How to Bet on Baseball

How to Bet on Baseball

Gambling on football is one of America’s favorite past times. With the point spread system, the team you’ve put money on doesn’t even have to win the game in order for you to win the bet.

Of course, the team you’ve bet on can win the game and yet you still lose the bet, as what matters is not who won the game to the gambler, but rather by how much the favorite won by. If the New York Giants, for example, were favored by 7 1/2 points over the Chicago Bears, and win the game, but only by 7, those betting on the Giants would lose the bet and those betting on the Bears would win. The added wrinkle is that sportsbooks in Vegas typically will take 110% of the amount wagered on losses. So if you bet $100 on the Giants and lost, you would actually have lost $110. If you bet $100 on the Bears and won, then you would win only the $100. If one assumes that it’s basically a 50/50 proposition over the long term on beating the point spread, each bet would have an expected value of -10%.

Nevertheless, despite the odds, people bet football in record numbers each year. According to the Las Vegas Sun, gamblers wagered $92 million on the Super Bowl last year in Las Vegas alone. While wordwide totals are merely estimates, generally the Las Vegas action represents about 1% of total Super Bowl gambling. So worldwide, the amount of money gambled on the Super Bowl could be reasonably estimated to be close e to $10 billion.

It is an excellent thing to put your hard earned money into this field as the Super Bowl is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and the best gamblers are on the lookout for such a golden chance but the less than fortunate ones have to be content with Judi Slot Online.

Baseball, on the other hand, has relatively little gambling interest. There are many different theories and explanations as to why. For one, baseball has a 162 game regular season. Without doubt, during the course of the season, managers and teams, while of course trying to win every game, will not try to maximize their chances of winning any given game. Managers are concerned about burning out pitching staffs, trying new players at different positions, and even allowing hitters to work out of slumps rather than bench them, even if the odds of winning a particular game would be greater by changing things around. This is because over the course of a long season, the managers are concerned about the long term welfare of the team, realizing that in any one game, there are bound to be bad breaks and fluke occurences. It’s this type of perspective that, it could be reasonably assumed, tempers the enthusiasm for gamblers to stake money on individual games.

The other big factor is that generally baseball bookmakers do not put point spreads on the games. (There are some exceptions which I will discuss later, but generally speaking if you bet a team to win the game and that team wins, you win the bet, and, similarly, if you bet on the losing team, you lose the bet. It doesn’t matter if it was a one-run extra inning nail biter or a ten run blowout.

Ah, but there’s a catch. If you wager money on the favorite you have to risk more money than you win. Conversely, if you bet the underdog, you bet less money than you’ll win. This is called a “money line” as opposed to football’s “point spread.”

People are often confused by the baseball odds listed in the newspaper or on their betting website. They will see, for example, a line that looks like this:

Boston Red Sox -7 Baltimore Orioles +6.

It’s actually not that complicated. To understand this line, all you need to do is think in terms $5. You would need to wager $7 to win $5 on the Red Sox and wager $5 to win $6 on the Orioles. Most online sites today actually allow you to enter in how much you would like to risk, OR, how much you would like to win and then will automatically calculate the other side of the equation.

Sometimes lines are expressed differently. You might see the Los Angeles Dodgers at -300. This means you would need to wager $3 to win $1. But really it’s the same thing, just a bit easier to calculate.

Now, there are exceptions. Many bookmakers offer a money line for football as well, which means you risk more, often a great deal more, than you’ll win if you’re betting on the favorite. But generally speaking people bet the line as it will often make for a more exciting experience as even if a team has an insurmountable lead in the fourth quarter, the point spread may still very much be in doubt. Any casual perusal of late game tv ratings when one team is comfortably ahead shows the enormous impact that point spread gambling has on football.

And most bookmakers will offer a line of sorts for baseball as well. But generally it is limited to one run or maybe two. You could often, for example, bet the Yankees, -1 1/2. So the if the Yankees win by more than just one run, you will win your bet and often will win more than you risked. The problem with this is that over time you can expect the favorites in baseball to win by exactly one run 18% of the time, and lose the game outright nearly 40% of the time. So you can see that nearly 60% of the time you will lose that bet.

But baseball betting is actually easier to do successfully than the other sports. For one, it is a much less efficient market. Bookmakers are generally just trying to ‘balance their books’ and would ideally have an equal amount of ‘action’ on both sides of the wager. They make their money by taking the difference between the 6 and the 7 listed here. Similarly to football, where they take an additional 10% off of the losers.

But because there are far fewer gamblers in baseball, there’s opportunity to exploit inefficient markets. It is truly amazing how many times a big market team like the Yankees or Red Sox attract action which puts the money line at a much higher rate than where it should be. If the Yankees are favored by -$300, then the bookmakers are saying that the Yankees are 75% certain to win the game. While in certain instances, such as an ace pitcher against a rookie, this could be reasonable, even the worst teams in baseball win close to 40% of their games, and even the best teams lose 40% of theirs.

Shrewd baseball gamblers will often look to bet on the underdog, particularly a team that is relatively unknown and playing against a team with a large national following and on a hot streak. The amateurs, which there are far more than than the professionals, will assume that there’s ‘no way’ the underdog will win that night. When in fact, careful analysis will show very often how big time teams such as the Yankees are often a bad bet across the whole season as the odds are simply too high, even if the Yankees are their typical contending selves.

As the favorites win usually 18% of the time by exactly one run, it can make a lot of sense to take both sides of a wager and take the underdog +1 1/2. In late inning baseball, a winning team with a 2 or 3 run lead may be happy to let in a run in exchange for an out. Particularly one with a good closer. So look for those opportunities and nearly 1 in 5 times you will win both sides of the bet.

Seth

Seth

Seth is a professional blogger and is a Poker enthusiast. He wants to share his wisdom with other poker players to help them improve their game. He also loves to write about art and technology as well.

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