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Using WAR for Baseball Betting

Using WAR for Baseball BettingBaseball betting can be enhanced using WAR statistics.

Key Points

– There are certain situations where using WAR in baseball betting makes sense.

– In some cases, stats other than WAR are best for baseball betting,

Using WAR for Baseball Betting

WAR, also referred to as wins above replacement, is the most recent statistic at the center of baseball betting. 

In order to use it, you’ll have to know how to calculate it as well as interpret. With that knowledge, you will be able to take advantage of it and wage “WAR” on your online sportsbooks. It’s like using metrics in finding the perfect MMA underdog.

What Is WAR

WAR is an advanced baseball player statistic that attempts to capture the totality of each player’s contributions to a team. The WAR value of each player calculates how many wins they contribute to the team over the course of the season in comparison to a replacement player. 


To put it another way, WAR combines various individual statistics into a single figure that responds to the fundamental question. How much of an impact would this player's injury have if he was to be replaced by a standard AAA player called up from the minors? How much of an impact would that have on a team’s ability to win?

WAR measures exactly that. WAR tries to gauge a player's performance across a variety of skills. Of course, determining a single number that can be used to compare players is very difficult. Don’t rely too heavily on WAR as you may make one of the more common sports betting mistakes.

The degree to which you believe this type of aggregation is possible will likely determine how you feel about using WAR to help your baseball betting strategy. 

Baseball Betting & Calculating WAR

Because it attempts to shed light on all elements of a player’s performance, there are a head-spinning number of inputs to consider when calculating WAR. 

There is some minor disagreement about the formula itself, which further complicates the situation. Both Baseball-Reference and Fan Graphs have their own versions, which frequently produce very similar results but not always exact ones. 

Even the creators admit that the task at hand is inherently difficult. WAR cannot be quantified in a single way. This calculation involves hundreds of steps, and there are numerous areas where reasonable people can disagree about how to best put a particular aspect of the framework into practice. 

While the major statisticians disagree on some of the individual steps, they both agree on one very important part of the equation - the replacement player.

It goes without saying that in order to calculate WAR, the skill level of a typical "replacement" player must be determined. Fortunately, in 2013, the two main statistical organizations that develop and monitor WAR decided to standardize this component of the calculation. It also goes without saying that bettors should have one of the industry’s best online sportsbooks.

The agreed replacement level corresponds to a.294 winning percentage, or 47.7 victories over the course of an entire season. Bettors now notice less variation in the Wins Above Replacement values at each site as the two statistical behemoths have come to an agreement on this aspect of WAR. 


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Player Position and Calculating WAR 

The method used to determine WAR is also influenced by player position. The high-level formula used to calculate WAR for all position players is the same, whereas a different formula is used for pitchers. Weighted inputs are slightly different for each of the nine positions. 

Each of these formulas requires hundreds of smaller calculations to determine the individual inputs. There's really no reason to calculate WAR values yourself when betting on baseball, even though you can read how to do so. It’s no different than how to read lines.

What Is a Good WAR Rating

Because they attempt to capture such a wide range of player contributions, WAR ratings are most helpful when viewed as general indicators. A player's value is typically classified within certain ranges.

Any WAR over 2 or 3 means that the player is probably a starter. Players with a WAR rating of 4 or 5 are likely All-Star caliber players. Players above 6.0 are typically contending for MVP awards.

Consider the Yankees’ Aaron Judge in 2022. Judge chased home run records and wound up hitting 62 dingers with a .311 batting average. He won the AL MVP award and his WAR for the season was 10.6.

Baseball Betting Using WAR 

The main thing to keep in mind about WAR is that it was always meant to be an estimate. Your online sports wagering portal provide access to WAR data. It relies on imperfect statistical inputs that are somewhat objective, so the formulas will never be an exact science. 

Always keep in mind to rely on a variety of statistics and be careful to place them in the appropriate context when making your baseball bets or any other sports wager. 

Using WAR can be helpful when betting on baseball MVP futures. Since the statistic serves as a gauge of each player's overall effectiveness and contribution to their team, it makes sense that it would be useful when predicting the AL and NL MVP winners. 

In fact, over the previous seven seasons, neither league's MVP award has gone to a player with a season-long WAR ranking outside the top 10. Eleven of the 14 MVPs during this time had season-ending WAR rankings that were among the top 5. 

WAR values can also be used to predict season win total wagers. The projected WAR total of a team and their actual record are highly correlated. Because of this, bettors may be able to predict a team's likely season win total by adding the projected WAR values for each player on the team. 

Don’t Use WAR

There are times when WAR should not be used to bet on baseball. To put it simply, WAR is not a good tiebreaker. We would advise you not to use it when comparing two players who are closely matched because it is such a broad statistic. Just because you know how to bet baseball runlines doesn’t mean you should be using WAR to help increase your win percentage.

WAR is a broad-based metric. It should only be used to assess the comparative skill levels of MLB teams and players. It's also a good idea to take more specific stats into account when betting. There are situations where different stats work better. 

Just keep in mind that WAR is a broad statistic. As a result, it should only be used to provide insight into the relative strengths of MLB teams and players.

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