Luis Severino threw seven strong innings, Gary Sanchez homered and Aaron Judge had a big hit to help the Yankees beat the Indians 7-3 on Monday. New York forced a decisive Game 5 on Wednesday. Which team will advance to the ALCS? It’s tough to say, winner-take-all games are hard to predict.
Does home field advantage matter in the playoffs? Not really. Home teams have won 54.1% of games in the regular season and 55.8% of games during the postseason.
In series deciding games since 2005, including the Wild Card, the home team is 15-19 straight-up, -8.26 units since 2005.
Does Vegas know something we don’t? The oddsmakers are usually right but when it comes to picking which team will advance in a winner-take-all game the moneyline gives us little information. The favorite in these games have gone 18-16, -2.39 units. Not including the Wild Card games, favorites are 10-12, -4.28 units.
Momentum is on the Yanks side after forcing a Game 5. Is there any carry-over effect for the team that won the previous game? Nah. Not including Wild Card games, the team that won the last game has gone 11-11, -1.15 units.
Against the Public
A simple strategy for betting playoff baseball is to fade the public. Unfortunately, like with the other stats there is no edge in these deciding games. Teams getting 50% or less of moneyline bets are 16-19, -0.02 units.
There is no edge to be found betting the moneyline but perhaps the total offers value. To avoid seeing their season end managers should pull out all stops (think using a starter for one out). Aggressive use of the bullpen could potentially lead to fewer runs scored. In these games, the UNDER has gone 18-15, +1.24 units. Positive results but not strong enough to draw definitive conclusions.
These are small samples but clearly home field advantage, the betting favorites nor momentum can tell us who will be victorious in a winner-take-all MLB Playoff game.
The betting market reflects this data. At the time of publication 52% of moneyline bets were on the Indians -192 and 54% of moneyline dollars are on the Yankees +176. It’s anyone’s game.
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