**Last Updated:**May 31, 2024

The MLB Early Win promo on Draftkings is back, which means we can take advantage of one of the most fun and profitable promos that exists.

Like every promo, there are a few simple rules and best practices to consider. Once you’ve mastered these simple concepts, you’ll be ready to profit from this promo.

## What is the MLB Early Win Promo on Draftkings?

The terms for this promo are simple: You bet any Moneyline that you’d like, and if your team lost BUT went up by 2 or more runs at any point during the game, you still win the bet.

Note: all statistics used in this post were calculated using the past 8 seasons of data unless otherwise stated

2 run leads are very common in the MLB. 72.4% of MLB games are decided by 2 runs or more, and 75% of 1-run games had a team go up by 2 at some point.

For this promo, **what really matters is the games where a team took a lead of 2 or more and ended up losing the game**. This happens much more than you think – over the past 8 MLB seasons, **21.6% of games** have seen a team go up by 2 or more runs only to end up losing.

If you picked a team for this promo completely at random, all else equal you would expect to add roughly 10.8% (21.6% divided by 2, since there are 2 teams) to your team’s expected win percentage.

Right away, you can see the value of this promo. A team that has a 50% chance to win will typically have odds of -110. If you win 60.8% of the time (-155 fair odds), **that is an expected ROI of 16%**.

Of course, all is not equal. By focusing on specific teams in specific situations, you can increase your ROI tremendously. Let’s take a look at some of those situations, and see how much higher we can take our expected ROI up from 16%.

**1) Take Road Teams**

Focusing on road teams makes obvious sense. In baseball, the road team bats first, which makes it much easier to take a 2 run lead. If the road team scores 2 runs in the first inning, you win the bet.

For the home team, they would have to score 2 runs MORE than the away team, so if the away team scores in the top of the inning, then even if the home team scores 2 runs that wouldn’t be enough.

So, it’s obvious that it’s easier for a road team to take a 2-run lead than a home team. To be exact, road teams took a 2-run lead in 55.6% of games vs 52.8% of home teams, despite home teams typically being the favorite and therefore expected to score more runs.

What may be less obvious is that a road team ALSO has a higher chance of blowing a 2-run lead than the home team does. This is because the home team will always have one extra inning to come back from a 2-run lead vs the road team since the road team creates the lead in the top of the inning.

When road teams get a 2-run lead they blow it 24.1% of the time vs only 15.5% of the time for the home team. Some of this could be explained by the home team being the favorite, but much of it is due to the extra inning available to the home team.

So, what is the exact impact on us? Like before, we’re looking for the games where our team took a 2-run lead and lost. Over the past 8 seasons, **road teams have blown a 2-run lead in 13.4% of games, vs 8.2% for home teams**.

13.4% is definitely an improvement over the 10.6% chance we had by picking randomly, so we’re making progress! If we take a team with a 50% chance to win at -110, we would now expect to win 63.4% of the time (-173 fair odds), giving us an **expected ROI of 21%**.

The ROI is increasing! However, I think we can do better.

**2. Take underdogs**

Throughout this post, we’ve been using a case of a game that is truly 50-50 – i.e., both teams have an equal chance to win – calculating how the promo would affect our chances to win the bet, and using that to arrive at an expected ROI.

But what if we did the same thing for a game with a 30% chance to win? At first glance, you might expect to see the same 21% ROI, but that is not what happens in practice.

A game with a 30% chance to win (233 fair value) would likely be offered at about +210. If we take a +210 road team and still assume that a 2-run lead is blown 13.4% of the time, then we would have a 43.4% chance to win after the promo, and the fair value goes from +233 to +130. If we take the bet at +210, **all else equal that is an expected ROI of 34.8%**!

Why is this happening? Well, if you remember, we said that road teams take a 2-run lead and lose in 13.4% of games. When we were assuming that our team had a 50% chance of winning the game outright, our percent chance of winning the bet increased from 50% to 63.4%, which is a 26.8% increase.

In the case where we picked a +210 underdog, if that 13.4% held true, our percent chance of winning the bet increases from 30% to 43.4% after accounting for the promo, which is a 44.66% increase.

In other words – **that 13.4% has a much bigger impact on teams that are unlikely to win outright **compared to teams that are more likely to win outright.

Of course, this is only relevant if the road underdogs still take a 2-run lead and blow them at the same 13.4% rate that road teams overall blow those leads. Is that the case?

Even better! Road underdogs actually had a slightly higher percent of their games end in a blown 2-run lead vs road teams overall (14% vs 13.4%).

While it’s true that Road underdogs take 2 run leads at a lower rate than road teams overall (50% vs 55.6%), they also blow those 2 run leads at a higher rate (28% vs 24.1%). Taking a 2-run lead is a much higher variance event than winning a game, which means underdogs will take a 2-run lead more often than they’ll win, and will also give up that 2-run lead at high rates.

The sample size starts to decrease quickly as you try to split the underdogs into buckets based on how big of an underdog they are, but there seems to be a small increase in the 14% the larger the underdog. While road underdogs in general take a 2-run lead and blow it 14% of the time, underdogs with odds of +150 or less do so 13.7% of the time, while underdogs of +151 or more do so 14.2% of the time.

If we assume 14.2% is correct for our +210 underdog, that play now has a **37.2% expected ROI**. That’s really good! However, I think we can actually do a little better.

**3. Take games with high Totals**

Another major factor that can affect the rate of teams both taking and blowing a 2-run lead is the total. The more runs expected to be scored, the better.

This makes sense when you think of the extremes. If only 1 run is expected to be scored, then a team can’t really be expected to blow a 2 run lead. However, if there was a crazy situation where you somehow expected 100 runs to be scored, that would likely come with many lead changes throughout the game, and blowing a 2-run lead would be very likely.

In baseball, totals usually sit between 6.5 and 10.5 or so. Occasionally you’ll get totals outside that range (especially in games being played at Coors), but that is not usually the case.

If we narrow our target to road underdogs >150 ML in games with a total of 9.0 or higher, we find that teams took a 2-run lead and lost in 16.4% of games, up from the 14.2% we calculated before accounting for the total. Applying that to our +210 example from earlier, that play now has an **expected ROI of approximately 43.5%!**

**4. Take games with favorable prices compared to other books**

Finally, we come to the final piece of the puzzle – line shopping. Line shopping is important for any promo, and this one is no exception.

We were assuming that our +210 underdog had a fair value of +233. At that price, the approximate expected value was 43.5%. If we were able to take that same team at +225 instead, the expected value would now be 50.5%. Conversely, if we took that team at +190, our expected value would be 34.3%.

A price difference of 15 cents might not seem like much, but as we see here the effect on ROI is significant.

## Bottom Line

This promo is very strong. You will likely profit from this promo by picking teams at random, although that is not recommended.

We went from a base expected ROI of 16%, increased that to 21% by focusing on road teams, grew it even further to 37.2% by choosing underdogs, and arrived at 43.5% once we factored in the total.

In practice, your ROI may or may not hit those lofty targets. There may not always be options to choose from that satisfy all our criteria, so you may occasionally have to take a play with a lower expected ROI. And if there is a team that fits in all 3 buckets, the price offered may be below market averages and cost us some value.

In addition, these figures were calculated using past data, and in many cases, the sample sizes weren’t large enough to be sure that the percentages calculated are 100% accurate for predicting the future, not to mention that you could simply run hot or cold during a single season of playing this promo.

However, despite those caveats, it’s clear that if you follow these best practices, you’re setting yourself well to profit from this promo.