I’ve poured through the MLB Game Logs and have found countless useful trends. I wanted to point out a few specific trends that relate to using the Las Vegas spread and over/under. Note that each season of the Game Logs include over 55,000 games from both pitchers and hitters. Here were some of the most interesting findings in reference to the Vegas odds.
Why is Vegas so important?
So much of the data and information that we have available to us is reactive. That means that we learn about it after the game has already been played. For DFS purposes, we need to try and be more predictive than reactive. The line and over/under that Las Vegas sets are two of the few predictive options we have available to us. No one is perfect, of course. Vegas gets it wrong all the time, but they are currently our best option for predicting the outcome of a game. What you’ll notice is that there is clear correlation between Vegas odds and fantasy results.
Let’s start with the over/under or “totals”. This is a number assigned to a game where Vegas is predicting how many runs will be scored. It’s obvious that you want to target games and players who are playing in games with high totals. However, even with that being said, I didn’t realize how clear the correlation was until I ran the numbers:
The chart above shows the average number of DraftKings points scored by every player in the games that match the according total. While it might not seem like a game with an 8.0 total is a big difference than a game with a 9.0 total, the stats would prove that wrong. A 0.8 fantasy point increase is a 13% increase. It’s not like these games aren’t available to target. Games with an 8.0 total or higher accounted for 48% of all games last season.
It’s also logical that players on the team designated as the “favorite” are much more desirable than those on the “underdog”. The favorite is the team that is likely to win, meaning they will score more runs and the numbers back it up. Players in an underdog situation averaged 5.6 DraftKings points per game, while their favorite counterparts averaged 6.2 DK PPG. The bigger the favorite, the more points they scored:
So according to the trends from last season, you should be doing everything you can to target players on teams that are large favorites, with large totals. Again, that’s logical, but many owners are not using this information to their advantage.
As you can image, the charts for the pitchers are almost identically inverted from the charts of the hitters. Even though it’s expected, it doesn’t make the data any less valuable:
The tipping point for pitchers really starts with games that are 7.5 or less. Those type of games account for 51% of all games. None of this information is groundbreaking but it’s something that I didn’t realize was so prevalent until I dug deeper into the numbers.
As you can imagine, the bigger the favorite, the better the game for pitchers. Here it is visualized:
The money line is interesting for DFS purposes since there is a fairly large bonus for a pitcher getting the win. The Money Line is a predicator of the team’s chances to win, which certainly have a correlation with the starting pitchers chance to win.
So, what do we do with this information? Well, we use it to our advantage. We target pitchers and hitters that are playing for the favorites to win and the bigger the favorite, the better. Additionally, paying attention to the over/under makes a huge difference. Finding a way to roster hitters in games with high totals and pitchers in games with low totals is going to be incredibly valuable over the course of the season.