MLB Odds

MLB betting odds are offered for the All-Star Game, the league playoffs, and of course, the World Series in the Fall. Understanding MLB odds is critical to mastering a betting strategy. 

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The Major League Baseball (MLB) season starts in early April. The long season offers a great opportunity to place winning bets on MLB games.

Keep an eye out for the baseball odds displayed by New Jersey sportsbooks every day over the 162-game season.

MLB Odds and Betting for Value

Understanding the MLB odds is essential when betting on MLB games for profit. The recognition of payout value given the win potential is the key to a profitable MLB season.

You need to confirm the sportsbook’s payout is in line with your analysis of the game’s outcome. There is some risk when an event’s outcome is uncertain. With an MLB wager, you need to consider if the sportsbook’s payout is in line with the risk involved.

The MLB bet types include:

  • single event wagers of teams
  • totals
  • multiple-bet parlays

The money line, the Runline, and over/under bets are common examples of single wager types in MLB games.

Each of these types can be combined into a multiple-event bet. These betting types carry some level of risk and opportunity.

An understanding of the odds of each bet type is essential to achieving your MLB profit goals.

MLB Season of Opportunities

The MLB regular season has 162 games with 30 teams. No professional sport offers more daily betting choices than Major League Baseball. This means there is plenty of opportunity for New Jersey bettors.

The MLB game volume provides a significant amount of statistical data to aid in your bet selection analysis.

The number of games and betting lines offered means you can be patient. Pick the MLB lines that offer the best payout value. There will be win and loss streaks with your selections.

The odds/payout factors involved with your bet selections affect your profit goal. This will help to maintain your bankroll over the long season.

New Jersey sportsbooks offer convenient apps that provide legal MLB betting. The 162-game season offers many MLB betting lines.  You can apply your selection technique to provide steady growth to your bankroll.

The ability to read and understand MLB odd starts with a basic look at the structure of MLB bet types.

Types of MLB Bets

When looking at MLB bet types for your profit, it is important to understand how the sportsbooks make their profit.

Sportsbooks are not in the business of picking winners to make their money. A good betting line drives 2-way action and minimizes the sportsbook’s risk of paying out more than it takes in.

The sportsbook keeps the total wagered on the losing side. It also keeps a percentage in the 5% range from the winner’s payout.

Balanced action means there is an equal amount bet on each side of an MLB game or run total. The percentage the sportsbook collects is known as the “juice” or the “vig”, short for vigorish.

For MLB bettors, profitable wagering requires a winning percentage that covers the “vig.” This is regardless of the types of bets used.

The primary bet types for MLB are the money line, run totals, and the run line.

Money Line

The types of bets for MLB are like those of other professional sports. The difference with MLB betting is the predominant use of the money line. There is no point spread type bet as very common with NFL or NBA wagers.

With money line bets, the payout is directly aligned with the odds. The amount of money you bet has a specified odds/payout amount. The payout amount is adjusted up or down, based on a bet selection of the favorite or the underdog.

Here is an example of a typical MLB money line.

Teams Pitcher Odds
312 a-NY Mets F. Jones (R) -150
313 h-Chi Cubs T. Smith (L) +135

The odds in a money line bet are directly related to the payout amount. In this example, the NY Mets are the favored team.  

Money Line Odds/Payout Example:

A bet of $150 on the favored NY Mets will return a $100 win amount, plus the original bet for a total payout of $250. 

The Cubs are the underdog in this example.

The +135 is the payout for a bet of $100.

For an accurate payout comparison to a $150 bet on the favored team, assume you bet $150 on the underdog Cubs.

With this bet on the underdog, a winning payout would be $150 x 1.35 =$202.50.

This winning amount plus the original bet of $150, results in a total payout of $352.50.

Other MLB Odds Notes

Also, note that the payouts do not total to zero.

The difference between the -150 bet on the favorite and the +135 premium for an underdog bet is the sportsbooks commission.

The sportsbooks set the betting odds/payout factors to create balanced action. Equal amounts bet on both sides, locks in the sportsbook’s commission. You need to look at a game’s betting line to evaluate how well the odds line up with your analysis.

Odds Value for Money Line

The money line is a bet on the game’s winner regardless of the final runs scored. The payout is directly aligned with each team's win probability less the vig. Sportsbooks strive to find the odds that generate 2-way action.

This often means the sportsbooks must overcompensate for the following:

  • heavy public favorites
  • a streaking team
  • pitcher coming off a great performance

This can result in a strong play on the underdog at a good price. Take a deep look at MLB underdog odds given the premium payout.

Run Totals

MLB run total bets are like point totals used with other professional sports bets. The sportsbook puts up a betting line on the expected combined run total of both teams. This totals bet is also referred to as an over/under bet and is a very common MLB bet option.

Here is an example of a typical MLB over/under bet. Sportsbooks often list the over/under odds as an extension of the money line listing with the same rotation number.

# Teams Pitcher Over/Under Odds
312 a-NY Mets F. Jones (R) 8.5 -110
313 h-Chi Cubs T. Smith (L) 8.5 -110

An MLB run total bet is a wager on the combined runs of both teams in a single game. This is regardless of the number of innings played.

The sportsbook puts up a total line that will generate balanced action. There will be a group of MLB bettors that expects great starting pitching and few runs scored. They would take the under.

Others might see an opportunity for higher than expected run-scoring by both teams.

Odds Value for Run Totals

This is a bet on the combined runs scored by both teams, not the game’s winner.

