Do Baseball Games Played During the Daytime Offer Us Investment Opportunities?

Even with the delay, the ScoreMetrics Lab continues its coverage of the upcoming 2020 MLB season!

Today we’re exploring whether baseball games played during the daytime give investors any relevant edges when trading in sports. 

It’s sometimes easy to forget aspects like the time of the day when a game is played, or the weather. But with games played outdoors, these are things that matter for the players and for investors alike.

The effects of sun

In our earlier report on the effects of the wind and the weather in general on baseball games, we briefly mentioned the sun. Let’s talk about some of the effects the sun has on the game.

Sunny days affect outfielders, pitchers and batters in various ways. Outfielders generally have a harder time fielding the ball on bright days because the sun hits their eyes and it’s harder to track where the ball is going. Shades help with this problem, but sunny days still lead to more fielding errors, which in turn leads to more scoring on average.

The effects of sun on pitchers and batters depend more on the individual. Some pitchers and batters perform better during daytime games, while others excel at night. How sensitive a player is to sunlight is a factor here – players with more sensitive eyes have a harder time seeing the ball in daytime games. Investors can look at the performance differences of players and teams between day and night games and see if they can find relevant patterns. 

It’s also worth mentioning that some teams are used to playing more of their games outdoors, and thus exposed to more sunny games than other teams that play their home games in stadiums with retractable roofs. 

At times, teams have clear differences in their day-game records compared to their overall performance. For example, SB Nation’s Wendy Thurm discovered back in 2012 that the Cleveland Indians had the worst daytime record of any team in baseball between 2008 and 2012 at .371. Overall, they had a .436 winning percentage for the same period of time. With a sample of 256 games to back it up, there was clearly something that put the Indians at a disadvantage in day-games.

Investment cases

So, what does all this mean from the big-picture investment viewpoint? Are there some relevant long-term patterns that sports traders could utilize to their advantage? 

Tiny little edges have been discovered throughout the years. For example, betting on the moneyline of the home team in daytime games when those games have a high total (over/under) has been marginally profitable over the long run. And there have been tendencies of day-games going over when they’ve been played after a doubleheader. But in both of these examples we’re talking about small profits for something that we don’t consider to be enough for a solid investment case.

While daytime games by themselves might not give investors any significant edge to take advantage of, games played during the daytime can be one useful criteria or rule for a sports investment system. Knowing what we know about the differences between day and night games, we can use it as one filter for an investment hypothesis.

For example, since we know that there’s slightly more scoring in day-games due to more fielding errors, could we find a tendency for games going over when at least one of the teams involved ranks low in fielding percentage? Or, what happens when two high-scoring teams meet during the day? Are there any historically relevant patterns of pricing errors from the bookmakers’ side on such occasions?

This is one thing you’ll learn when you dig deeper into the ScoreMetrics method. We’re always asking questions and building on top of an initial investment hypothesis. We’re adding various “rules” on top of hypotheses and doing research until we find something that has historically returned a good profit. Combining the right number of rules and backtesting the hypotheses for at least the last ten years are some of the key building blocks when we’re putting together a ScoreMetrics sports trading system. 

Handicapping baseball games is not a simple task, but it gets easier with practice. To find out how to start looking for criteria for investment hypotheses in baseball, or in any sport for that matter, look no further than our own John Todora’s new book – “Zero Correlation Investing – The Score Metrics Secret”. It’s currently on sale for a limited time.

Keep a look out for more coverage and don’t miss out on the ScoreMetrics baseball alert system for 2020!

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