MLB Betting: Giants Paying Dividends Yet Again

San Francisco Giants players celebrate a 3-2 victory over the Miami Marlins at Oracle Park.
Image Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

If you asked a bunch of sports bettors — both professional and recreational — which sport they most enjoy betting, there’s a good chance the answer wouldn’t be the NFL. Or college football. Or college or pro hoops.

Rather, the consensus choice probably would be baseball. The reason? Sheer volume. With 30 teams playing 162 regular season games, the national pastime provides six months of endless MLB betting opportunities. And with dozens of matinee games on the schedule each week, those wagering opportunities often stretch from just past sunrise to well past sunset.

But the volume that makes baseball so fun to bet also makes it difficult for those interested in turning a consistent profit. Adding to that difficulty are all the game’s nuances, especially in an age of advanced analytics.

That’s why information — and a lot of it — is vital when it comes to MLB betting. And that’s where comes in. Periodically throughout the season, we’ll share up-to-date MLB betting trends, stats and tips — all designed to help you enjoy a summer filled with peanuts, Cracker Jack and winning tickets.

So without further delay, let’s see what the first three weeks of the 2022 season have delivered from an MLB betting perspective.

All numbers updated through games played Tuesday, April 27.

Show Me The Money

San Francisco Giants right fielder Joc Pederson shouts and high-fives teammates in the dugout after hitting a solo home run against the Washington Nationals
Image Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, the San Francisco Giants not only won a franchise-record 107 games — and somehow held off the loaded Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West — but they made bettors a fortune. San Francisco finished the regular season just a few dollars short of being the most profitable team in MLB. (The team that beat the Giants to the bottom line finish line? The Seattle Mariners. Go figure.)

This season, MLB betting experts predicted a precipitous drop-off for San Francisco. Essentially calling their historic 2021 season a fluke, oddsmakers pegged the Giants’ win total at just 84.5 — a distant third in their own division behind the Dodgers (99) and Padres (87.5).

Obviously, three weeks does not a season make, but so far, San Francisco is flipping the bird to those oddsmakers — and every bettor who shared the same “regression” opinion. The Giants entered Wednesday at 13-5 and are the top money team in MLB at +5.62 units. (In other words, if you wagered $100 on all 18 Giants games to date, you would be ahead $562, losses and juice included.)

The New York Mets (14-5) own baseball’s best record and are right on San Francisco’s heels at +5.53 units. Next in line are the Rockies (10-7, +5.26), Toronto Blue Jays (12-6, 3.99) and, yes, the Mariners (11-6, 3.68).

What about the teams bringing up the rear? That group is ignominiously led by the Cincinnati Reds, who are off to a 3-14 start. At -9.41 units, the Reds are far and away the MLB’s costliest team, followed by the Washington Nationals (6-13, -5.29), Chicago White Sox (6-10, -5.07), Boston Red Sox (7-11, -4.54), and Philadelphia Phillies (8-10, -4.06).

Here’s The Pitch …

Starting pitcher Walker Buehler #21 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches during the 1st inning of the National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves at Dodger Stadium
Image Credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

It’s the first thing every baseball bettor learns upon dipping their toe in the MLB wagering waters: It’s all about pitching. (If that’s not the first thing you learned, you should’ve gotten a new teacher!)

So which teams have been dealing on the bump so far this season? To nobody’s surprise, most of the ones at the top of the profitability charts.

The Giants (2.40 ERA), Mets (2.59) and Mariners (3.02) rank second, third and sixth, respectively, in team ERA. The Dodgers are No. 1 with a bullet at 2.21, while the New York Yankees (2.85) and St. Louis Cardinals (3.02) slot between the Mets and Mariners.

The same ERA-profitability correlation also rings true at the bottom end — but only the very bottom. The Reds have an MLB-worst 5.63 ERA, followed by the Nationals (5.34). The next-highest ERAs belong to the Pirates (5.33), Rangers (4.89) and Rockies (4.53). Yet, as noted above, Colorado has been an early-season moneymaker. So, too, has Pittsburgh, but to a lesser degree (8-9 record, +1.32 units). On the other hand, Texas (6-11, -3.63) ranks just ahead of the Phillies.

Equally important, of course, is the performance of relief pitchers, who see far more mound time these days than they did in the 20th century. Here are the top and bottom bullpen ERAs to date:

  • Top 5: Giants (1.70), Dodgers (2.22), Tigers (2.22), Cubs (2.47), Cardinals (2.52)
  • Bottom 5: Rockies (4.61), Phillies (4.41), Pirates (4.23), Twins (4.22), Angels (4.11)

The biggest takeaway from the early pitching numbers: Colorado is delivering for bettors more than it should. Look for a regression very soon. (And in fact, the Rockies enter Wednesday 2-4 in their last six games — and they were outscored 50-11 in those four losses.)

Armed And Dangerous

Baltimore Orioles left-handed starting pitcher Bruce Zimmerman throws a pitch in the first inning during a spring training game against the Boston Red Sox
Image Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Knowing which clubs consistently get the job done from 60 feet, 6 inches (and which don’t) is key to making money betting baseball. The same goes for knowing which individual pitchers are putting dough in bettors’ pockets. And chances are, you probably didn’t have that knowledge … until now.

The top-10 starting pitchers from a profitability standpoint include just one household name: Max Scherzer. The Mets are 4-0 in Scherzer’s starts this season, which yielded +3.03 units. Six other hurlers — including one of the three-time Cy Young winner’s teammates — are even better.

Orioles southpaw Bruce Zimmerman is 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA through the first three starts of his sophomore season. But Baltimore has won all three games — each as a hefty underdog — resulting in +4.69 units. Right behind Zimmerman: Pittsburgh’s Bryse Wilson (team 3-0, +4.36), Seattle’s Logan Gilbert (3-0, +3.98), Colorado’s Chad Kuhl (4-0, +3.95), Toronto’s Jose Berrios (4-0, +3.73) and the Mets’ Tylor Megill (4-0, +3.46).

As for reigning Cy Young winners Robbie Ray (AL) and Corbin Burnes (NL): The Mariners are 3-1 in Ray’s four starts (+1.29), while Milwaukee is 2-2 in Burnes’ four outings (-1.48).

Swing And A Miss

Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson loses his helmet swinging at a pitch against the Miami Marlins
Image Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Obviously, full-game totals are a huge part of MLB betting — as are runlines, first five inning sides and totals, and first-inning run props. We’ll get to the latter three in a future edition. For now, let’s take a look at MLB’s top Over and Under teams.

We’ll start with a hint you probably don’t need, given all the chatter about low-scoring games to start the season: There aren’t a lot of Over teams! In fact, entering Wednesday’s games, only the Mariners and Cleveland Guardians have played more Overs than Unders (9-8).

Four squads — Rangers, Phillies, White Sox and Reds — are dead even at 8-8. The other 24 clubs have been solid Under bets through the first three weeks of the campaign. The top five Under teams:

  • Diamondbacks 13-4
  • Orioles 12-3
  • Padres 12-6
  • Dodgers 11-5
  • Yankees and Astros 11-6

Will these Under trends hold up over the summer? Definitely not, especially as the weather warms and hitters — who had a truncated spring training this year — further hone their timing. For now, though, the best option for building your MLB betting bankroll is to ride the Under train until it comes to a screeching halt.