The circus life of Major League Baseball is unlike any other pro sport. Teams play a game, rush to the airport to fly across the county that night, and are back on the field the next day staring down a new opponent.
Only four American League clubs have a winning record in this situation – Baltimore, Oakland, Seattle and Texas – while six National League teams are above .500 when coming off a game and travel the night before – Atlanta, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, St. Louis and San Francisco.
Just the AL East (29-28) and NL Central (29-26) have a collective winning record in this situation. American League clubs are 76-93 coming off a game and travel while the National League boasts a 76-86 record when going field-runway-field. That’s an MLB-wide 45.9 winning percentage for teams playing and traveling the night before.
“(Travel) does play into (the odds) for sure,” Peter Korner, founder of the Nevada-based odds service The Sports Club, told Covers. “It’s a long season and clubs have to rest some people. We consider it more in extreme cases.”
Korner notes that oddsmakers send out the overnight MLB odds for the next day before that day’s schedule is even played, and says bettors can find value scouting those teams traveling that night especially if that day’s contest goes long.
“If we put the line out for the next day and that night’s game goes long or into extras, (bettors) play it. And it’s up to the bookmakers to make the change, but usually by that point (bettors) have already made their play,” he says. “It’s an angle bettors should play. There are so many games and it’s such a long tough season.”
A perfect example of finding value fading a team with a busy travel sked are the Pittsburgh Pirates, who enter Tuesday’s action as the best bet in the majors at +15.10 units (41-29). However, the Bucs would be even more profitable if they weren’t 2-10 in outings when coming off a game and travel the day before.