9.7%
W5: 66-49 (57.4%) %plussign% 2.51 units, ROI: 2.2%
W6: 39-27 (59.1%) %plussign% 3.39 units, ROI: 5.1%
W7: 25-14 (64.1%) %plussign% 8.38 units, ROI: 21.5%
W8: 17-8 (68.0%) %plussign% 4.15 units, ROI: 16.6%
W9: 10-7 (58.8%) %plussign% 2.3 units, ROI: 13.5%
W10%plussign% : 19-9 (67.9%) %plussign% 7.29 units, ROI: 26.0%
The early data is very promising. At the four-game mark for both winning and losing streaks, it has been profitable to bet the opposite way as many streaks tend to end at this point. On the losing-streak side, you’re fairly safe fading the streak through six games (betting on the skidding team to win). After that seems to be a good time to abandon ship (betting on the skidding team to lose). On the winning-streak side, it’s not a bad strategy to back any streaking team once they survive the fifth game. At the seven-win mark, ROI percentages reach double digits.
Whenever I dig into data sets and find promising information, I always like to dig deeper. Some of the variables I looked to add include game locations, betting lines, quality of team and level of play during the streak. Here are some betting systems I was able to uncover. Use these in the coming months to build your bankroll off of streaking teams.
Seven betting systems for losing streaks
— Teams on losing streaks of seven games or more are on a 10-54 slide (-38.4 units, ROI: -60%) as road underdogs. These teams are simply playing too bad to take a chance, even at a big plus-price.
— Teams on losing streaks of seven games or more with a season winning percentage under 43% are on a 19-60 slide (-34.3 units, ROI: -43.4%). These teams are bad and are streaking bad. Not a good combination.
— Strangely, teams on losing streaks of seven games or more do better against better opponents. Against opponents with a winning percentage of at least 62%, these teams are on a 6-5 run (%plussign% 3.77 units, ROI: 34.3%). Against all other opponents, these teams are just 28-85 (-51.7 units, ROI: -45.7%) since the start of the 2021 season. These teams are either more motivated against better teams, or better opponents are taking them for granted.
— Teams on losing streaks of seven games or more are on a 14-38 slide against divisional opponents (-19.9 units, ROI: -38.3%). Divisional foes love to stomp on their rivals when they are down.
— Teams that have lost their last four games and are playing on the road in a competitive line scenario (%plussign% 130 to -300) have been wildly successful in snapping their skids, going 35-21 (%plussign% 12.09 units, ROI: 21.6%). Skidding teams getting respect from oddsmakers on the road are worthy of your betting dollar. Back them as small road dogs or as favorites.
— Teams that have lost their last four games but are getting reasonably good pitching during the skid have been solid wagers, as those allowing 6.0 RPG or fewer during their skid are on a 70-46 run (%plussign% 41.2 units, ROI: 35.5%). These teams are not playing that badly, and thus more capable of cutting a skid short.
— Divisional matchups are the ones most likely to see the end of a four-game losing streak, as these skidding teams are 56-49 (%plussign% 21.53 units, ROI: 20.5%) in divisional games since the start of the 2021 season. Divisional foes provide plenty of motivation for teams to snap out of brief skids.
Seven betting systems for winning streaks
— Teams on winning streaks of five games or more are on an 82-36 run (%plussign% 21.3 units, ROI: 18.1%) as home favorites. The teams are playing well, playing at home and being given a good chance by oddsmakers. A good recipe.
— Strangely, teams on winning streaks of five games or more with a season winning percentage under 50% have been a better investment than those with a winning percentage of at least 50%, as they are on a 26-14 run (%plussign% 12.25 units, ROI: 30.6%). Lesser teams embrace the momentum of winning streaks a little more than those used to greater success.
— Streaking teams with some of the best value are actually those that don’t score a lot of runs. Teams on winning streaks of five games that are scoring fewer than 4.5 RPG are 58-32 (%plussign% 17.1 units, ROI: 19%) since the start of the 2021 season. You typically get better value with streaking teams that don’t otherwise command a higher price.
— Teams on winning streaks of five games or more and playing against non-divisional league opponents are on a 75-44 run (%plussign% 20.44 units, ROI: 17.2%). Non-divisional foes don’t have the same motivation or familiarity needed to end these strong runs.
— Teams that have won their last four games but are playing on the road as large underdogs (more than %plussign% 140) are on a 4-21 slide (-14 units, ROI: -56%). Oddsmakers set the table for these streak stoppers, basically feeding bettors the winning information.
— Not surprisingly, the teams least likely to stretch a four-game winning streak to five are those with losing records. Those teams are on a 21-32 slide (-12.2 units, ROI: -23%). Losing teams probably experienced a lot of good fortune on their way to four straight wins. Don’t count on No. 5 happening.
— Oddly, teams that score the most runs are the best to fade when trying to stretch a four-game winning streak to five. Teams scoring at least 5.0 runs per game and riding a four-game winning streak are just 20-25 (-14.7 units, ROI: -32.6%) since the start of the 2021 season. Good pitching is typically a better common denominator for teams that extend lengthy winning streaks.