In a recent Bet Labs hangout a user theorized that teams after a loss in the first game of a doubleheader would be more likely to win the second game. The reasoning was simple. Teams after a loss would be more motivated and the team that won might be more inclined to rest starters if they had already won a game.
On Sunday, the Twins won Game 2 of a doubleheader against the Royals after dropping the opening game to Kansas City. Is this betting theory correct, are teams that lose the first game of a doubleheader undervalued?
To answer this question we need to use two Bet Labs filters. The first is the “Previous Game Margin”, which we will set to negative because we want teams that lost their previous game. Then we will use the “Days Between games” filter and set that to zero.
Betting the team that lost the first game of a doubleheader has been a losing proposition. Since 2005, teams that lost the first game went 139-151 (47.9%) straight-up, -16.22 units in the second game.
There is no value betting the team that lost the first game of a doubleheader. If you want a betting edge, back the team that won Game 1.
Since 2005, teams that won the first game of a doubleheader and then are favored in the second have gone 96-59 (61.9%) on the moneyline, +11.38 units.
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