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Betting on baseball is quite a bit different than betting on basketball or football. In basketball and football, a handicap called a spread is used to bridge the gap between the two teams and give bettors a difficult decision.
When it comes to baseball, money line betting is the standard. The price you bet on each team to win is indicative of the strength of that team, either based on what the oddsmakers believe or what the betting market believes, depending on how the line has moved.
We’re all about education here at ATS and you can use this handy guide to get a basic 101 guide for the different bet types in baseball.
Money line betting is the way that most people bet on Major League Baseball, the KBO, the NPB, and other leagues around the globe. This is simply picking the winner. The odds to win will largely be based on the strength of the team and the strength of that day’s starting pitcher.
In a given MLB game, the New York Yankees might be -130 and the Houston Astros might be +120. That means that you would have to bet $130 to win $100 on the Yankees. A $100 bet on the Houston Astros would be to win $120. You don’t have to bet in $100 increments, but it just makes the math easy to show you how the process works with betting favorites, that have the minus sign (-) in front of the odds, and underdogs, that have the plus sign (+) in front of the odds.
The “spread” bet in baseball is called the run line. Alternate run lines are available, but the standard is +1.5 or -1.5 based on the favorite and the underdog in the game. An underdog will be +1.5 and the odds will be dependent on how big of an underdog that team is. A favorite will be -1.5 and the odds will again be dependent on how big of a favorite that team is.
Generally speaking, a +1.5 will be at minus odds and a -1.5 will be at plus odds. For example, a team that is a -140 favorite may have -1.5 odds at +130. That means that the favorite has two win by two more runs to cash at +130.
An underdog at +120 might be +1.5 at -150, which means that they have to win the game or lose by one run in other to cash at -150.
There are alternate options like -2.5 and +2.5 or higher, depending on the sportsbook. Those will have plus and minus prices accordingly.
Totals betting, also known as over/under, is also very popular in Major League Baseball. A total on a game might be over/under 9 at -110 on both sides. The 9 is the total number of runs from both teams with a combined final score. If the teams score 11 total runs, the game goes over the total. If the teams score 8 total runs, the game goes under the total.
Totals will have half-runs in some instances, like a total of 8.5 or 9.5. If a total of 9 finishes with exactly nine runs, the bet is a push and your bet is refunded. With a total that has half-runs, a push is impossible.
Totals bets are going to have vigorish or “juice”. Much like money line betting, you would bet $110 to win $100 on a -110 or $125 to win $100 on a -125.
In football and basketball, we have first half betting. In baseball, we have “1st 5” betting. That is a bet based on the outcome of the first five innings of the game. You can bet money lines, run lines (at -0.5 or +0.5 runs), and totals.
1st 5 lines are different from full-game lines. They are weighted even more heavily on starting pitchers because bullpens and relievers are generally not required that early in the game.
Totals are going to usually be about half of the full-game total, plus a little extra. A full-game total of 10 is likely to have a 1st 5 total of 5.5 or 6. A game with a total of 9 is likely to have a 1st 5 total of 5.5. The 1st 5 total is usually going to be more than half of the full-game total because it is more than half of the game.
Baseball is also an excellent sport for live betting. There are a lot of commercial breaks between innings and with pitching changes. The game is also extremely matchup-dependent, especially in the late innings, so that gives viewers and those paying attention a good opportunity to try and get value.Live betting options primarily include money lines and totals, but prop bets are also available.
Prop betting comes in a variety of different ways. You can bet on whether or not a batter, like Aaron Judge, will hit a home run. You can bet over/under the number of strikeouts for a starting pitcher like Gerrit Cole. You can bet how many Runs+Hits+Errors the two teams will combine for. You can bet how many hits or RBI individual hitters will have. You can bet Yes/No if a run will be scored in the 1st inning.
The prop bets are endless when it comes to baseball.