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Betting on MLB 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 MLB betting, 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 mlb pick 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 and MLB pick types in baseball.
Money line betting is the way that most people bet or make a MLB pick 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.
MLB Totals betting, also known as over/under, is also very popular in MLB. 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 combined score is over 9 runs for example 10 total runs, the game goes over the total and you win your MLB Pick. If the teams score 8 total runs, the game goes under the total and you lose your MLB betting pick.
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 MLB baseball, we have “1st 5” betting. That is a MLB Pick or 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.
MLB 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 make a MLB Pick 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 MLB prop bet options are endless when it comes to baseball betting.
The Major League Baseball season is here and despite the cold, snowy weather in the Northeast it still feels like spring. The Expert MLB handicapper is raring and ready to go as the long grind of the baseball season provides plenty of room for profit. If you are new to betting on baseball you must learn the handicapping ropes if you want to win big.
The one thing that you need to know is that when you are looking to make MLB picks on a side (or even bet on a total) you must start at one place. That one place to begin is with starting pitching. It may seem obvious but if you are looking to win big while betting on MLB it all starts with the starting pitching. This is how the MLB oddsmakers set the line and these pitchers have the talent to overtake the game and dominate it from start to finish. Since the starting pitching is so important, the MLB expert handicapper has to make sure that they know everything about the starting pitching before they put money down on their expert MLB picks.
There are too many things to consider even with the starting pitching that the savvy handicapper always has to be on the lookout for winning angles if they want to win money while betting on baseball.
The length of the start is one thing to consider with your MLB picks or bets. A starting pitcher could pitch very well and pitch a complete game or they could get shelled and get the early hook. That outing has to be considered when making your mlb picks on that pitcher in the very next outing. For example New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole does very well after an outing where he does not last long. His teams are a perfect 10-0 in the last ten starts that he has made after a start where he went no longer than five innings. Not all pitchers will do this well, but it just shows how important it is to know the starting pitcher. The Cleveland Indians have a pitcher that does not respond well if he is not forced to throw too many pitches in his previous start. Carlos Carrasco has produced a team record of 0-12 as an underdog mlb pick when coming off a start where he threw less than 98 pitches. In this case, Carrasco has to be an underdog which would indicate he is going up against a good team and he had to have thrown less than 98 pitches in his last start, which indicates that he is not pitching well and facing a very good team. These are just two small examples of pitchers and how they perform after certain games.
As a MLB handicapper if you want to succeed it is downright vital to make sure that you know the starting pitching. While it is not the only thing to consider by far, skipping over the investigation of the starting pitching could get you into some big trouble this season.
The bottom line is that if you want to win with your MLB picks when betting on baseball you have to do your homework each and every day and it all begins with the starting pitchers!
Without question, In-Game Live Betting is the future in the sports betting industry. As lines get tighter and there is more and more information, including all of the statistical databases for the leagues now that we’re in the era of legalization, it will be harder to find edges to make mlb picks on full-game lines. In-Game Live Betting allows you to follow along with the game and pick your spots once you’ve already seen how the game is going.
In the context of MLB, live wagering can be an extremely profitable venture. If you notice that the starting pitcher is losing his command or his fastball has lost some zip, maybe that is a good time to bet or make MLB picks against him. If one of the key middle of the order bats left with an injury and was replaced by a bench guy that is an inferior hitter, maybe that is another good time to live bet.
Live betting is great because you have the opportunity to make MLB picks based on the game flow and based on your eyes. Every pregame wager has some level of uncertainty to it. In-game wagers do as well, simply because anything can happen, but at least you can bet with a higher degree of confidence having seen what is going on.
Another benefit to live betting in a lot of sports is that the odds are simply algorithmic. The odds will be based on how much time or how many innings are left in the game, what the score is, and usually based on what the closing lines were before the game. Most live sports betting interfaces don’t take into account a player sitting down with foul trouble.
In the case of MLB specifically, managers can sometimes make some poor decisions. Maybe Terry Francona didn’t have a right-handed pitcher ready in time to face Aaron Judge in the seventh inning with two guys on. Maybe Dusty Baker is letting his starter pitch into the seventh inning even though he’s danced out of danger in each of the last two innings. Maybe Joe Maddon is unwilling to pinch hit for a batter that can’t hit righties worth a lick. These are all scenarios when you are looking for when you make a live in game MLB picks or bets.
