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What You Want From Your Sportsbook When Betting Baseball

Things You Want From Your Sportsbook When Betting Baseball

By Loot, MLB Handicapper,

It's amazing how little attention a lot of baseball bettors pay to the book they do business with. We need to remember that in today's ultra-competitive world of sports betting, there is some wide variance on what is offered from book to book. When betting on baseball, it's imperative to make sure certain things are in your favor. Let's go through a short list of things you should be looking for when deciding which books get your baseball betting business.

Dime Lines: A dime line is critical. A lot of books use a 20-cent line. When betting with a 20-cent line on the money lines, you're looking at twice the amount of bookie tax, "juice," or "vig"--whatever you want to call it. The way you determine if a book is using a dime-line is by looking at a game and the corresponding odds. Let's look at an example of both a dime-line and a 20-cent line.

Dime-Line: Chicago White Sox +120 vs. Cleveland Indians -130

Twenty-Cent Line: Colorado Rockies +130 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers -150

Look at the above examples. In the dime-line example, Chicago is a +120 underdog, with Cleveland a -130 favorite. The difference in the two prices is ten cents. Obviously, the bookie exacts less of an edge in this example.

In the second example, you see a 20-cent line. Colorado is a +130 underdog, with the Dodgers favored at -150, meaning there is a 20-cent spread between the odds of the favorite and the underdog.

Most of us would happily become bookies if people would bet baseball on a 20-cent line. It's twice as hard to win than when betting on a dime-line. The juice is doubled. Why subject yourself to twice the juice? Will it really hurt you over the course of a weekend when making baseball wagers during a Vegas vacation? Probably not. But for those of us betting from home over the course of a long 162-game season, including spring training and the postseason, that seemingly small edge can add up to a ton of money saved. What makes this a must-have for even the small-time baseball bettor is that it allows us to gain an edge that requires zero work. It's just given to us and it becomes a part of doing business. As we advance further down the road of baseball wagering, we will see how hard we have to work for every tiny edge, so we really need to jump on the advantages that are just offered up on a silver platter.

Early Lines: As with anything that can be looked at as a market, the opening price is the one that has more potential advantages. It's not market tested. By the time a game starts, the betting line has gone through all the permutations. It's more tested by the public and tighter than it was when it was first offered.

It's helpful to be at a book that is a leader and not a follower. A lot of books simply follow what the others are doing. At those books, it can be tougher to find a line that is offering stupendous value. When doing business with a book that gets an early jump on baseball betting lines, there will theoretically be more chances to exploit the odds to your benefit--to be rewarded for your original insight and analysis, before the line moves against you the closer it gets to game-time.

Betting Options: Not that you will want to make different kinds of bets all the time. But there will be times when you want to strike out a bit from the standard form of betting baseball, where you simply pick who will win the game. You may want to bet on the run line, where the originally-favored team needs to win by two runs, with the underdog team able to lose by one run. Or you might want to bet an alternative run line, where the originally-favored team has to win by 3 runs, with the underdog team able to lose by two runs and a bet on them still wins. In addition, you might want to bet on not one game, but rather a 3-game series, wagering on which team will win the series (win 2 or 3 out of the 3 games). You might like betting on the first 5 innings of a game. All of these can be viable bets for different games, depending on the situation. Make sure your book offers them.


Variety in Your Books: Once you find the books that fulfill some of the above standards, entertain the possibility of the maintaining an account with more than one of them. For those of us who bet before the advent of online wagering, we know how much work went into shopping for the best odds. Now, all that legwork has been reduced to a few mouse-clicks. But in order to capitalize off it, you need to be able to use multiple accounts. When doing so, you will often be able to find odds and conditions that are more favorable to the bet you are looking to make. Over time, this seemingly small edge can lead to a lot of extra money.

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