Baseball Wagering For Noobs

by dev_rstn_tv

Baseball gambling isn’t like other sporting contests. In baseball gambling, spreads are non-existent as games are often so close. Instead, bookmakers provide odds on each team winning, which is known as the moneyline. This style of wagering is prevalent in almost every sport, but in America’s pastime, it is responsible for a large chunk of the action.

When constructing a line, the bookmaker chooses one team to be the favorite and the other to be the expected loser. This side who is expected to lose has higher odds, while the side expected to be victorious will have lower odds. The differing odds are used by the betting site to entice bettors to wager evenly on both teams. In an ideal world, the sportsbook takes even action on both teams, and then profits from the fees charged irrespective no matter which side manages to clinch up the win.

The way US moneylines work is that the favorite is presented with a negative integer and the side predicted to lose a positive one. The numbers which form the line are based on a hypothetical $100 wager. For a new baseball bettor, this can be a little strange and confusing, but we are going to show an easy example. 

Example of a Baseball Line

Let’s say the SF Giants are taking on the LA Dodgers, and the Dodgers are expected to win. The bookies have set the line at:

Dodgers -150 Giants +130

If you wanted to slap a wager on the Dodgers (the favorite), you need to risk $150 to win $250 and secure a $100 profit. The moneyline is written as -150 because you are risking $150 to win $100. 

If you were feeling extra lucky and wanted to back the Giants, placing a $100 wager would result in you winning $230 and $130 in profit. This line is positive because a $100 bet yields a profit of $130.

The Vig

Have you ever wondered how a sportsbook consistently wins and stays in business? Well, the answer is the vig. The vig is a commission a sportsbook charges on every wager they take. The vig is actually baked into the odds, so it can be easy for beginner baseball bettors not to notice the high commission they are paying.

Let’s review the previous hypothetical featuring the Dodgers and Giants game and calculate the vig. If you put $150 on the Dodgers, you will win $250, which gives an implied probability of 60% (150/250). While if you place $100 on the Giants, you will win $230, which gives an implied probability of 43.5% (100/230). You will notice that the total probability is 103.5%, this is known as the overround. This means that for every $100 a bookmaker pays out, they receive $103.5, guaranteeing profit. To calculate the vig as a percentage use this formula – 1 – (1/103.5) x 100 = 3.4%. 3.4% is a hefty fee, but vigs can often be much higher and can really add up, making it difficult for a gambler to win consistently.

Calculating the vig not only allows gamblers to see how much they are being charged to make a bet, but it also reveals what the sportsbook predicts will happen in a baseball game. Let’s look at our example again. To find the real probabilities of each team winning without the vig, we take the implied probability and divide it by the overround. So the bookmaker thinks the Dodgers have a 58% chance of winning (60/103.5) while they believe the Giants only have a 42% chance of winning (43.5/103.5).

Pitching Is Everything In Baseball Gambling

If you thought quarterbacks were important in football, well, pitchers are on another level. You might notice that the line is heavily influenced by who the starting knuckleballer is in a particular game. It is normal for moneylines to shift dramatically if a pitcher is removed for the game or a bench player is called up to start.

Pitchers are so critical in baseball that bookmakers allow you to make bets that are instantly voided if the hurler is replaced. There are a number of other pitcher-related bets you can make, including an action wager which means irrespective of pitcher change, your wager is live.

It is also possible to make a baseball wager where your wager will be live as long as the side you selected has their starting pitcher. If you chance your luck on the Dodgers and their starting pitcher is good to go, but the Giants replace their pitcher, your wager is still live.

The Run Line

While baseball markets don’t have spreads or handicaps, they do have something called a run line. The run line is used when one particular team is a huge favorite and is a handicap that deducts runs from a side. For example, if the line is 1.5, your side has to secure victory by 2 runs or more. Otherwise, your bet loses. This is very similar to spread gambling which you find in other major sports. 

However, there is a key difference in other sports wagering markets: the spread makes the two teams even, but in baseball gambling, the team with a negative run line becomes an underdog. In our hypothetical contest the Dodgers were -150 if you bet them on the money line, but they are +120 if you wager on them at -1.5 runs. For your gamble to pay off, the Dodgers must be uo by 2 runs or more when the match concludes. And now, if they do win, your $100 wager is going to provide you with a juicy $220.

Ready For Your First Bet

With our beginner introduction to baseball gambling, you now understand the basics. You know all about moneylines, how the bookmaker charges its fees, the importance of pitching and how the run line works. Now it is time to test your luck and place a bet on your favorite team.