Betting on the MLS: Key aspects to bear in mind

The new 2018 season of the USA soccer league, MLS, begins soon, and we have thought about providing you with a series of statistical data from the last six seasons, from 2012 to 2017. All the information we want to discuss from the betting point of view, so you can see how this league has behaved during these years and can be useful for your future strategies. We found a surprising fact in the analysis of betting on the home team win; keep reading the article if you want to discover what I am talking about.

Let’s do it, then!

Longest Streaks in MLS – Let’s avoid Martingale

First, we want to show you a table with the longest streaks that have occurred in these seasons. One of the most common uses that you can find when you have this type of data is to see the consecutive number of times that has occurred, or an event has not occurred, so as not to be tempted to apply certain methods or systems that tend to leave you without all your bank. Within these systems or strategies, one of the best known is “Martingale”, is based on doubling or increasing the stake each time a bet is lost, to end up earning the initial investment.

This type of systems takes advantage of the misinformation of many users when betting that something has to happen, or on the contrary looking for an event not to occur. Most people who bet using these systems do not believe that a team can have a long streak without winning or losing, think that it happens once only enough to destroy all your capital. Imagine applying the same system with the data from the following table. Can someone continuously duplicating or increasing the stake, waiting for a team not to win, or not score 10, 15, 20 times? And in this case it is only a league, if you analyze many more leagues, the streaks will be bigger.

MLS - Longest streaks

wdt_IDStreakGamesTeamSeason
1Consecutive Wins at home9Chicago Fire2017
2Consecutive Draws at home6Columbus Crew2016
3Consecutive Losses at home5Chivas USA, Toronto FC2012
4Consecutive Wins away5Sporting Kansas City2014
5Consecutive Draws away4Seven different teams2014, 2016
6Consecutive Losses away9Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids2016, 2012
7Consecutive Wins overall7Sporting Kansas City2012
8Consecutive Draws overall6Chicago Fire2014
9Consecutive Losses overall9Toronto FC2012
10Consecutive games scoring at home19New York Red Bulls2014
StreakGamesTeamSeason

Analysis of the Over/Under 2.5 market – Advantage of betting on Over

Below we show you the results obtained through the Betamin Builder tool after betting one unit to the market of Over 2.5 or Under 2.5 goals. Normally, the results for both markets are negative, since the bookmaker in our case, Pinnacle, keeps a profit margin for each bet. To know which bookies are the ones that have less margin, and therefore, better odds for the user, it is necessary to pay attention to the Payout. Pinnacle is usually around 97-98% payout, which means that if you bet on the same result in all matches, in the long term there would be approximately 2-3% losses, which is the profit made by the bookmaker. Actually, the process is more complex, because it depends on the results of each bet, but in the long term, it should be like that.

Knowing this, if we analyze the market of goals, we see that during these last seasons, if we had always bet on the over 2.5 market in the MLS league, we would have obtained a small profit, which means that there has been a small inefficiency in the odds set for the Over 2.5 market. If you add the results of both markets, you can see what we have said before, there is a global loss of -3% (0.34% -6.48%), which fits more or less with the payout of this bookie.

 

In the following table, you will find the individual results of each team if a unit was always bet on Over 2.5 goals. You can download the results to Excel if you so wish for any type of study that you want to do. The table shows by default 10 results, to be able to display all, you have to change the selection.

MLS - Betting on Over 2.5 Results

wdt_IDTeamPicksP&LYield
1Montreal Impact10610.3010
2Philadelphia Union1028.709
12Minnesota171.277
3FC Dallas1068.098
4New England Revolution1047.387
11Orlando City512.144
5Portland Timbers1075.685
10Los Angeles Galaxy1132.312
6Toronto FC1085.545
7Chicago Fire1025.085
TeamPicksP&LYield
∑ = 56.46

Here you can see the total results obtained for the Market under 2.5 goals, as well as the individual results of each team.

