Opening Day! The start of another baseball season begins Sunday with a tripleheader: Yankees at Rays, Giants at Diamondbacks and Cubs at Cardinals. Then the rest of the league plays their first game on Monday. What should bettors know about favorites on Opening Day?

Since 2005, favorites in the regular season have gone 16,689-12,436 (57.3%) on the moneyline. Despite the winning record it would have been unwise to bet favorites blindly (-517.51 units). However, that changes on Opening Day.

Using the Game Number filter we can see that favorites in the first game of the season have gone 114-67 (63.0%), +13.92 units. Why?

The most likely reasons are that teams enter the season as healthy as they will be all year. Typically a team’s ace will start the first game and every arm will be available in the bullpen. All of these factors are advantageous for the better (likely favored) team in the first game of the season.

Betting favorites on Opening Day is even more profitable when the opposing team missed the playoffs the year before. Teams in this situation have gone 98-50 (66.2%), +18.17 units.

There is one more filter we can add to squeeze the last drops of equity out of favorites in the first game of the season. As you can see from the chart below the sweet spot for betting favorites against non-playoff teams is when a team is -120 favorites or greater. This decreases our sample size (by less than 25%) but it eliminates the weakest favorites and thus improves our winning rate and return on investment.

You’re probably skipping work to watch your favorite team play on Opening Day. Make a little money while out of the office by betting favorites against non-playoff teams in the first game of the season.

Favorites vs. Non-Playoff teams Opening Day

MoneylineRecordROIUnits
All98-5012.3%+18.17
-120 or greater83-3219.7%+22.64
-130 or greater68-2716.5%+15.64
-140 or greater58-2512.3%+10.22
-150 or greater43-1516.9%+9.8

2017 MLB Season

All Pro System picks generated a profit of 117.03 units in 2016

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