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Baseball Straight Bets

Baseball Betting: Straight Bets

By Loot, MLB Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Straight betting is the most common form of wagering in Major League Baseball. It’s the most common form of betting in all sports, where you pick one of two teams playing to win the game. In baseball wagering, unlike basketball and football wagering (the two other heavily bet USA team sports), you just have to pick the winner. In basketball or football, you have to pick who will “cover the spread.” In baseball straight betting, there is no such concern. We just pick the winner and pay or receive odds to do so.

Straight betting is the bread-and-butter of all top sports bettors. In addition, the juice is not as much of an issue as it is when you make more extravagant wagers. Add in the built-in appeal of being able to pick a team to simply win a game and it’s really one of the best routes to take in the world of baseball wagering.

Straight baseball wagering revolves around the money line. Rather than a spread, where a team has to win or not lose by a certain number of points, we are working with odds. The odds are expressed on a money line, using plus and minus signs to show who the favorite or underdog is.

A plus sign (+) always indicates an underdog. A minus sign (-) always indicates a favorite. Next to the plus or minus sign will be a number that expresses the odds. For the neophyte bettor, this might seem confusing. You will rapidly reach the point, however, where you will wonder why you ever thought it was hard.

Examples can help quickly bring things to light, so let’s use one. Let's say the Pittsburgh Pirates are on the road facing the Philadelphia Phillies. Here are the odds:

Pittsburgh Pirates (+140)
Philadelphia Phillies (-160)

The above is what you’re dealing with when making a straight bet--two teams, with each given a set of odds where one is a favorite and one is an underdog. We know now that the (+) is always the underdog, which is the Pirates, meaning the Phillies are the favorite.

Remember this and lock it in: A plus sign (+140) means that’s how much you win if you were to bet (risk) $100. The minus sign (-160) is how much you have to bet in order to win $100. The money line is expressed revolving around a $100 wager--to make it easier to understand. However, you can bet whatever amount you wish.

If you bet $100 on the Pirates and they win, you collect a win of $140, in addition to your receiving your wager (risked amount) back. In other words, if you have a winning $100 wager on the Pirates, you will cash it in for $240, $140 of which is profit.

To make $100 on a favored team, you have to bet the exact amount that is expressed on the money line. The Phillies are -160, meaning you need to wager $160 in order to win $100. A winning $160 wager on the Phillies would mean you collect $260 if they win--$100 of which will be profit.

To figure how much you would need to bet to win a different amount, just reduce it proportionally. If you need to bet $160 on the Phillies to win $100, you would bet $80 to win $50, $40 to win $25, or $20 to win $12.50 or for micro-bettors you'd lay $1.60 for every $1.00 that you're trying to win.

The same applies to betting the underdog, naturally. To win $140, you bet $100. So just break it down. A $50 winning bet would yield $70 in winnings, a $25 winning bet would yield $35, and so on.

A few points about straight baseball wagering. While the overall quality and record of the teams is a major factor, the identity of the starting pitchers plays a really big role in driving the odds. The Pittsburgh-Philly example was one where the favorite was not that big of a favorite. It’s not uncommon to see a team with an ace on the mound in the -300 range, meaning you have to wager $300 for every $100 you hope to win.

Look for good prices. A “dime-line” is most desirable. That’s when the odds are only separated by 10. The Pittsburgh-Philadelphia example (+140 to -160) is a 20-cent line, more standard in baseball betting. Securing dime-line straight baseball wagering would make that line something like Pittsburgh +150/Philadelphia -160. Over time, a dime-line can make a pretty big difference to your bankroll.

A GREAT online sportsbook offering dimelines (up to -191 odds) is 5Dimes. They're a "must have" for those who bet on foots/hoops as well, as they offer -105 odds. (Most bookies force you to pay -110.)

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