I am surprised that the practice of betting on MLB baseball is not larger than it is. Baseball ranks roughly third in the grand scheme of things. It’s right behind football and basketball.
Here’s the question I wonder—why? In MLB betting, you only need to pick the winner. How hard is that? There are no spreads involved—unless you want to increase your position by utilizing the run line. It may be because the money line of baseball betting throws off the average sports bettor. It’s just natural to some to bet with spreads. There’s very little thinking involved—as far as the financials go. Baseball forces the sports bettor to think a little more about the money. In football or basketball, you take or lay points and pay a simple 10% vig—nice and easy.
In baseball, each game has its own money line and it can baffle some sports bettors. The typical sports bettor has to wonder if taking the Yankees -300 against the Royals is good and if so, is taking the Angels at home -145 against the Mariners good as well? You see, the lines are not as clear-cut for the average sports bettor. I want to share with you a few rules for betting on baseball that will help reduce the amount of time you spend thinking about the financials and increase the time spent on picking the winner. These rules are very simple to follow—even the new sports bettor will be able to follow them. Put them down on paper and keep them handy when you go to bet.
Rule One: Don’t bet on a team that’s more than or equal to -165 on the money line. This rule is very simple to follow. If you see a team that is -165 or greater, you don’t bet them on the money line. If you love the team, look at rule number two. The concept behind this rule is very simple. The higher you go in lines, the harder it will be to get ahead should you lose. Let’s take that -300 line I talked about earlier. If you lose once, you will now need to win three times just to get back to even. By keeping the maximum money line around -165 or less, you are only risking about 1/2 of a win.
Rule Two: If a team is -165 to -230 and you must bet them, take the team on the run line. By taking a heavily favored team on the run line, you will cut down the money you have to lay. In some cases, it will turn into money in your pocket. For example, a favored team on the run line may end up being +120 (for example). Heavily favored teams tend to win by 2 runs or more often. The run line allows you to get a great team at a great price.
Rule Three: Walk away from all games -240 or above. It’s good practice to simply ignore the high priced games. There’s really no money in it. Let’s take a -250 favorite as an example. The best team’s in baseball win 60% of their games—so they lose 40% of the time. If you bet the -250 favorite ten times and those good odds played out, you would end up losing. Let’s say you bet $25 per game—to win $10. At the end of your ten game run, you would have lost $40. The hole is just too big to crawl out of. What if the team(s) played .550 ball? You would lose even more.
Rule Four: Never bet on a road team that’s trying to complete the sweep. Yes, road teams do sweep home teams, but it’s a rare event. A quick look over sweep attempts in 2005, for example, would show you that the sweep is only completed about 10-15% of the time. Why risk 100% of your money for a 10-15% chance to win and further compound it by laying extra money on a possible favorite?
By following these four rules, you may miss some plays, but you will drastically reduce your ability to lose money.
Writer for SportsBookie.com
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