This type of bet requires the comparative analysis of:

  • the relative pitching strength versus batting
  • the run-scoring ability of both teams

Analyzing these will help in developing a probable run total outcome for the game.

The odds here usually start at a “sportsbook even” of -110. This means the odds are balanced for either the over or under outcome, and the payout is even money less the “vig”.

A winning bet of $110 on the over/under in this example returns $100 plus the original bet of $110 for a total payout of $210.

MLB Runline

The Runline is as close as you get to a spread type bet with MLB betting. The sportsbooks set a run target, most often the target is 1.5 runs. This means you can choose to take the 1.5 with the underdog or bet the favorite and lay the 1.5.

# Teams Pitcher Runline Odds
312 a-NY Mets F. Jones (R) -1.5 -110
313 h-Chi Cubs T. Smith (L) +1.5 -110

An MLB bettor would compare the odds/payout of a straight-up win on the money line with more favorable odds/payout of the Runline.

In this example, the odds/payout of -110 requires the favorite team to win by 2 runs or more. The underdog Runline bet will receive a lower payout than the money line bet.  However, the underdog Runline is protected in the event of a one-run loss. An additional 1.5 runs would be added to the underdogs final run total.

Odds Value for the Runline

This type of bet requires the comparative analysis of:

the relative pitching strength versus the run-scoring ability of both teams.

A bet on the favored team must cover the Runline. An underdog bet needs to win outright or stay within the Runline. The odds/payout analysis looks at the game’s probable run-scoring difference. A winning bet of $110 on the Runline in this example returns $100 plus the original bet of $110 for a total payout of $210.

Odds/Payout for Parlay Bets

The odds determine the payout for a winning single MLB event (game or total). The various MLB bet types can also combine for a multiple-team bet. You can create a bet comprised of multiple-team selections, and/or teams and point totals.

For example, let's say you have developed an analysis. Your analysis indicates a team's strong pitching advantage. It also shows that they struggle to score runs. This may create a betting edge situation. You might see value in betting the team to win and the combined run total to go “under” on a parlay bet.

For MLB parlay bets, the principle of joint probability applies. This means the odds of each individual bet are multiplied together for a combined payout amount.

With parlay bets, this combined betting approach can provide a significant profit over a series of single bets. Each of the bets on the parlay must win to collect.

A parlay bet can significantly increase your payout, but with much greater risk of loss.

Here is an example of the Odds/Payout on an MLB Parlay bet of $150. In this example, we have added the underdog St. Louis Cardinals to our Mets win and over bet examples from above.

# Teams Pitcher Over/Under Odds
312 a-NY Mets F. Jones (R)   -150
  a-NY Mets F. Jones (R) 8.5 -110
320 h-STL. Cards T. Smith (L)   +135

Calculate the payout. Multiply the $150 bet and the initial total payout of $250 through a series of successive wins as follows:                             

In this parlay example, a 3-event bet of $150 pays a total 0f $534.09. MLB parlay bets can boost your profits, but there is far more risk than betting these 3 events. If there is a single loss on the parlay, the return is zero. 

Implied Odds

A basic probability example can assist with the concept of implied odds. Implied odds can help you to understand the minimum win rate you need to maintain over the MLB season.

For example, odds of -150 has an implied odds percentage of 60%. This is calculated by the bet amount of $150 divided by the payout $250.

150 divided by 250 = 60%

Implied odds of 60% requires that you win 6 of 10 MLB bets just to break even. See this illustrated further in this simple 10 bet example, where 6 of 10 wins is break-even:         

Let’s return to our example of a typical MLB money line.

# Teams Pitcher Odds
312 a-NY Mets F. Jones (R) -150
313 h-Chi Cubs T. Smith (L) +135

To avoid a loss, your MLB game day analysis must win a minimum of 6 games out of 10, when the money line odds are -150. The implied odds for a +135 odds bet the underdog Cubs are 42.5%. This means you only need to win a minimum of 4.25 games out of 10 to avoid a hit to your bankroll. 

These examples explain the odds/payout options over an extended betting period.

These are numbers to aid in understanding odds as you select MLB bets over the season. This is not to suggest you should always bet underdogs, but to aid in risk/reward analysis.

Let's say your analysis indicates that a run performance matchup would result in a Mets win 70% over time. In this case, the money line odds of -150 is a good bet.

Let's say your analysis indicates a likely win result in less than 60% over time. In this case, the money line odds of +135 on the underdog Cubs is the better option. 

Finding the Best MLB Odds

An improvement in the betting odds can generate greater profit amounts. This is clear from the payout calculation examples above.

If you can get the Mets game with -145 odds versus -150, you are putting less money at risk. This 3.3% difference can be significant in maintaining your bank roll over the MLB season.

In the simple examples above, the odds were represented as the most common and fixed. In reality, odds can fluctuate around the opening line a sportsbook puts out.

Not all sportsbooks have the same opening odds while betting patterns can move the odds slightly.

It pays to shop around. The online availability of New Jersey sportsbooks helps. Mobile apps can provide a way to do a virtual shopping trip for MLB odds. There are more than a dozen New Jersey mobile apps that allow you to scan the day’s MLB betting lines. It is a good idea to sign-up for 3 or 4 different mobile betting sites to find the best odds.

To achieve profitable betting for MLB games one must get a comparative analysis of:

  • starting pitching
  • run performance
  • bullpen strength
  • home and away analysis

When betting on MLB games, you must be prepared when an odds/value opportunity presents itself. New Jersey sportsbook apps are the key to spotting the best MLB odds.

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Sacha

6 March 2020

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