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How to Bet Baseball

3 July 2010

Baseball season is here and with it comes numerous opportunities to bet on your favorite team. Smart sports bettors make more profits wagering on baseball than any other sport. This is because there are so many games to choose from every day from April to October. The wagers on baseball are based on a money line rather than a point spread. The money line is set based on the starting pitchers for each team. Here is what you need to know to bet a baseball game.

The Money Line

Betting on baseball is different than betting on football. Since many games are decided by a run or two, it is not practical to have a spread as they do in football. Instead the Sportsbooks use a money line for betting baseball. The money line is also used for other sporting events as well.

The money line determines the amount of money laid and the amount of money won when wagering on either the favorite or the underdog. The highest negative money line determines the favorite team, and the lowest negative money line and all positive money lines determine the underdog. The most common case is the favorite with a negative line and the underdog with a positive one. The money line is listed based on $100 bet. The money line may look confusing to the novice player betting on baseball for the fist time, but it is really easy to figure out.

Example of the Money Line

The Yankees are playing the Red Sox and the Yankees are the favorite. The money line may be listed as:

Yankees -140
Red Sox +120

In this example, if you wanted to bet on the Yankees, who are the favorites, you would be putting up $140. If you win, you collect $240, giving you $100 profit. In other words, you risk $140 to make $100.

If you wanted to take the underdog Red Sox, you would bet $100 and collect $220 if you won. This means that you risk $100 to make $120.

The Vig

The Sportsbooks make their money on sports bets by collecting a commission on every bet made. This is called the Vigorish, or Vig for short. The Vig is the difference between what is wagered and what is won. In baseball betting the Sportsbooks make their money when the favorite team loses. In the example above, if the Yankees lost, the sportsbook would make $20. They are collecting $140 for the losing bet but only paying out $120 for the winning bet. The sportsbook will adjust the line if one team is heavily favored to make it more enticing to bet the underdog.

Pitching Matters

In baseball the pitchers are the key to the game. The money line in baseball is made based on the starting pitchers for the games. In the event of a pitching change before the game and an unscheduled pitcher starts, the money line may be adjusted. You can bet a baseball game several ways depending on the pitching. In the Yankee Red Sox game listed in the above example, let's say that the money line was made based on Randy Johnson pitching for the Yankees and Tim Wakefield pitching for the Red Sox.

You can bet the game as "action," which means that the bet is live no matter if the pitchers are changed before the game or not. If there is an unscheduled pitching change the payout may be different than the odds posted for the starting money line, but the bet is still active.

You can bet a baseball game based on both of the starting pitchers listed when you make your bet. In the event that one of the pitchers, either Johnson or Wakefield, does not start the game, your bet will be voided and your original wager will be returned.

You can also bet a baseball game based on a pitcher for one team. If, for example, you wanted to bet on the Yankees with Burnett pitching and you did not care who the Red Sox were starting, then your bet would be active as long as Burnett started for the Yankees.

The Run Line

The run line is used in baseball when one team is a big favorite. A number of runs such as 1½ or 2 is subtracted from the score of the favorite team. This is similar to the point spread in football. However, most of the times if you bet on the run line the favorite becomes the underdog. In the example above, the Yankees were -140 if you bet them on the money line but they are +110 if you bet them -1½ runs. If the Yankees win by only one run, you lose the bet.

Ask Questions

In the United States sports betting is only legal in the state of Nevada, but more wagering is done on sporting events than any other form of gambling. Make sure you understand the bets you are making. If you are placing a bet at any of the sportsbooks in the casinos in Nevada, you can ask questions from any of the employees. They will be happy to help you out and explain any bets to you.

Use a Handicapping Service

If you are not certain how to handicap the games or just don't want to spend the time to do it yourself, you can always enlist the services of a reputable handicapping professional. There are many reputable services that can help you select the winners. For full and fair disclosure I am associated with Dominator's Golden Touch Sports Service, http://www.goldentouchcraps.com/SportsService/
Bill Burton
Bill Burton is a gambling expert and best-selling author of Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold'em and 1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets. He is the former Casino Gambling columnist for About.com.

Burton's Texas Holdem book was published in 2002 long before the game became a national phenomenon. The producers of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown used his book during the first season to teach the game to the participants.

He writes for several national gaming magazines and newsletters. These publications include: Casino Player, Strictly Slots, The Southern California Gaming Guide, Midwest Gaming and Travel magazine, Southern Gaming and Destinations magazine, Midwest Player and Blackjack Insider.

Burton is an instructor for the Golden Touch Craps dice control seminars teaching players how to gain the advantage in craps. He is an expert at all casino games and can teach players how to play any casino game as well as offering them advice to get the most out of their casino visits.

Bill Burton Websites:

www.billburton.com
www.goldentouchcraps.com

Books by Bill Burton:

> More Books By Bill Burton

Bill Burton
Bill Burton is a gambling expert and best-selling author of Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold'em and 1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets. He is the former Casino Gambling columnist for About.com.

Burton's Texas Holdem book was published in 2002 long before the game became a national phenomenon. The producers of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown used his book during the first season to teach the game to the participants.

He writes for several national gaming magazines and newsletters. These publications include: Casino Player, Strictly Slots, The Southern California Gaming Guide, Midwest Gaming and Travel magazine, Southern Gaming and Destinations magazine, Midwest Player and Blackjack Insider.

Burton is an instructor for the Golden Touch Craps dice control seminars teaching players how to gain the advantage in craps. He is an expert at all casino games and can teach players how to play any casino game as well as offering them advice to get the most out of their casino visits.

Bill Burton Websites:

www.billburton.com
www.goldentouchcraps.com

Books by Bill Burton:

> More Books By Bill Burton