The betting public tends to adore teams that have just come off a World Series Championship the previous year and as a result, value may be present in fading these teams. In this article, we went back all the way to the 2004 season and gathered data on how defending champions performed in their opening game, opening series, home opener, first home series, and overall performance prior to May 1st. The expectation was that there’d be some value in fading these teams. Let’s see if our intuition holds up.
For the prior years’ World Series Champions, from the years 2004 to 2017, these teams posted a 6-8 record on opening day games. Had you placed a $100 wager for all of these teams to win their opening games, you’d be down $239. On the other hand, had you faded these teams and bet on the opposing team instead, you’d have netted a profit of $179. Additionally, during this stretch, the World Series Champions have been underdogs five times, posting a mediocre 1-4 record.
In this situation, we took a look at what would have happened had you bet on the World Series Champion in every game during their first series following the year after which they won the World Series. From looking back at the past 14 years, World Series Champions have gone 21-20 had you bet on every single game during their opening series. Had you bet $100 on each of these games, you’d have barely netted a profit – $111 to be exact. On the other hand, had you faded the World Series Champions in all of these games, you’d be down $251. Clearly, the best strategy would be to ignore the opening series and try to find value elsewhere.
The first opener is typically when the World Series Champions from the previous year are presented with their championship rings. In home opener games from 2004 to 2017, World Series Champions have gone 9-5 over the past 14 years. Again, had you bet $100 on each of these games on the World Series Champion, you’d have netted a profit of $181. On the other hand, had you faded the World Series Champions in each of these games, you’d be down $240. While the World Series Champions do have a 9-5 record in these games, the fact that they’re such heavy favorites may not be a good betting option over the long-run.
Opening Home Series
Although World Series Champions have gone 9-5 in their home opener games, what really stood out was the fact that these teams only posted a record of 9-18 over the remaining games in the opening home series – an abysmal .333 winning percentage! It seems that all of the excitement surrounding the championship ring ceremony fell flat for the rest of the series. World Series Champions posted an 18-23 record for all games during their opening home series. Had you bet $100 on the World Series Champions, you’d be looking at a loss of $1,305. On the other hand, had you faded the World Series Champions, you’d be looking at a handsome profit of $1,035. Clearly, the best strategy here would be to wait until after the first game of the home opener series to load up on the opposing team.
Prior To May 1st
Fading the World Series Champions on all of their games prior to May 1st would clearly be a bad idea, opposite to our intuition. Over the past 14 years, World Series Champions have posted a record of 186-150 on all of their games prior to May 1st. Had you bet $100 on each of these games, you’d be up slightly ($231). What’s really a killer would be if you had faded the World Series Champions on every game. You’d be down a hefty $1,914 – ouch!