MLS - Betting on Under 2.5 Results

wdt_IDTeamPicksP&LYield
1Houston Dynamo1097.247
2Sporting Kansas City1063.093
12New York City53-5.94-11
3Colorado Rapids1042.382
4DC United1081.962
11Real Salt Lake106-4.07-4
5Chivas USA511.192
10Minnesota17-3.73-22
6Seattle Sounders114-0.150
7Atlanta United15-1.26-8
TeamPicksP&LYield
∑ = 0.70

As you can see, in this market, although there is a positive result in favor of Over 2.5 due to that small mismatch in the odds that we have already commented, they are usually data that fall within the normal, taking into account the Payout of the bookie and the number of games that have been played all these seasons.

Analysis of the Match Odds Market – Surprise in the Home Team Win

In this case, we analyze the most important market of bets, such as the Match Odds (1X2). If we always bet on the draw or the victory of the away team, we see that losses are incurred. It is normal, we are not applying any type of filter or condition, we are not looking for any pattern that has been repeated these years with good results, it is simply about offering the raw data of those markets.

MLS - Betting on Draw Results

wdt_IDTeamPicksP&LYield
1Portland Timbers10815.4614
2Houston Dynamo11011.4110
12Minnesota17-4.95-29
3Orlando City518.1516
4San Jose Earthquakes1035.665
11Vancouver Whitecaps105-4.88-5
5Atlanta United184.7526
10Sporting Kansas City106-4.54-4
6FC Dallas1074.194
7Los Angeles Galaxy1132.392
TeamPicksP&LYield
∑ = 37.64

If you observe the results by team, you will find that there is some team that has been profitable to bet on draw or the away team win, but they are data without statistical weight, and above all without causality.

MLS - Betting on Away Win Results

wdt_IDAway TeamPicksP&LYield
1Vancouver Whitecaps10617.7717
2New York City5316.5131
12Chivas USA51-11.75-23
3Minnesota1712.2972
4Real Salt Lake1089.439
11Columbus Crew108-11.03-10
5Orlando City514.449
10Toronto FC107-10.43-10
6Atlanta United17-3.32-20
7Sporting Kansas City109-7.36-7
Away TeamPicksP&LYield
∑ = 16.55

Amazing fact! Yield of 5% betting on the Home Team Win

If we bet on the victory of the home team in all games, we find a very striking fact. You get 5% Yield with more than 2k bets. It is a very curious case because as we see in the results graph, it has been growing progressively since 2012. I imagine that you are wondering if it is really profitable to continue betting on the home team considering the historical results. We do not recommend it at all, what it really means is that there has been a mismatch in the odds in the home team, or in other words, an inefficiency has been found in the odds to the home win during these last six years. Typically, this mismatch will be corrected over the next few years, and in the long term, the results will be similar among the three Match Odds options.

If we analyze the individual results of the teams, the data is even more spectacular. There have been a total of 23 teams that have played the MLS league during these last six seasons, 16 of them have had positive results, and only 7 have losses.

MLS - Betting on Home Win Results

wdt_IDHome TeamPicksP&LYield
1DC United10820.1319
2Montreal Impact10619.2618
12Minnesota173.8423
3Seattle Sounders11418.3816
4New England Revolution10415.2115
11Chicago Fire1045.996
5FC Dallas10712.5712
10Columbus Crew1086.506
6New York Red Bulls11110.9110
7Real Salt Lake10610.1110
Home TeamPicksP&LYield
∑ = 122.90

Checking the results per year, we see that we would have obtained a profit every year by betting on the victory of the home team. At the moment it is the only league with this precedent from 54 leagues that we have in Betamin Builder, without applying any filter the results have been positive in all the years.

MLS - Home Win PL Yearly

wdt_IDYearPicksP&LYield
1201233818.916
2201333817.315
320143383.821
4201535741.9312
520163571.340
6201739020.855
YearPicksP&LYield
∑ = 104.16

Regarding the odds, we find that it also has good results practically in all the intervals.

MLS - Home Win Odds

wdt_IDOdds RangePicksP&LYield
11.25 - 1.50743.635
21.51 - 1.753507.642
31.76 - 2.005221.190
42.01 - 2.2550519.074
52.26 - 2.5031457.8418
62.51 - 2.751658.195
72.76 - 3.00949.6410
8> 3.0094-3.04-3
Odds RangePicksP&LYield
∑ = 104.16

Conclusions

In this article, we wanted to analyze a league like the MLS in a different way, focused from a betting point of view. The data presented here can perfectly serve as a basis to start studying or creating a strategy, but we do not recommend betting on the victory of the home team or specific teams because they have had good results in the past. The odd will probably adjust over time and it will stop betting profitable on certain markets.

