Although no longer the most popular sport in America, baseball fanatics and the older generation still stick to their belief that it is the national past time. Betting on professional baseball has been around for over a century with it’s first foray into the spotlight with the 1919 Chicago White Sox betting against themselves and throwing the World Series.
Baseball betting is simple. Most bettors start with the starting pitcher and work their way backwards when analyzing a game, since a strong starting pitcher will give that team much more of an edge. But there are multitudes of other factors such as a teams freshness with travel, injuries, home field advantage, and even current hitting trends of who’s hot and who’s not. Find what works best for you and continue to hone your skills daily.
There are three ways which are the most popular to bet a baseball game. Money line wagering, Run line wagering, and Over/Under betting. For purposes of explaining, we will use the following as an example. Most sports books will offer lines similar to this:
San Francisco + 145 Matt Cain +1.5 -150 Over 7.5
Los Angeles D -155 Clayton Kershaw -1.5 +140 Under 7.5
Money line wagering is the most popular way to bet a baseball game. Simply put, all you are doing is picking which team will win the game. There is nothing to cover or do extra, just win. Since some teams and certainly some starting pitchers are better than others, the sports book will weigh the game and give a “price” at which you can take either team. In the example above, Clayton Kershaw (arguably the best pitcher in baseball) is at home against the Giants and going up against Matt Cain. Since Kershaw is one of the best pitchers and at home the Dodgers are favored in this contest. If you like them to win you would have to put up $155 for every $100 you wanted to win. Conversely if you think the Giants might win, for every $100 you wager you will get back $145 plus your original $100 wager if they go on to win.
Run line wagering has become more popular in recent years. Notice how the Dodgers are a pretty healthy favorite to win the game. In most cases, with run line wagering the exact opposite is true. It is hard to win a baseball game by more than one run and now San Francisco is the favorite at +1.5 -150. All you are doing is adding 1.5 runs to the Giants after the game is complete. Another way to look at it is San Francisco starts the game leading 1.5 to 0. Some bettors prefer this because there is a pretty steep price to bet the Dodgers to win straight up. But if you liked them to really beat the Giants and win by 2 runs or more, then you would get $140 for every $100 wagered if you bet them on the run line -1.5. Run lines are tricky. They offer very good rewards but since 30 percent of Major League Baseball games are decided by 1 run, there are often times when you pick the correct winner, but lose since they didn’t win by 2 runs or more.
Finally there is Over/Under Betting. In the example above the odds makers thought 7.5 total runs for the game including extra-innings was a fair number. You can bet on whether or not you think there will be more than 7.5 runs (over) or less than 7.5 runs (under).
Baseball is a long season of 32 teams playing 162 games. Professionals feast on baseball betting because there is much more information available and there are a multitude of games every day for six months.