Betting on Baseball

Make the Right BetsWhen you bet on baseball, you will have a lot of the same choices that you would have with other sports. But with baseball, you will find that the money line is much more attractive. Because of the high variance that occurs from game to game, even a strong favorite can have a good payout for the win.

One of the best things about betting the moneyline in baseball is that favorites tend to get a lot of action. This creates great opportunities for the astute bettor to take a line on the underdog, and grind out small advantages. For example, if you’re looking at the Tampa Bay Rays/Kansas City Royals game, the Rays might have a small advantage, so their money line will be a bit less beneficial to you. But because they are favorites, the chances are that they will see a lot more action here than the Royals will. If the line starts out at -125/+105, it wouldn’t be uncommon for it to be adjusted several times before the first pitch.

Basic handicapping will be your best friend here. Try to assign a percentage to how often you think the Rays will win. If they are projected to win 54 percent of the time, the -125 assignment gives the casino an edge. But the flip side also needs to be examined. A 54 percent win percentage for the Rays equals a 46 percent chance for the Royals, and this equates to a line of +115. The current assignment is not advantageous to the bettor, but it is likely that if the Rays keep getting large amounts of action, the line will creep up toward that magic +115 number. Once the book passes this, betting on the underdog becomes a statistically profitable play. They only need to win 46 percent of the time for a +115 to breakeven. Once that number goes to +116 or higher, you now have an advantage over the sportsbook.

Baseball is a game of high variance, meaning a lot can happen far away from what the projections say. This is why betting the run line is not as popular. Still, many books will offer these spread bets on a select number of games. This shouldn’t be the first thing you look at when looking for betting choices, but it is possible to find good wagers here. For example, the Cincinnati Reds/St. Louis Cardinals game might have a +1.5/-1.5 line with the home Cards having the advantage. You will find that most games are pretty close if you look at a season long sample size, and 1.5 points resides right around the average. But if the Cards are pitching their best pitcher in Adam Wainwright, and the Reds are without Joey Votto, things could be seriously different in the score than the analysts at first guessed. Here, the inequity could be enough to give the Cards more than a 1.5 point advantage. And because a lot of people will put money on the Reds, the payout might be very favorable. Again, this type of play isn’t common, but it is definitely worth looking out for because opportunities like that described above do often occur.
Betting on the Cards and Reds
Another consideration is the season long prop bets. A lot can happen in a season, but the good news here is that prop bets—the kind that you make before the season starts—are often calculated based on the previous year’s results. One real life example was with the Philadelphia Phillies a few years ago. They had a great 2010 season, and a lot of experts figured they would have a great 2011, too. These analysts were right, but the Phillies had an even better season than first thought. The line was set at 98.5 wins for the season. And because the Phils went 102-60 in 2011, those who bet the over on this prop bet ended up big winners. The difference here was that some offseason acquisitions helped pull the team through and big stars like Roy Halladay had excellent seasons on the mound. If you follow your favorite teams during the winter months, making a few prop bets like this can be very good for supplementing your earnings.

If you enjoy football betting, you will soon learn that betting on baseball carries a lot of strategy as well. Once you get a pretty good system in play, you find that moneyline parlays are easier to decide on in baseball than in Football.