Because the nature of baseball is so matchup-dependent, you can find good in-game betting opportunities. If Aaron Nola gives up two runs in the first inning on a walk and a home run, he’s very likely to settle in and pitch well the rest of the game. You can make free mlb picks at that point to live bet the game with.
Money lines, run lines, and totals are all available when it comes to In-Game Live Betting, so you can bet on that big comeback against a tired bullpen or bet on the team with the lead to increase it in the late innings against a team that won’t be using its best relievers while trailing.
Before the game, we have no idea how it will play out. A team may be a big favorite on the money line, but may wind up getting a bad start from the starting pitcher and trail in the late innings. Maybe that team was a big mlb betting favorite because the opposition has a poor lineup and a bad bullpen. That could be a good time to make a mlb pick and live bet the pregame favorite at a better price because the game is 4-2 in the seventh inning and the home team is trailing.
Most live betting interfaces won’t be able to tell if Alex Cora goes to Craig Kimbrel or some other reliever. But you know. And you can live bet that game and take a chance on the Boston Red Sox blowing that game without their closer. Or maybe a team is trying a young guy in a high-leverage situation in September.
Making solid MLB picks is about picking your spots is something that you should do in every betting context, whether it is full-game or in-game. It’s just easier to do during the game because you are seeing how everything is playing out in real-time. Maybe you bet one of your best MLB picks in a game expecting all of the relievers to be available, but you found out that Jordan Hicks is sick for the St Louis Cardinals and somebody else is the closer. That means that somebody else is in the eighth inning role, which means that somebody else is in the seventh inning role. All of the sudden, there are guys being asked to fill roles that they don’t normally fill.
Astute observers can take advantage when making their MLB picks of a lot of sports over the course of the season, so this is definitely something that you want to add to your MLB baseball betting repertoire.
The MLB season is definitely unique compared to sports betting in the rest of pro sports leagues. Not only does the MLB schedule span 162 games, but it is the only league in which teams play their games in a series format. Every other sport seems to leave the series format to the playoffs. Not baseball.
This creates a sports betting opportunity exclusive to recreational MLB bettors and MLB expert picks alike. Most MLB sportsbooks will offer series prices before the start of a new set of games. The team that wins the best-of-three will be the team that wins the series. When it comes to those dreaded four-game series, odds will still be posted, but those bets will only be graded on the first three games.
Series betting requires punters to look into the future a little bit. You have to try to project out the lines for the games and then see if you have an edge. Let’s say that the series price for the Yankees vs. Red Sox at Fenway Park has the Red Sox as a -150 favorite, which implies a 60 percent chance that the Red Sox take two of the three games.
If Chris Sale is pitching in the first game of the series and the Red Sox are a -200 favorite, it seems likely that they will get the first game and then only need to win one of the next two games to cash that series ticket. If the New York Yankees avoid Chris Sale in that series, things become a lot tougher at that point with the drop-off behind Sale.
Modelers who make MLB expert picks have an advantage over more traditional bettors when it comes to series betting because they can calculate lines in advance based on the pitching matchup and the expected lineups. Casual bettors may have to guesstimate a little bit more to see if there is going to be value later in the series.
MLB Odds don’t appear out of nowhere in this business. A base number is created based on probability and then bettors move the numbers around based on how they believe the game will play out. You can do the same with your lines or with your projected lines and then play them out with a probability formula to see if you have an edge relative to the series price on either the underdog or the favorite.
Keep in mind that some series prices will force you to pay a lot of juice on the favorite, so it may not be the best approach for your bankroll. Similarly, it may be a better option for you to simply make a MLB pick on the underdog in the game(s) where you believe that they have the best chance instead of playing the plus money odds on winning the series. One MLB pick for example, an underdog might be +125 to win the series, but is +150 in one of those games where you thought that they had a good chance of the upset. It might make more sense to make your mlb pick on the +150 on its own.
Like all betting options, just because series odds are listed doesn’t mean that you need to bet them, but a primary component of being a successful handicapper is being able to find value whenever present. Sometimes that will be on a straight wager, a money line parlay, or a series price, but you want to keep an open mind and a diverse portfolio if you want to be a successful MLB handicapper.