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Baseball Prop Bets

MLB Betting: Baseball Prop Bets

By Loot, Major League Handicapper,

A prop bet, in essence, is when you bet on an event within an event. Rather than betting on the result of a game, you bet on a certain detail within the game. Who wins isn’t important. There are many aspects of a baseball game. Prop betting allows you to wager on some of those sub-points within the bigger event. Once a very small part of baseball wagering, prop bets are picking up steam, with more MLB prop bets available now than ever before.

Prop bets can cover a wide range of game details. You can bet on the scoring, like whether or not either team will score a run in the first inning. Or which team will score first in a game. Or how many runs will be scored in the first 3-4 innings of a game. It will look like this:

Which Team Will Score First?

Milwaukee Brewers (+120)
Los Angeles Dodgers (-140)

The Dodgers are favored to score first. The great majority of all prop bets express the odds like in the manner above--a money line. If you bet on the Dodgers to score first, you need to wager $140 for every $100 you hope to win. A $100 winning bet on the Brewers would produce a win of $120. And naturally, you can bet any amount. It doesn’t have to be $100 or over. It can be $10 if you want.

Tip: The largest menu of daily MLB proposition wagers can be found at the web's best sportsbook: 5Dimes.

In baseball, we can play totals, where we decide if the final score will not meet or exceed the “total” posted by the book. That is also a prop bet of sorts, though it is usually categorized in the area of “totals.” Sometimes, there are totals posted for only segments of the games and you can place prop bets on whether the amount of runs scored in that part of the game will not meet or exceed the posted total. If you think the score will be lower, that’s called betting on the “under.” If you think the score will exceed the total, that’s called an “over.” Here’s an example:

Total Runs Scored in the First 4 Innings

Over 3.5 (-130)
Under 3.5 (-110)

An “under” bet is at -110, meaning you bet $110 for every $100 you want to win or $11 for every $10 you want to win. Over is a slightly-favored outcome at -130, meaning you wager $130 for every $100 you hope to win, or $13 for every $10.

Other prop bets focus on player performance, usually centered around two players, where the question becomes who will have more success in a certain area for this given game you are betting. A player prop bet can also be a yes/no question, such as whether a certain player will get a hit in the game. Some examples are...

Who Will Have More Total Bases in Tonight’s Game?

Albert Pujols (-110)
Miguel Cabrera (-130)

Will Matt Kemp Get a Base-Hit Tonight?

Yes (-180)
No (+160)

Which Pitcher Will Record More Strikeouts in Tonight’s Game?

R.A Dickey (-130)
Clayton Kershaw (-110)

How Many Strikeouts Will C.C. Sabathia Have in Tonight’s Game?

Over 6.5 (-140)
Under 6.5 (+110)

The examples are endless. Again, new wrinkles on prop betting are seemingly added each season. This is just a small cross-section of examples. Some sharps like prop bets because there is less consensus, as opposed to the odds of a team just winning a game. Sometimes, books create their own prop bets, meaning that it is less market-tested. Sharp bettors can often times find a weak line and pounce on it.

The flip side to that coin is the limits are usually pretty low, meaning a sharp player who works hard to find a weak line will be faced with a relatively low betting limit. In addition, the juice, as you can see, is a little steeper with prop bets. When making straight bets or wagering on totals, the juice is there, but it’s more manageable. The book steps it up a notch or two when posting prop bets.

These are fun bets to make. They have their benefits and drawbacks. In order to decide if you should make prop wagering a part of your betting repertoire, decide what your goals are in baseball wagering and how much time you can devote to it. Playing prop bets correctly require a lot of time for research. With the added juice and small limits, some don’t like them very much. Decide what works best for you.

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