Single Day Bets

In Major League Baseball, betting on a single game inevitably carries a lot more variance than a bet over the course of an entire season. Over the course of 162 games, a lot can happen, and most of the time, a player’s true worth comes out. The better players will have averages over .300, and the weaker players will have appropriate averages, too. But this doesn’t mean that a bad player won’t have a five hit game, or a great player will go a few games in a row without a hit. These things happen, and because the season is so long, there is plenty of time for the truth to come out between April and October.

So how are you supposed to predict what will happen in the course of a single game? This is tough, but you will want to rely on the statistics you have at your disposal. Let’s say you’re watching the Yankees play the Red Sox in Boston and you’re trying to decide on the prop bet whether or not a run will be scored in the first inning. There are many ways to go about figuring out this bet, but one of the more accurate methods involves looking first at how many runs these two teams score per game on the average. Let’s say the Red Sox are averaging 5.5 runs per game and the Yankees are at 5.2. This comes a total of 10.7 runs per game, so you will see most of the time runs being scored in the first inning.

Now comes the hard part. You want to bet yes, that a run will be scored in the first inning if and only if the payout dictates it. There’s more than a 50 percent chance that this will happen, but how do you know what’s an appropriate use of your money? If 10.7 runs are being scored every 9.0 innings, you would think that there’s a 1-1.19 chance of this happening. But this isn’t how the sports books will show you your odds. Instead, there will be just a number with a + or – in front of it. A 1.19 fraction implies that the payout should be better than 54 percent of the time, so you will want any number that is bigger than -119 when looking at the odds. So if the price on this prop is at -120, even though there is a strong chance that this bet will be a winner, you’re not getting paid enough to warrant taking the risk. But if the book posts the odds at -110, then you should definitely take the bet.

Obviously this is an example, and not all prop bets can be determined by such an accurate method, but the point remains the same. You should always try to quantify your bets and figure out if the payout is worth the trouble. If you’re looking at a bet over whether you think Miguel Cabrera will hit a homerun in the upcoming game, look at how many games he’s played, look at how many homers he’s hit, and then find an average. Suppose he’s at 43 homeruns over 128 games. That’s about one homer every 3 games, or 0.33 homeruns per game. So there’s a 2-1 chance of a homerun in the upcoming game. This is equal to +200. If the book is only offering you +150, this is a bad bet. If they’re offering you higher than +200, though, take that bet as you will win more often based upon past stats.

In other words, you want to always get the better end of a bet, even on a single day prop bet. Look for those bets that have overlay value such as in the two examples above.