Tropicana Field

  • In the last five years, the 2018 Milwaukee Brewers (+19.42u), 2018 Tampa Bay Rays (+22.28u) and 2016 Texas Rangers (+27.83u) have had the best seasons.
  • Using this info, the teams with the best chance of reaching these numbers in 2020 are the Cleveland Indians and the Tampa Bay Rays.

LAS VEGAS – The absence of daily baseball has made the Spring, and now the Summer, a barren time for any devoted fan or bettor of the game.

These days, bet slips are usually full of baseball odds as teams begin to take shape around the mid-June mark. Usually, teams are beginning to show promise, or demise, around this point in the season, and things can start to heat up as we head into Summer.

Unfortunately, none of that is happening right now, and baseball bettors are forced to look at past seasons in fond retrospect in hopes of a return to the ballpark sooner rather than later.

Folks over at ESPN took this time to compile the best seasons against the spread by each MLB franchise over the last 20 years.

Taking a look at betting seasons past can be pleasant, or haunting, for some, but what is most important for the future is looking at this data and applying it. In order to do this, we must first take a look at the recent standouts on this list.

2018 Milwaukee Brewers (+19.42u)

The Brewers in 2018 stormed back in the second half of the season to win the NL Central on the last day of the season. They finished with a 96-67 record behind an MVP season from Christian Yelich, eventually losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers in game 7 of the NLCS.

What made this team perform so well against the spread was their ability to win close games, and exceed expectations, a trend that will be replicated by the next teams as well.

2018 Tampa Bay Rays (+22.28u)

In the very same season as the Brewers, the Devil Rays pulled off a wild feat to exceed expectations after a 4-13 start. The Rays roared back over the season to a 90-72 record, barely missing the playoffs in the AL.

The important thing to note here is that this was a team that finished third place in their own division, yet posted one of the highest ATS numbers of the last five years.

In order to make a profit, you just have to beat the books, not the league.

2016 Texas Rangers (+27.83)

The crown jewel of recent baseball betting history was this 2016 season put together by Jeff Banister’s Texas Rangers.

The Rangers finished with a 95-67 record and a whopping +27.83 units up against the spread. The key to this number was again, expectations.

The Rangers were last in the AL West in 2014 and rose to a surprise title in 2015.

Legal sports betting sites assumed the Rangers would regress in 2016, which led them to be extremely undervalued.

This is the key to finding the right team to back.

How Can We Use This Going Forward?

Analyze this data just at a surface level and it is apparent what the overarching trend is: teams outperforming expectations.

All of these teams were not World Series champions, in fact, they weren’t even favored in most of their games.

They did so well against the spread because the sportsbooks didn’t believe they could win.

Now, it is a bettor’s duty to find the next team that is set to outperform expectations and prove the oddsmakers wrong.

Assuming baseball is played in 2020, there is a strong candidate.

Cleveland Indians

The Indians are a terrific team and have been for a couple of years now.

Unfortunately, due to some bad luck (and running into the 2016 dream-team Cubs in the World Series), the Indians haven’t gotten the respect they deserve.

In the last four years, they have put up records of 93-69, 91-71, 102-60, and 94-67 dating back to 2016, respectively.

This is a strong franchise that isn’t about to fade away, yet for some reason, they are tied for the 11th best odds to win the World Series.

2020 World Series Champion

  • Los Angeles Dodgers +325
  • New York Yankees +325
  • Houston Astros +775
  • Atlanta Braves +1500
  • Minnesota Twins +1800
  • Washington Nationals +1800
  • New York Mets +2000
  • Chicago Cubs +2200
  • St. Louis Cardinals +2200
  • Tampa Bay Rays +2200
  • Chicago White Sox +2400
  • Cleveland Indians +2400
  • Los Angeles Angels +2400

If the oddsmakers continue to undervalue the Indians, expect them to put up huge numbers against the spread this season.

The Indians are just one example of how this data can be analyzed.

As with any bet, predicting the future based on prior data is the name of the game.

No one thought any of the previous teams would end up as profitable as they were. Since it is all a matter of expectations, baseball bettors – and sports bettors in other sports as well – should always be looking for those thriving teams against their own expectations.

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