MLB: Does Baseball’s July 4 Theory Still Hold True?

MLB: Does Baseball’s July 4 Theory Still Hold True?

MLB 2021 Betting Picks Updated

  • There's a long-held theory that an MLB team in first place on July 4 will win the World Series
  • Does this theory hold up when placed under scrutiny?
  • Should baseball bettors employ this theory when wagering on World Series future book bets?

The July 4 holiday is for fireworks, apple pie, and seeing how many hot dogs Joey Chestnut can drive down his gullet. It's also when World Series winners are determined - or so the baseball purists would lead everyone to believe. According to the seamheads, this is as good a time as any to make a future book play on the MLB World Series odds.

As sure as you don't throw a strike on an 0-2 pitch and you take a pitch on a 3-0 count, the baseball traditionalists are convinced that July 4 is every bit as important in the MLB playoff odds when it comes to determining World Series outcomes as those four out of seven games that are played every October in the Fall Classic.

Los Angeles Dodgers+350+340+350
Houston Astros+500+450+650
Chicago White Sox+550+550+800
San Diego Padres+700+650+900
San Francisco Giants+800+1000+1200
New York Mets+900+850+1000

This theory suggests that teams occupying first place in their division in the MLB standings on July 4 are more likely to win the World Series than those teams pursuing them. It's an interesting prophecy but does it hold water? Should baseball bettors be putting stock in the July 4 theory when wagering on the MLB World Series odds?

Let's take a deep dive into this philosophy and see if it's worth the investment, or nothing more than mere fool's gold.

Historically, There Is Merit

The World Series was first played in 1903. Other than in 1904 and 1994, two seasons in which the Fall Classic was not contested, it's been an annual event. Going back over all of those many World Series, there's only been two decades in which more World Series winners weren't in first place on July 4. From 2000-09, the record was 5-5. It was also 5-5 from 1980-89.

Otherwise, every decade has seen more teams win the World Series that were in first place in July 4 in the season of their triumph. The most dominant decades in this matter were the 1970s (8-2) and 1990s (8-1). 

Overall, 76 World Series winners were in first place on July 4 of their championship season. Overall, that works out to 66.08 per cent of World Series winners being in first place on July 4. 

That's nearly two out of three and as Meat Loaf once noted, two out of three ain't bad.

There were 39 that were not, but the vast majority of them were still close to being on top. Of those 39 teams who came from off the pace to defy the MLB playoff odds and capture a title, 24 were situated in second place on July 4.

Since 1995, when MLB introduced Wild Card teams into postseason play, it has altered the MLB playoff odds somewhat when it comes to July 4 winners but not significantly. Fifteen of 25 World Series winners since that time were in first place on the magic day. That works out to a 60 percent win rate.

Who's In First?

Interestingly, in the current MLB Vegas odds, of the top-five World Series favorites, three are currently atop their divisions. That also works out to 60 percent.

They would be the Houston Astros (+450) in the AL West, the Chicago White Sox (+550) in the AL Central, and the San Francisco Giants (+800) in the NL West.

Oddly enough, however, the current favorite in the MLB World Series odds is the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers. At the moment, they sit second in the NL West, two games behind the Giants at 56-30.

So, should you play the July 4 hunch or not? Well, in baseball terms, if a player were to hit .600, they'd be the greatest to ever swing a bat.

Where to Bet On The 2021 MLB Playoffs?

There are a number of leading online betting sites that will provide bettors with the chance to place a wager on the MLB playoffs. The best bet you can make is to shop around in advance and seek out the right deal before joining one of these sportsbooks. Check out MyBookie and BetUS as examples.

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