Baseball Betting 101
Learning How to Bet on Major League Baseball
There is a lot of talk about how Baseball is the easiest professional & college sport to place a successful bet on in the sports betting industry. If you talk to bookies they will also claim that more successful “big bets” have been placed on baseball than any other sports. For many people that shy away from betting on baseball, their number one reason is they do not know how to bet on it. For once, they do not see point spreads when looking at baseball lines, and the odds are a lot different when betting baseball. What they do not realize is that baseball betting is really quite simple. We will take a look at a few different ways you can bet on baseball, and what everything regarding baseball betting means. What you will read next is the simplest way to give you the best, free advice to succeed in the sports betting community!
The first way to bet on baseball is the simple form of “money line”. In money line, all the bettor really has to concern him/her self with is who will win the game at stake. They do not have to worry about runs, or anything else, just simple, who will win the game. Most successful bettors will typically not bet anything over –140, and most betters will always find a reason to bet on an underdog (+140). What do the numbers mean? Well, if you see a bet that is –140, that would mean if you wanted to bet that team to win, and you wanted to attempt to win $100, you would have to bet $140. The team with the –140, is the favorite. If a bettor felt they really liked the +140 odds on a team, and thought they were going to win the game, it would only take $100, to win a total of $140. Many times you will not see a bet of (favorite) –120, underdog (+120). A lot of times it will look more like (favorite –120), favorite (+110) or something close to that.
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Example: The Los Angeles Dodgers are a –130 favorite over the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals are at +120 as the underdog.
What could happen: Bettor Alice decided she wanted to put down $100 (to win $120) on the Cardinals to win the game.
Better John decided he wanted to win the same amount ($100) by betting the Dodgers to win the game. Therefore at –130, he would have to lay $130 to win $100.
The Result: The Cardinals beat the Dodgers 7-2.
What happens: Well, unfortunately for bettor John - he lost. He lost his $130, and won’t see that money again. Bettor Alice was the winner, and not only gets her $100 she bet with, but an extra $120 for a total of $120 off her $100 bet (+120).
How things could be interesting: Unlike some of the other bets we will talk about later, money line does not bring the drama as much. Sure, a 4 run rally with a walk off homerun could swing your bet from a Loss to a Win but a lot less drama, and possibly heartache than some!
The next version of baseball betting we will discuss is the “run line”. The run line is simply the amount of runs one team will beat the other by. It sounds scarier than it really is. Once you see it, and bet it, it becomes much easier to understand. You will almost always see MLB run lines of 1.5. Very rarely, you may see a game jump to 2.5. The team that is favored overall will also be favored in the run line (-1.5 runs) and the underdog will be getting runs on the run line (+1.5 runs). Remember in the money line, you saw a game like this:
Los Angeles Dodgers –130
St. Louis Cardinals +120
With the run line, a game would look something like this:
Los Angeles Dodgers –1.5 +140
St. Louis Cardinals +1.5 -160
The moneyline odds will vary, and will be much different then the money line. Again, they could fluctuate to sometimes as high as –180 or higher, or +150 or so. Let’s take a look at a different example this time:
Example: The Boston Red Sox are –1.5(+14) on the run line vs. Kansas City, which are +1.5, (-135) on the runline.
What could happen: Bettor Traci decided she thought the Red Sox would beat the Royals by more than 1.5 runs (2 or more). She put $100 on the run line.
Bettor Chris felt he liked the underdog. However, he wanted to get the extra +1.5 runs. So, he bet on the Royals to either beat the Red Sox, or only lose by 1 run. Chris decided to put $135 (-135) to win $100 on Kansas City.
The Result: The Red Sox drubbed the Royals 11-1.
What happens: Traci was the big winner in this game. Since the Red Sox won by more than 1.5 runs, she is a winner. She won her $100 back, and also won the +140 which comes out to be a win of $140
Chris is not happy, because he thought the Royals could hang in there. He walks away down $135. If Chris has taken the moneyline instead of t he run line, he would have lost less because taking the extra +1.5 run cost him more money.
