Summer is on its way and betting on baseball action is a daily staple for serious
sports bettors. The immense baseball schedule, with each team playing 162
regular season games, rewards handicapping research and provides good value
odds on a fairly consistent basis. Unlike the NFL where odds makers are
usually a step ahead in terms of the league's power ratings because there is
a full week to handicap an upcoming game, pricing up baseball on a daily
basis is far more haphazard.
There are two predominant baseball betting markets: the money line wager and
the total runs wager. When betting on football or basketball a points spread
must be covered by the side you bet on but in baseball the most popular bet
is to determine the "straight up" winner of each game.
The baseball money line is obviously determined by the overall strength of
the team and home field advantage but the single greatest factor is the
match up of starting pitchers. The New York Yankees will be heavily favored
to beat the Toronto Blue Jays more often than not, that is until Roy
Halliday takes the mound for the Blue Jays in which case you would probably
find that the odds are skewed in favor of Toronto.
You can also bet on the Over/Under or combined run total in a baseball game.
Once again starting pitching will alter that number considerably, and a
marquee match up between Pedro Martinez and Chris Carpenter would lower the
total for a Mets/Cardinals game by as many as 2 runs.
A less popular baseball betting option, but one that can be extremely profitable to
take is the run line bet. This has nothing to do with the total runs scored
in a game. Instead it is an ATS (against the spread) wager where Team A
starts the game -1.5 runs and the underdog Team B gets a +1.5 runs boost.
The odds are still expressed in the standard money line format. It is a
little known fact that 25% of all MLB games are decided by a single run and
if your baseball picks come from a sound source you can definitely make
money betting underdogs on the run line.
If you have never seen a baseball betting board it can look a little
overwhelming and confusing:
CUB C Zambrano 7Żu15
MIL B Sheets -150
The players names refer to the starting pitchers for the day. The Cubs, who
are the road team (always on top) will start Carlos Zambrano against the
Brewers and Ben Sheets.
What does it mean when MIL are -150 against the CUB? Money line odds are
expressed in their own unique way. If you bet on a favorite the line tells
you how much you need to bet in order to win $100. Thus -150 simply means
you need to bet $150 to win $100, so in fractional odds the Brewers (MIL)
are actually 2/3 and in decimal odds they are 1.66 to win.
Above the money line odds you will see the total runs number (7.5 in this
case). You can either bet that the game will produce more runs (Over) or
less runs (Under). Generally you get odds of -110 or 9/10 on this wager
unless otherwise specified. In this cae you get -115 if you take the Under
(u15) so the Under is slightly more favored than the Over for this MLB game.