You can't necessarily retire if you bet the Pittsburgh Pirates through April, but you're off to a really good start this baseball season.
The Pirates' start to the season has been a fantastic story, and they're off to the type of start bettors dream of.
The Pirates are 20-9 this season. Pittsburgh wasn't expected to be very good, so it has been an underdog in many games. That has led to a profit this season that is almost twice as large as that of any other team.
According to Covers.com, someone betting $100 on every game would be up $1,376 if he or she bet every Pirates moneyline. Second on that list is the Milwaukee Brewers, who have earned a $779 profit for that hypothetical $100 bettor. The Tampa Bay Rays are third at $678, and that's less than half of the profit the Pirates have made.
Pirates have been profitable for bettors
Being up nearly 14 units after about a month of baseball games is impressive. The Pirates have done that for bettors.
The Pirates are fantastically profitable because they're usually underdogs. They've been underdogs in 20 of 29 games this season, according to TeamRankings, and they have a 12-8 record as an underdog. When they're favorites, you're not laying big odds. They're 8-1 as a favorite.
No matter what the situation, if you've bet on the Pirates, you've made money.
The question as always with a team that was not expected to do much but got out to a fast start is whether it can keep it going. Oddsmakers will adjust when a team is 20-9. Bettors have made good money on Pittsburgh, but can it continue?
It's not like there's much belief now. The Pirates are +600 to win the NL Central at BetMGM, the fourth-best odds among the five teams in the division.
Pirates have NL's best record
While the Pirates are unlikely to keep winning 69% of their games, there are indicators that their success can continue.
Their run differential is solid — Pittsburgh is +48 for the season, best in the National League. The hitting has been good, as the team OPS of .792 is third in the majors, and the Pirates are top-five in strikeout rate and walk rate. The team BABIP (batting average on balls in play) of .307 is 10th in MLB, which is a little lucky but not that bad.
The pitching, however, could regress. The team ERA is 3.55, which is ahead of the FIP (fielding independent pitching) and xFIP (expected fielding independent pitching) of 3.81 and 4.32, which indicates there could be a bit of a pullback coming.
The Pirates do have players who are well ahead of their career norms — Connor Joe, Jack Suwinski, Rodolfo Castro, for example — and maybe slumps are coming. But for now, maybe it's fine to keep riding the Pirates as long as they're undervalued.
Even if a losing streak hits, bettors already have plenty of profit from the Pirates.