Patrick Sullivan tackles over unders for wins over at Baseball Analysts, introducing his piece with the following introduction:
Many would argue that the crux of Sabermetrics is that you can predict a team’s win total by analyzing a team’s ability to score and prevent runs. Virtually all other research aimed at determining what contributes to a baseball club’s winning efforts, on both an individual and team-wide level, is derived from this finding. Sabermetric projection mechanisms with these principles at their core offer a neat opportunity for the enterprising individual to take advantage of Vegas over/under win totals.
Now, projections are never fool-proof and are often downright inaccurate. Just ask Tigers fans from last season. But I happen to believe that the astute fan has the opportunity to stick one to Vegas on these (hey, it makes up for football season). So without further ado, let me try my hand at each MLB team. I will offer up my prediction (over or under) and then briefly account for why I believe the arbitrage opportunity exists. And yeah, I will be on the record here so just as I stated back on Valentine’s Day, feel free to check back and ridicule me if it turns out I am just dead wrong on a lot of these.
I’m actually going to disagree with him on this one. It’s unclear to me whether he’s using something like a PECOTA or ZIPS (or THT Projections!) driven Diamond Mind simulation, but at this point it’s well known to the point of being cliche that in general it’s hard to beat the market in this sort of thing, even if you’re an expert. While prediction markets are certainly not infallible, I do think that sports betting markets are pretty close to ideal prediction markets, as they aggregate the opinions of a large crowd of people with diverse opinions, are generally too large to manipulate and everyone contributes different knowledge to the pot.