Successfully handicapping Major League Baseball can be a very complex task. One can become overwhelmed trying to analyze all of the statistical data that is readily available these days. Some obvious questions we ask ourselves when handicapping are; Which data should I use? How do I use it? Is my bookmakers line a good one? How much should I wager? These are some questions that I have spent many hours pondering, studying and answering. Ultimately, I have identified what I feel are the three most relevant statistics, or metrics, to use in MLB handicapping. Using these three stats, I have developed a formula called the Triple Trend Formula (TTF), which results in a numerical rating for each matchup that can be used to determine the likelihood of a particular outcome.
I am always tinkering with my formulas, but I will essentially be keeping the 2019 version of the TTF as is. The only subtle improvement will be in showing my final calculation in the traditional baseball money line format (just the favorite) as opposed to a numerical rating as I did in the past. I feel this will more clearly show the discrepancy, relative to the bookmakers line, that I seek in my handicapping process.
Since the Triple Trend Formula is proprietary, I won't divulge the specifics, but I can tell you in general terms that the three statistics used are taken from the following categories:
- Starting pitcher
- Team relief pitching
- Team batting
Also, I use a 1-3 unit scale.
Here's an example of how it works: I'm interested in a Yankees vs. Red Sox matchup. My bookmaker is offering odds of NYY -195 and BOS +165. These odds assume that the Yankees have a *66.10% chance of winning and the Red Sox *37.74%. Of course, this adds up to more than 100%, but bookmakers create markets that go above 100% to give themselves an edge, which is how they make their profit.
*Standard odds conversion for win probability
OK, but how does the TTF calculate this game?
The TTF calculates this matchup as NYY -359.
Great, but what does that tell me?
It implies NYY have a 78.21% chance of winning. This is 12.11% better than my book is calculating. This level of an advantage for a favorite piques my interest, but just slightly, perhaps for a unit bet. At -195, I would win just $51.28 on a $100 bet. Betting baseball favorites is tough task as you need to win at an extremely high percentage to be profitable. For example, At -160, you need to win more than 62 percent of games to make money. At -240 it is 71 percent. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t bet them because it is too hard to make money. It just means that you shouldn’t bet those odds unless you are confident that you can win enough to make a profit.
That's why us baseball bettors really love underdogs and why I really look for instances where the TTF calculates the book's underdog as the favorite. In these instances, I will usually recommend a 2 or 3 unit play.
Let's use this same NYY / BOS matchup and assume the TTF calculates BOS -115. This implies a 53.49% chance of BOS winning. The best part is that if I bet $100 on BOS and they win, I win $165. It's easy to see that you don't even have to win 50% of the time betting underdogs to be profitable. In this case, I would likely recommend a 2 unit bet
It's important to understand that the TTF formula is essentially what Vegas and the offshore bookmakers use to set their initial line, but the difference is that they then have to factor in the public sentiment, or bias. After setting the initial line, the money wagered on each side is what will move it one way or the other. A sharp bettor ignores the public sentiment in his handicapping, but will pay close attention to the line in determining whether to, or how much to bet.
The objective of the TTF is to come up with an unbiased line and to take advantage of instances where there is a significant discrepancy.
Have a great 2019 MLB season, players!