When a strategy is created, we look for patterns or trends that are expected to be replicated in the future, all analyzed in a detailed way and with a series of tools to try to ensure that it remains profitable in the future. In this case, we do not find any solid argument to think that betting on the home team win in all games of this league or any other, offers you a minimum of guarantees to keep it profitable in the future. Many times I go into shock when reading certain strategies to bet on something in a certain league because the previous season or the last two have had a high Yield, without a minimum study. From here we recommend that you always look for a causality to a certain strategy or system.

This is all. Hopefully, you have found this article useful, if so, then we would appreciate it if you shared this article via social media through the share buttons that you will find at the top or bottom of this post.

If you want us to write about a particular topic, you can send us an email to support@betaminic.com and we will study it in detail.

Thanks!

Comments 6

johnberg

March 22, 2018

Very insightful article. More of those kind!

I see the potential to develop a strategy in MLS based on the given information. My parameters are following:

-Betting on home team to win at odds in between 2.01 to 3.00 (clearly the most profitable odds range);
-Bet only on teams that has shown the profit at home (the green ones);
-Avoid betting on the games when away team is one of the 5 teams that show the profit in away matches. For example New York CIty is having a good yield and profit on the road, therefore the match on March 24, between New England Revolution and New York City will be avoided.

What is your opinion about this kind of strategy, do you see the long-term potential for it and if there is any suggestions how to improve it?

Looking forward to your opinion

Betaminic Admin

March 22, 2018

Hi johnberg,

Thanks for your comments and for the strategy you propose. Regarding the strategy, it could be profitable in the long term. The goal is to look for value in the teams that play at home with fairly high odds and exclude those teams that had a positive yield when they play as a visitor. The approach seems very interesting. Maybe you could filter the home teams that have had a yield higher than 10% throughout this period, it’s a matter of trying different options.

What we recommend is to follow the results of this strategy for a while before investing real money, to know if it has good results, or if some parameters have to be adjusted. We will also try to follow up for a few months to know how it is evolving.

Kind regards,
Betaminic

johnberg

March 23, 2018

I have been researching this strategy even further. Regarding your advice about filtering home teams with yield higher than 10% a decided to give them a bit of “discount” and therefore, I filtered home teams with a yield of at least 5% to keep the resonable sample size that is still profitable. That gave me 881 bets over 7 seasons (including the current season), with profit of 93 pts and 10% yield. Meanwhile, I kept using the away team filter and added a new filter based on the statistics in this blogpost. Now, I am also exluding the games where away team is profitable by betting on draws because when betting on home win draw or away win means the same – bet lost.

Out of 6 complete seasons only one in 2016 has showed the minus when filtered only by home win parameter. In that one the data stand as follows – 144 bets, -3 pts and negative yield of 2%.

Then, I put the data from season 2016 into the Excel spredsheet and filtered out unprofitable away teams in terms of draws and away wins based on this blogpost. Result was impressive – 87 bets, 4 pts profit and positive yield of 5%.

At the end, usage of those filters gives a positive yield for all seasons. It also significantly descreases the sample size but in my opinion it is about cutting the loses. As we can see, only in this one season those filters gave positive difference for the balance of 7 pts in total and the same for yield – 7% improvement.

Betaminic Admin

March 24, 2018

Hi johnberg,

We find this new proposal very interesting, thanks for sharing it. If you have found a pattern that is able to obtain a positive yield year after year, that’s a good sign. Of course, it is not a guarantee that it will continue to obtain good results in the future, because the market odds may adjust, but it does seem a solid base to follow up for a while and see how that strategy behaves.

Let’s wait a few months and see how it evolves.

Well done!

Martinfub

April 25, 2018

Hi All im newbie here. Good article! Thx! Thx!

PabloImalo

May 3, 2018

Bravo, what words…, a remarkable idea

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