Betting Baseball

As a professional handicapper it always amazes me that the public wants to bet football and then when football is over they take their wins and losses and wait for the next football season to come. While I’ll be the first to admit football is king with the betting public, you will have to admit that football is king with the sports books. This is because football is where the sports books make a killing. In my opinion the NFL is the hardest game to handicap and the sports books make big money on the NFL.


In continuing our series on Profit Year Round, let’s look at two of the most over looked sports that will allow you to build a bankroll for your football season. Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Hockey League (NHL). These overlooked sports offer a wide range of play and tons of opportunity to turn a profit. I believe the main reason these sports are overlooked is that the general pubic just does not understands how to bet baseball. Let’s look a baseball first, then hockey, and later we will look at NASCAR and golf.


The First Big Difference – Betting MONEYLINES


Everyone knows the term Against The Spread (ATS) as when you bet a basketball or football game you either get points or give points and you must win ATS. In baseball you bet the moneyline. This is actually simple as all you have to do is pick the winner, since there is not a point spread the price on the favorite is adjusted up or down. Let’s look at a quick example:


LA Dodgers -150

Chicago Cubs +130


If you bet 100.00 on the Cubs, you win 130.00. To win 100.00 on the Dodgers you need to bet 150.00. This can be tricky, especially to someone new in baseball betting and if you think that betting favorites every time will make you money. If you bet a game at -200 and lose, you need to win two more games to just break even. Underdogs provide a great value to us in baseball. When betting a favorite I recommend staying under the -150 money line. As a professional capper, I will never release a game over -170. It is just not worth the risk. Remember a “great” season for a baseball team is a 100 win season. That also means the team will lose 62 games. Baseball is a 162 game season and the best of the best will lose almost 40% of their games.



Totals Over/Under


Baseball also provides us with an opportunity to play a baseball game over or under a posted total. This type of bet is just like any of the total plays you might have played in football. If the Over/Under is set at 9 ½ then anything under 9 runs loses and anything over 10 runs wins. Playing totals in baseball is advantageous as pitchers have a history of pitching well against some teams and pitching badly against other teams. Pitchers also have their favorite ball parks which they pitch well in and they have ball parks where they struggle. Let’s look at a free baseball pick released earlier this year on this very site as an example.


We played the over 10 runs in a game at Fenway Park. The pitcher for Boston had a career ERA of over 6 runs against the Toronto Blue Jays. Now the pitcher for Toronto had a low career ERA but when he pitched at Fenway his ERA ballooned. In this case, we were able to look at the two main factors to predict the outcome. First one pitcher struggled against the opponent and the second pitcher struggled in the ball park that they were playing in. Sometimes the location of the game has as much bearing on the total score as the teams playing in the game. In case you are curious, the game ended up scoring a total of 12 runs and the total runs went over in the bottom of the 6th inning.





Runlines in baseball work just like point spreads in football and the runline is always set at 1 ½. This gives you the opportunity to take the favorite – 1 ½ runs or the underdog + 1 ½ runs. I can speak from experience the fastest way to lose money in baseball is betting on big favorites all the time and betting on run lines all the time. Remember around 20% of the games in MLB finish in one run games. Betting run lines can be effective if used at the right time and used sparingly. Let’s look at an example of a run line and when you might use the run line to you advantage.


Let’s say that the best pitcher in baseball is pitching against the worst pitcher in baseball. The lines could look something like this:


NY Yankees -250 -1 ½ -150

Detroit Tigers +200 +1 ½ +100


If you take NY on the money line you would have to play 250.00 to win 100.00 but if you played NY on the run line you would only have to bet 150.00 to win 100.00. The Yankees would have to win by 2 runs or more for you to win your wager.



Handicapping Baseball


Starting Pitchers

The major difference in handicapping baseball is the starting pitchers for both teams. This is the place to start when handicapping a game as no other individual on the team will have a bigger impact to the outcome of the game.


Relief Pitchers

This gets overlooked sometimes but pay attention to the bullpens and how the bullpens have been used in the previous couple games. If the bullpen has been used heavily a couple days in a row, you can bet that a late inning rally is coming against that bullpen. It is not a coincidence that the top 4 of the 5 earners in baseball last year also has the best ERA coming out of the bullpen.



As we pointed out earlier, make sure to pay attention to where the game is being played. You have heard the term a hitter’s Ball Park or a pitchers ball park? It is called that because it is true as some baseball parks set better for pitching and some set up better for hitting.


We have covered the basics for baseball betting and if you follow a few simple rules to start out with you’ll be building a bankroll for your next football season.


1 – Do not play on big favorites; start out by limiting your favorite to -140

2 – Look for teams that can and do win on the road

3 - Look for pitching mismatches

4 – Play the over/unders too

5 – Limit the number of run line games you play

6 – Don’t be afraid to play an underdog, underdogs are good bets in baseball

7 – Shop for the best price at different sportsbooks