Haney's Handle: Hunting for MLB dime lines in Las Vegas

Apr 11, 2012 |
Haney's Handle: Hunting for MLB dime lines in Las Vegas
Baseball bettors should play the field when it comes to shopping for MLB lines.
Baseball bettors should play the field when it comes to shopping for MLB lines.
Baseball bettors, searching for the most bang for their buck in Las Vegas, will find it at sportsbooks run by the Cal Neva chain, the Golden Nugget downtown, and Boyd Gaming properties including Coast casinos.

The least advantageous baseball lines, from a gambler’s perspective, can be found at MGM Resorts properties, Caesars properties, Jerry’s Nugget, and the Stratosphere group.

The remaining eight sportsbook operations with outlets in Las Vegas fall somewhere in between.

These rankings are based on an analysis of the structure of the baseball moneylines offered at each book. Not coincidentally, the books at the top of the rankings offer a strong 10-cent line, or “dime line,” on MLB action.

On a dime line, if the betting favorite is listed at -110, the underdog would be even money. If the favorite is listed at -130, the underdog would be +120, and so on.

The ready availability of dime lines is a big reason you’ll often hear handicappers proclaim that baseball is the “easiest” sport to beat at the betting windows.

I reject the term “easy” regarding baseball betting if you’re talking about making money on a steady, consistent basis. I suspect many of those tossing around the term “easy” in this context are probably trying to sell you something. But the point is well taken. The opportunity to bet into a good dime line is often an attractive proposition for a sports gambler.

When betting into a dime line, a gambler is bucking a smaller house advantage compared to a standard 20-cent line.

A 20-cent line requires bettors to risk 110 to win 100 on either side. The estimated house edge checks in at about 4.54 percent.

With a 15-cent line, used by several Las Vegas sportsbooks as a baseline for baseball, the house advantage drops to an estimated 3.49 percent.

There are myriad ways to calculate the precise house edge with a dime line, depending on several factors including how high the line on the favorite is. But we’ll keep it simple: In an evenly matched game - or a “pick ’em” - lined at -105 on either side, everything else being equal, the estimated house edge is only 2.38 percent.

With apologies to Branch Rickey, baseball betting is the real game of inches, so each of those percentage points can mean a great deal to an avid baseball bettor.

The precise figures are not as significant as the underlying message, which is baseball bettors can expect to get the most value at sportsbooks that deal a competitive dime line. I’d argue that betting into a dime line as opposed to a 20-cent line could easily make the difference between a winning and losing baseball season for a gambler.

Eleven of the 15 separate sportsbooks in Las Vegas use some form of a dime line for baseball.

Without further ado, here are the rankings:

Best Las Vegas books for baseball bettors

The Cal Neva and Boyd/Coast books stick to their dime line even as the favorite becomes quite heavy: For instance, when the underdog is +170, the favorite is -180. The Golden Nugget does go to an 11-cent line in that range (-182 / +171) but maintains a tight gap even with larger favorites (-230 / +210). All three are excellent destinations for baseball gamblers.

Second tier

The LVH, Lucky’s and the South Point group fall into this category.

At the LVH, when the underdog is +170, the favorite is -190.

Lucky’s breaks to a 15-cent line in this range - for example: -181 / +166.

South Point uses a bigger straddle for heavier favorites. When the underdog is +197, the favorite is -235.

These are strong baseball sportsbooks, just missing the upper echelon.

Third tier

Cantor Gaming, Leroy’s, Station Casinos, the TI and the Wynn make up this category. All start out with a dime line but break to a 15-cent line or a 20-cent line sooner than their competitors higher on the list.

Least advantageous Las Vegas books for baseball bettors

The MGM Resorts properties use a 20-cent line as a baseline. If one team is -115, the other is -105.

The Caesars properties, Jerry’s Nugget and the Stratosphere group start out with a 15-cent line.

If you don’t bet baseball in Las Vegas regularly, feel free to use these rankings as a guide to help determine where on the spectrum your book falls.


Follow Jeff Haney on Twitter @yoryboy.

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