2021 Major League Baseball: Best Teams to Bet On (Part 1/2)

Baseball Jul 01, 2021

Last month at about this same time, we examined gambling data from the first third of games of the 2021 Major League Baseball regular season.


We were eager to find out which teams early in the season had been the best moneyline performers and also which teams were the worst bets of the season.

Now, we want to see if those teams have continued their early-season patterns.

At the time, the Chicago White Sox were the hottest team in the majors.  But San Francisco was undoubtedly baseball's biggest surprise.  Now at the end of June – just a week away from the All-Star break – we have much more data, including 30 additional days worth of games to be added to our statistical vault.

In today's report, we're updating the best-to-worst teams in the majors ranked according to their ROI.  In other words, had you wagered $100 on every team in each game, how would all of the teams fare according to the investment?  Note that a losing team can actually be a very good ROI for bettors, and a winning team can lose money for its backers.  So much depends on teams either exceeding or falling short of oddsmakers' and public expectation.

Note:  All data is taken from EV ANALYTICS and is current as of 30 June 2021.

So, what does all this data mean?

Here are some of the highlights, including a few surprises.

Based on odds and results from roughly 80 games completed per team, here are the top five moneymakers so far this season:

#1 – San Francisco Giants ..... The mighty Giants continue being Major League Baseball's breakout team in 2021 and are a shocker as to where they stand right now.  San Francisco is 21 games above the .500 mark, +97 in run differenial, and in first place – which is where they've been all season.  Most baseball fans and certainly gambling markets expected the Giants to fade away by now, but all they do is win.  Backing the Giants has been the best bet in baseball, returning +19.77 percent overall.  San Francisco has been an underdog in a majority of games and oddsmakers have been slow to react to their success.  The Giants might continue providing value (and profits) the rest of the way.  We'll see.

#2 – Seattle Mariners ..... This is a stunning development.  The Mariners were hot back in April, then as predicted, they faded in May and many bettors thought they'd collapse.  Big surprise – Seattle started playing good ball again (42-39 at the moment).  While that's not good enough to be playoff-bound, Mariners backers have been rewarded big time with some impressive profits.  Betting on every Mariners' game this season has returned nearly 17 percent in profit.  This is almost inexplicable since Seattle has a negative -47 run differential through 81 games). Few observers expect Seattle to be a winning team as we approach the second half of the season, but we might want to be careful about fading this team given how well they've played and the amount of return on investment.

#3 – Boston Red Sox ..... The Red Sox hit the 50-win mark and currently share the honor as the team with the best record in the major leagues.  Boston is a whopping 19 games above .500 and, no surprise, they've also been a great investment, when listed as favourites.  The Red Sox produced 12.69 perent in profit betting them in every game this season, which is a remarkable return since Boston tends to be a popular public team (in other words, overvalued by betting markets).

#4 – Tampa Bay Rays ..... The Rays play in a stacked division, with four possible playoff contenders, but have been in or near first place much of the season.  Tampa Bay has been in a mini-slump the last few weeks, but remains 13 games over .500. They've returned 7.01 percent to bettors, so far.  The Rays don't have many superstars but seem to win as a team, each player doing his part.  Tampa Bay will probably continue being an underrated commodity worth betting on, easpecially when they're underdogs.

#5 – Oakland A's ..... Oakland is likely to be in a tight race with Houston the rest of the season to see who wins the AL West.  After a horrific start, the A's are now 14 games over the .500 mark.  Wagering $100 on Oakland every game this season would have netted +7.64 percent in profit, which ranks as the 5th best in the majors.  Another interesting observation is that even though the A's and Astros have similiar W-L records, while Oakland has produced a nice return for their backers, Houston is a small money loser this season overall (-2.32 percent).  So, this is an indication Oakland is overperforming against odds and expectations – which the A's often seem to do.

Note:  In the next article, we'll take a look at which baseball teams have been the worst bets overall this season.