Understanding baseball betting is easy once you get the hang of how to read the odds. We’ll be the first to admit that at first glance when you see lines posted like -240 and +220 it can be a bit confusing.
Unlike football and basketball, baseball bets are made using moneylines, not point spreads. This may lead one to believe that baseball is an easier sport to wager on since you only have to pick the winner. In some ways baseball is easy to win at, however it has nothing to do with their not being a spread.
Getting back to spreads, since there isn’t one, odds are applied to each team which are theoretically applied relative to the team’s chances of winning. We’ll give an example below:
Here’s a line you may see at the sportsbooks:
Chicago Cubs +180
Boston Red Sox -200
In the example above, the team with the (+) next to their name is the underdog. The team with the (-) is the favorite. It should also be noted that almost all the time, the team listed on the top is the road team and the bottom team is the home team.
Baseball odds are always associated with $100. For an underdog, the odds or “price” shows you what you’d profit for a standard $100 bet. For the favorite, it’s showing you what you’d have to RISK to profit $100. It should be noted that you of course get your risked amount back as well on a winning wager.
Once you have selected which team you’d like to bet on, you will likely be asked to select “listed pitchers” or “action.”. If you select listed pitchers, both pitchers must start and throw at least one pitch in order for this bet to be considered “action” (a working bet.)
If you select action, the game is an official bet no matter who takes the hill for either team. Be careful with this. Often times pitching changes happen right before a game and if you took action, your stuck with a starter that you may not have otherwise bet on!
Some other notes of interest:
Baseball is the easiest sport to profit from. The reason for this is because underdogs pay more than you risk to be them. This gives you the unique opportunity to hit less than 50% and still turn a profit. It’s a grind, but very easy for an astute baseball bettor to take advantage of if he exercises the “3 P’s” (Prices, Patience and Perseverance) as not just any underdog is going to be a winner.