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Baseball Money Line

The Baseball Money Line

By Loot, MLB Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Baseball betting is a little different than betting on other major American team sports. There is no point-spread! A lot of people are attracted to baseball betting for that reason. Rather than choosing which team will beat an arbitrary number, baseball wagering allows you to pick which team will simply win the game. There’s a certain purity to it.

Naturally, teams can be better or worse than other teams. One team is at home and one is on the road. With pitching rotations, there is a different thrower on the mound every day. So while we can pick which team will simply win, we are doing so with odds. And these odds are expressed in the money line.

Most who are unfamiliar with betting will be accustomed to odds being expressed in a fractional form, as in something is a 3/1 favorite or a 2/1 underdog. Those are odds, but with MLB moneylines, it’s just expressed differently. A 3/1 favorite would be listed as -300 on the money line, while a 2/1 underdog would be +200. The money line is just an expression of odds and it’s what governs straight betting in baseball. Here is an example:

Detroit Tigers -220
Houston Astros +200

Detroit is playing Houston. Detroit is -220. They are the favorite. When you see a (-) sign, that means it is a favorite. That minus-sign means you must bet that number to win $100. So Detroit at -220 means you must bet $220 for every $100 you want to win. It doesn’t have to be $100. It’s listed that way just to make the math easy. If you wanted to win $20 on Detroit, you would bet $44.

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When you see a (+) sign, that means it is an underdog. The plus-sign next to a number means you will win that amount if you bet $100. So if you bet $100 on Houston and they won, you would win $200 and of course get your $100 bet back, as well.

It’s a little confusing at first. You’ll have to think about it a few times, but it will quickly become second-nature. Just remember that a (-) sign means a favorite and a (+) sign means an underdog. If a (-) sign is in front of a number, you have to bet that amount to win $100. If a (+) sign is in front of a number, that’s how much you win if you bet $100.

Unlike other sports where the difference between the good and bad teams is wide, there is more parity in baseball. The best teams lose 60 games a year for crying out loud! So no team will ever be a gigantic favorite. In a sport like boxing, a favorite can be as high as -5000. You don’t see the odds in many baseball games ever get too far past the -300 barrier, which as you know, is a 3/1 favorite.

That is not an invitation to start betting favorites at a super-high rate, despite the relatively-good price on favorites when compared to other sports. A good rule of thumb is to bet a mix of favorites and underdogs. When laying numbers like -250 or -300 on a consistent basis, your winning percentage needs to be really high and that’s not easy in a game where even the good teams lose so much.

All baseball bettors should seek out what is referred to in the business as a “dime line.” They are simply better odds and allow you to get the most bang for your wagering buck. A lot of books, in fact most of them, employ a 20-cent line. Here is what that looks like:

San Francisco Giants -180
Colorado Rockies +160

San Francisco is the favorite at -180 and Colorado is a +160 underdog. The spread of those 2 numbers is 20 cents. Now look at a dime line:

San Francisco Giants -180
Colorado Rockies +170

Now the numbers are only 10 cents apart. While betting on the Giants wouldn’t give you any discounts on this bet, the Rockies are 10 cents better on the dime line. Theoretically, when betting constantly with a dime line, the odds will favor you half the time. And that can add up to big money over the course of a 162-game baseball season.

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