Baseball Betting 101
Predictions – Recommended by Bettorsworld
Baseball season is here. Finally! No sport offers more
consistency or more opportunities to make money than baseball does. Baseball is
potentially so profitable that, legend has it, sportsbooks just hope to break
even over the course of the season. Despite the comparative ease of handicapping
baseball, though, many people who regularly play football or basketball haven’t
crossed over to baseball yet. The biggest reason for that is probably that
differences between betting on baseball and the other sports can be intimidating
if you aren’t familiar with them. If you’re one of those people who isn’t sure
how to bet on baseball, then here’s a crash course to get you ready for the
Though money lines are available in almost all sports, they are the most common
method of betting on baseball. The good news, then, is that you don’t have to
deal with point spreads in baseball, and you don’t have to worry about the most
frustrating thing there is – your team winning but not covering. If your team
wins, you win. The only question is how much you get.
When you bet on the favorite it is called laying the odds. If you lay -150, that
means that you would have to bet $150 to win $100. Traditionally, baseball has
had what is called 20-cent lines. That means that if the favorite was -150, the
underdog would be +130, or it would pay $130 on a $100 bet. The difference
between the two prices is the commission the bookmaker earns – if the favorite
wins, they would collect $100 and pay out $100, but if the underdog wins they
would collect $150 and pay out $130, with a $20 profit. It’s now very common to
find dime lines (with a 10 cent difference) and even smaller spreads are
commonly available online.
Though good teams will generally have lower odds than bad teams, the odds any
one team faces varies widely based on the starting pitcher. Given that the rest
of the lineup is relatively stable, it is the pitcher that makes the biggest
impact on a game. If you only want to pay attention to one thing in your
handicapping, focus on comparing the starting pitchers.
Because of the importance of pitchers, you have the ability to bet the money
line in different ways to protect your investment. You can bet on listed
pitchers, meaning that your bet only has action if both listed pitchers start.
You can choose to specify only the starting pitcher for one team, so that it
doesn’t matter who starts for the opponents as long as the listed pitcher starts
for your team, or vice versa. Finally, you can choose an action bet, in which
case your bet has action regardless of who pitches.
Totals work just as they do in other sports. The only significant difference is
that action depends upon both listing pitchers actually starting the game. If
one or both listed starting pitchers miss the start then there is no action on
the total and your bet will be returned. Though this can be frustrating at
times, a change in pitchers can significantly change the expected number of
runs, so the refund is often a welcome result.
A run line is the closest thing you can get to a standard point spread in
baseball. It is fixed at a standard 1.5 points, so a favorite has to win the
game by at least two runs for the bet to pay off, and the underdog can lose by
one and still be a winning bet. There is a money line attached to the run line
as well, but the price will obviously always be more attractive for the favorite
than it is for the straight money line. If a favorite was -170, for example,
then the run line may be +110 at -1.5. On the other side, the underdog that may
have been +150 in the money line could be -130 at +1.5. This can be a reasonable
option in cases where you would like a better price on a heavy, high scoring
favorite, or if you are willing to trade some potential return on an underdog
for more of a cushion.
The single most important thing to be aware of when you are betting on baseball
is the amount of risk you are assuming when you make a bet. When you bet on
football or basketball you are typically dealing with standard -110 odds, so you
have to bet $110 to win $100. That means that you can easily understand the
amount of risk and the percentage of bets you must win to make a profit. When
you are playing the money line it’s not quite that simple. If you were to win 57
percent of your bets while playing the point spread in the NFL then you would
make a solid profit. If you were to pick winners at the same rate while laying
-150 in MLB then you would go broke. You would have to win at least 60 percent
of your bets at -150 just to break even. To make a sound bet on baseball, then,
you have to not only consider which team is going to win, but if it is going to
win often enough to be profitable over the long run at the given odds.