A big part of the thrill of football is how simple it is to bet on a game.
Casual fans understand the way the points spread works.
Unfortunately, there’s no traditional points spread in baseball, so betting on baseball can be a bit more complicated.
Luckily for all you gamblers out there looking for something to do this summer, we’re here to answer all of your questions.
If there’s no points spread, what is used instead?
Well, there’s the traditional money line, where one team is favoured over the other and you simply bet on who’s going to win the game.
As well as the over under on total runs scored in a game.
OK. That makes sense, every other sport has these options. What’s the big deal?
Baseball betting also includes something called the “run line.”
In simple terms the run line is the amount of runs a team will beat the other by. The vast majority of baseball games have a run line of 1.5, with the favourite listed as -1.5 and the underdog as +1.5 (just like the points spread in football). A run line of 2.5 is used on the rare occasion.
The run line works similarly to the points spread. For example, if the run line is
New York Yankees (-1.5) vs. Oakland Athletics (+1.5)
And you bet on the favoured Yankees, you win the bet if the the total runs scored by the Yankees minus the run line of 1.5 is greater than the Athletics’ total runs scored.
It’s the flip side of that scenario if you bet on the underdog A’s.
I’m with you so far. The run line is just like the points spread, but applied to baseball. I don’t like that nearly constant 1.5 run line. It makes it far less interesting than football. Why bother?
Baseball betting combines its run line with the money line, so that Yanks vs. A’s game would look something more like this
New York Yankees (-1.5, +110) vs. Oakland Athletics (+1.5, -130)
If you bet on the favoured Yanks to win the game, you would need to bet $110 to win $100. You ALSO need the Yankees’ run total minus the 1.5 run line to be greater than Oakland’s in order to win.
Flip things around and you get a winning scenario with the underdog A’s.
Oh, I think I get it. So if I bet on the A’s I may be risking more money ($130 to win $100), but I’m getting those 1.5 runs too?
Nice. Well, this can be a lot of fun if you pick mostly underdogs in games that due to lineup/pitcher matchups may not have a clear underdog.
Ah, you’re hooked. Anything else?
Prop bets are fun and baseball is a smorgasbord of stats. Are those popular?
Yup. Here are a few over/unders we like:
- Chipper Jones 14.5 home runs — bet the under, he’s DONE
- Miguel Cabrera 112.5 RBI — bet the over, Prince Fielder will make the Detroit Tigers’ lineup even more formidable
- Jose Reyes 100.5 runs scored — bet the over, have you seen how big Marlins Park is? He’ll be standing at third with a triple plenty of times
- Stephen Strasburg 180.5 strikeouts — bet the under, he’s on a 160 innings cap this year
Adding to the excitement, baseball prop bets change daily like which team will score first or pitting one player against another to see who will have more home runs or hits in a particular game.
Awesome. I’m going to make a ton of money over the next few months.
Eh, odds makers still know best. Regardless, enjoy!
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