Strategic Wagering For Major League Baseball (MLB) I

As time has shown, if given the opportunity, people will bet on just about anything and at anytime! Throughout history people have found things to wager on, from cockfighting to bare knuckle fights to horse racing to baseball and much more! In the past, sportsbook betting was limited to fixed locations, with information coming by word-of-mouth, newspapers, and at the event site.

With the Internet a new wagering platform was created. The once restricted pastime evolved into worldwide wagering opportunities that you could access 24/7 on your home PC while in your PJ’s. Yee haw! With global sport betting at consumers’ fingertips, it’s no wonder that the convenience of the web has resulted in rapid growth and surging popularity in the sportsbook industry. The major sportsbook websites have numerous features, including live lines and odds, information about sports, commentaries on contests and wagering opportunities. Some even offer a daily live radio show focusing on sports and sports betting on the web!

With new electronic opportunities, new strategies developed in sports wagering. On the web, each sport’s betting event possesses preferred wagering strategies. Major League Baseball season has started and it’s a great time to review the ins and outs of Strategic Wagering for the sport.

Hey, what is Major League Baseball without betting for or against the outcome! When you have something going besides the actual game, like the bettor’s action, things get very exciting when watching the highs and lows of the contest. Just thinking about it can give you an adrenaline rush!

Although wagering on MLB has some peculiarities, overall it’s pretty straightforward. In the following sections, we will cover basic bets common to MLB. These include:

Straight or Side bets: These are the most common MLB wagers– “betting to win or lose.”

Run lines: Most popular for MLB, a combination of Point Spread and Money Line.

Money lines: Next best for MLB, which gives odds that one team will beat another.

Over/unders (total runs): The bettor is wagering for the game to go over or under the run total.

Action points: Team against team, regardless of the starting pitchers. However, if there is a change in one or both of the starting pitchers, the bettor still has a wager, but the price will be adjusted according to the new starting pitcher.

Point spreads: Used as a margin to handicap the favorite team.

Head to head propositions: This is “betting to win” on one sports figure/team against another sports figure/team.

Note: These wagers have no built-in mathematical advantage in a sports event. Why? Sports are independent events and are not ruled by probability theory! Instead, the sportsbook acts as a broker and gains a commission only on losing bets. This commission is called vigorish, vig or juice and typically is 10% of your wager. So if you are wagering $100, you place $110 (11/10 odds). If you win you get $210; or if you lose, you lose $110 and the Sportsbook gets the $10.

Straight bets are the most common MLB wager. When you place a straight bet, you simply pick the team that will win or lose the game. All straight bets have 11/10 odds, unless otherwise noted at the time of the wager. This translates into the sportsbook making 10% vigorish (juice) on losing wagers.

OddsRiskGet Juice (lose only) Win
Straight buy ½ point$120$100$20$220
Straight buy 1 point$130$100$30$230

The format used for sportsbook wagering charts is displayed differently and will look more like:

Major League Baseball Run Line Money Line Game Total
HcapPricePriceOver/Under Price

Datetime905(Away Team & Pitcher)+1.5-220+104O: 9.0-120
(Home Team & Pitcher)- 1.5+180- 114U: 9.0+100

DateTime906Dodgers Valdez+1.5+115- 138O: 9.5-115
ExposHermanson- 1.5-135+128U: 9.5-105

DateTime907Athletics Loaiza +1.5-220+112O: 10.0-120
TwinsSilva- 1.5+170 -122U: 10.0+100

This typical sportsbook wagering chart is compact and shows the Run line, Money Line and Over/Under Straight Bet with the odds. This compact format will list the Away Team wager line first, then the Home Team wager line. The minus sign (e.g. -130) always indicates the favorite and the amount you must bet to win $100. The line without the minus sign (e.g. +120) always indicates the underdog and the amount you win for every $100 bet. Using this example, therefore, you would bet $130 to win $100 on the favorite, while for the underdog you would bet $100 to win $120.

Run Lines: The MLB Run Line is a combination of the Point Spread and the Money Line. The team you wager on must win by covering the Run Line spread. The amount you lay down is determined by the Money Line odds next to the Run Line spread. (Odds are primarily determined by who’s pitching). The same rules that apply for the Totals apply for the Run Lines. When wagering on the Expos Run Line, the team selected must win by at least 2 runs. When wagering on the Dodgers Run Line, the selected team can lose the game, but not by more that one run. Note: Run Lines are always “listed pitchers”.

Money Lines: When wagering on sides, if you are betting the favorite, you will be laying odds. When betting on the underdog, you will be picking the odds. The odds for each game are based on who is pitching.

Over/Under: Waging on the total runs scored on the game (both teams combined, overtime included). If you wager on the Dodgers/Exposes game to go OVER the predicted total, the amount of the runs on the game must be more than 10 in order to win the wager. If you wager on the Dodgers/Expos game to go UNDER the predicted total, the amount of runs on the game must not exceed 9 in order to win the wager. The game must go 9 innings (8.5 if the home team is ahead) to have action.

Those are the basic wagering strategies for Major League Baseball! With this basic information, the beginner should feel comfortable with looking at and figuring out how to use a typical sportsbook wagering chart.