It’s not shocking that baseball doesn’t get the attention of the faster-paced sports such as football or basketball, but that does not mean it should be overlooked. Profits loom large on the base paths all summer long. You can take advantage and even boost your bankroll prior to the start of the more popular football season if you know what you’re doing.
Perhaps the most obvious difference between betting baseball, as compared to football, or hoops is that you are required to do so on the moneyline (ML), as opposed to playing teams against the spread (ATS). Basically you are simply picking the winner and the price you pay is adjusted depending upon who is the favorite, or underdog.
This can be a dangerous proposition for a baseball beginner who is prone to playing big favorites. Keep in mind that with every –300 favorite you lose, you must win three to get back to even. With that said, you could also put a huge strain on your bankroll if you take the polar opposite approach and continually try to land the big underdogs.
There’s an age old baseball handicapping philosophy that reminds us that even if a team has a spectacular season and wins 100 games, they would still lose 62 games. That means even the Yankees, Red Sox, and Cardinals of the MLB circuit will lose an estimated 38–percent of their games, despite being asked to eat big chalk on a consistent basis.
Now that doesn’t mean that you go ahead and fade the best teams each time they take the field, but it does mean that in most cases there’s not much value in playing the fan favorites. Not to mention that these top teams are quite capable of producing long win streaks.
To keep it simple, by playing the runline, you basically create a line of 1 1/2-runs on the game and you then choose whether to ‘take’ or ‘give’ the 1 1/2-run spread.
For example, if you wanted to wager on the Yankees as a –250 favorite, but were a little hesitant to pay the big price, you could bet New York on the runline. To win your bet, the Yankees would have to win by two runs. The –250 moneyline price would most likely look more like –150 on the runline, thus minimizing your losses.
Of course you’ve also increased the risk with the chance of a one-run final.
Also keep in mind that as you can lay the 1 1/2-runs for the favorite, you can also take them and play the underdog. To win this bet the underdog must either win, or lose by a run to cover. However, in this case, you pay a higher price for the cushion and in many cases there isn’t much value to be found.
Of course there’s more to baseball then just picking which team is going to win. Betting totals can prove to be both entertaining and profitable. Playing totals is the same as in every other sport, and therefore the beginner may find this the most comfortable way to go.
In most cases you can bet totals at –110 or even cheaper if you shop around. If nothing else, that fact alone should be proof enough that baseball totals should not be overlooked.
In many instances you may have a good feel for how a game is going to play out, without necessarily knowing who’s going to wind up the victor. If this is the case, try making a play on the total.
SHOPPING YOUR NUMBERS
When wagering on any sport, besides winning, money management and shopping for value remain the most important factor. It takes discipline and is one area where many people falter. Remember a baseball season could see you make upwards of 200-300 wagers, and with that size of a sample you can get ‘juiced’ quite easily
Always have multiple outs to ensure the best line, or price, and take advantage of weekly specials (such as half-priced juice) that books often offer. Your pocketbook will thank you in the end. Remember that over the course of a baseball season, all these little 10-cent, or 1/2-point differences can really add up.