There are those in the gaming world who will tell you that betting baseball is the easiest of the four major sports. For starters, don’t believe them because it’s the same linesmakers working in the same sportsbooks who set the numbers for the NBA, College Football, College Basketball and the NFL.
Seasoned players will tell you and many of those gentlemen would be happy to show you I’m sure, that there’s no discernible edge when betting MLB. The men who set the baseball odds do so with the same energy they spend on other sports.
You do get an advantage (which applies to all sports) when you do your homework. If you’re new to wagering on baseball, it helps to know about the most popular categories of wagering on our national pastime
Once you’ve mastered money line 101 it might become your preferred way of betting baseball. Get to know all you can about what baseball odds are. Watch a few games before diving into the betting pool and you’ll be way ahead of things.
Each game has a favorite and an underdog. Each team carries a vig that will vary in price from pitcher against pitcher, game to game and day to day. Remember that while the point spread is concerned with who wins and by how much, the money line only cares about who wins.
Betting on the money line is a pretty easy concept to grasp, and is the most common type of MLB bet. It’s really just a matter of picking which team you think will be victorious in that game.
The Run Line
Make haste slowly when learning the run line. As it was explained to me, it’s a combination of the point spread and money line bundled up in a nice, tidy package. The run line uses a constant spread of 1.5 runs. Keep in mind that the team that is favored on the money line will also be the favored team on the run line.
Let's use an example of the Dodgers and Cubs. On the regular money line we may see MLB odds like:
San Francisco Giants +165
LA Dodgers -180
Again as we earlier described, this means Giants bettors are asked to risk $130 to win $100, while Dodgers bettors will risk $100 to win $155.
But when betting with the run line, we would likely see the same game looking closer to:
San Francisco Giants +1.5 -125
Los Angeles Dodgers Sox -1.5 +105
Now, those people betting on the Giants are risking more money than they will win, in this case $125 to win $100, but they are receiving 1.5 runs. Even if the Giants lose by one run, those betting SF on the run line will win their bet because of the 1.5 runs.
Baseball Totals (Over/Under)
This remains one of the easiest bets on the board if only because of its similarity to the other sports. On occasion, depending on the volume of money coming in on a particular total, the number or vig or in some cases both may change.
For wagering purposes what happens in extra innings counts, both for totals and run line bets.
If you follow the game at all, a game between Tim Lincecum and Clayton Kershaw is likely to generate a lot of strikeouts and not many base hits. This is game you might strongly consider the ‘under’. Take a game between the fourth or fifth starters in a rotation and that’s a contest that’s likely to go ‘over’. Be prepared in advance. You’ll get a different set of MLB odds for the pitchers dual vs. the expected blowout.
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