How things could be interesting: Let’s say the Red Sox had the lead of 7-3, going into the ninth. So the Boston bettors feel they had this wrapped up. Kansas City then goes and grabs 3 runs in the ninth to make it 7-6, but still loses the game. The moneyline bettors of Boston would be winners and the runline (1.5) bettors would be losers. If Kansas City on the runline (+1.5) were your pick, you would be an elated winner! Trust me, as an avid better, I have seen it happen! Not fun! I have heard countless stories to diehard sports bettors, and bookies that have stories about similar events. One last thing to consider with run lines is who the home team is. Obviously, if the home team is winning by one run going into the bottom of the 9th, they are not going to have that extra half of an inning to cover the (-1.5) run line.
The third type of Baseball betting I will discuss are “over/unders” (or “totals”). Over/Unders are fairly simple to understand, but tricky to bet. This is simply if you think the total amount of runs that the odds makers put out there will be over, you bet the over. If you think it will be under, you bet the under! Pretty simple huh? Good luck! Usually the odds makers will place a half with each number, so a push (or tie) is impossible. A typical run line is anywhere from 7.5 to 10. If you’ve got Bob Gibson throwing against Cy Young, the run line would probably be close to 7, due to the fact these two pitchers don’t typically give up many runs. If you’ve got two scrubs from the minor leagues going, and playing in Coors Field, with two high scoring teams, look for the over under to may be as high as 12.5. Now your job is to bet whether you think the total amount of runs will over or under that. Baseball is a crazy game. Sometimes in games you feel are automatic to hit over the amount, end up in 2-1 pitchers duels, and the games where Clemens faces Maddux, seemingly break your heart and bust the under, by scoring 15 total runs. When you bet on over/under they will look like this:
Los Angeles Dodgers OV 8.5 –110
St. Louis Cardinals UN 8.5 +110
The chances of you seeing any inflated moneyline odds with over/under lines are pretty rare. Sometimes, you will find a –120 or +120, but they typically stay as close to 100 as they can get. I am not saying it’s impossible to see them above +/- 120, but it is rare. Again, this is done the same way as the other bets. Extra innings do count in over/under (or “totals”), just like a regular game. Teams can score more runs in extra innings, and it will either help you (if you take the over), or hurt you (if you took the under). Hint: strikeout pitchers usually have a better chance or performing well at nights (statistically), and off-speed pitchers are usually better during the day. Maybe this will help you with your over/under (or ‘totals”) wagers.
Example: The Chicago Cubs are playing the Chicago White Sox. The over/under (or “total”) for the game is set at 7.5, with –110 over odds, and +110 under odds because staff ace Mark Buehrle is facing staff ace Carlos Zambrano.
What could happen: Bettor Mike loves the under in this game. He thinks both pitchers will dominate and the combined scores will hit below 7.5 (7 or less). He places $100 on this.
Bettor Trina thinks the pitchers will choke, and the teams will score. After all, both teams can hit. She bets a cool $100 on this, and has slightly underdog odds (notice the +110).
The Result: The Cubs beat the White Sox 5-3, scoring a total of 8 runs.
What happens: Mike is devastated. The Cubs hit a walk-off two run homerun to make the game 5-3, instead of just scoring that runner from third in a tie game. He loses $100.
Trina is elated. She loves the fact that 8 runs were scored. She was wrong on the scoring outburst, but still survived, winning her $100 back, and also taking home a cool $110.
How things could be interesting: Well, this outcome was interesting. All the Cubs needed was a single to win the game 4-3, and the under would have been golden. But, that didn’t happen. Aramis Ramirez decided to hit a 2 run homerun, and since his run counts as well, the total goes to 8. A lot of wacky things could happen with total bets. Let’s give you another example. The over/under on the Cardinals/Mets is 10.5. The Cardinals are winning 7-1 going into the top of the 9th. The Mets decide to get 3 useless runs to lose the game 7-4. No big deal, right? For people betting the over/under it is! Now the over won, and the under is devastated. I’ve seen A LOT of these cases!
I hope this baseball betting 101 helped you get a better understanding of the basic types of baseball wagers. There is so much more that we could discuss when involving baseball betting, but for now, you bettors need to stop right here, and just ease your way into it. If you start to understand, and study ahead, lookout, big winnings could come your way! Again, these are just the basic premises of the sports betting community when it comes to baseball. Look for more advice to come in “baseball betting advanced”, in the very near future!