Before jumping into betting on MLB (baseball), it is important to understand what exactly you are getting into. Everyone can tell you that the New York Yankees are better than the San Diego Padres. But, how can you make money off of that?
The run line is a concrete line set a 1.5. The team favored will always be favored by 1.5 runs, and the underdog will always be getting 1.5 runs. This means that if you were to bet the favorite on the run line, they would need to win by two runs or more for you win your bet. If the underdog losses by less than two runs, they would cover the run line.
While the 1.5 run line is concrete, the juice, which is the price you need to pay to make the bet, will differ. For example, the New York Yankees may be favored against both the Boston Red Sox and Padres. However, the Red Sox are also a lot better than the Padres. Therefore, even though the Yankees are favored by 1.5 runs over both, you may have to risk twice as much to win the same amount betting the Yankees against San Diego as compared to Boston. It is a riskier bet for the Yankees to beat Boston by 1.5 runs, so the risk you have to pay will not be as much.
This is exactly how the money line works. The money line is betting on who you think will win the game straight up. The score does not matter, only the winner does. Therefore, the price of the money line is the most important aspect to follow in baseball. The price of a favorite will fluctuate typically anywhere from (-101) to (-300). The (-) signifies that this how much a bettor would have to wager to win back $100. From there, it is a simple conversion to what you would like to win or wager.
Back to the Red Sox, Padres, Yankees example. If the Yankees are the best team of the three, but only slightly better than the Red Sox and significantly better than the Padres, they will have a completely different money line. The Yankees may be a (-110) favorite against the Red Sox. This means you can $110 on the Yankees to win back $100. However, against the Padres, the Yankees could be as high as a (-300) favorite, meaning a better would have to risk $300 to win just $100. The Yankees are more likely to win that game, but the risk makes it a tougher proposition.
Aside from betting on solely the winner or the outcome, a bettor can also bet on the over/under of the score. An over-under is a number that usually sits between 6.5 and 11. It is a projected outcome of what the final score will be combined from both teams. It is then on the bettor to decide if the final score will go over or under that total.
The total will change based on the pitcher. For example, if Max Scherzer takes on Clayton Kershaw, six runs may feel like a lot. However, if two AAA call-ups are taking on each other on a hot day in a home run crazy stadium, you could see a total as high as 11 runs.
First 5 Innings
What makes baseball an even more sophisticated sport to bet is the idea of betting innings. One inning wagers are becoming more popular, but first, five innings bets are a very popular idea with specific pitching matchups.
First 5 innings bets take away the uneasiness of getting into the bullpens of each team. Most starters are expected to go at least 5 innings. In making a 5 innings bet, you are ultimately betting on that specific starting pitchers outcomes.
Let’s go back to the Clayton Kershaw vs. Max Scherzer example. A typical first 5 inning over/under would be half of the full game total. These two would see an over/under around three. If Kershaw and Scherzer duel it out for five innings, you could see an easy under as the bullpen would likely decide who wins that game.
However, if you get Kershaw against that AAA pitcher being called up for his first start, you could look to bet on Kershaw in the first five innings, knowing that even if his bullpen blows it, he should leave the game with a lead.
The last avenue to look into when sports betting would be futures. Futures are long in the MLB and it is tough to put up so much money to see it wait all season or all playoffs to profit, but they can be the easiest way to expose the MLB betting market.
Futures bets can be placed on division winners, pennant winners, and of course World Series winners. They can be placed at the beginning of the year and throughout the year at varying books and varying odds.
We will use the NL East as an example. In the NL East, the Nationals are -350 to win the division, meaning a bettor would have to lay $350 to win $100. The Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves are +375, meaning that if a bettor risked $100, they would win $375 if either team were able to catch the Nationals and win the division. From there the Mets and Marlins are long shots at +2000 and +75000 respectively. Those are low probability bets with big rewards for taking the risk.
Where To Bet?
So, where can you find these odds? Stay on the lookout in the news for local reports about your state legalizing sports gambling. It should be coming soon, and kiosks will be open to taking bets.
In the meantime, BetOnline.ag, bovada.lv, 5dimes.eu feature all of the bets explained and more.