The 2015 MLB season will be here before you know it, and to help you get ready, we've got a basic overview of the most common baseball betting terms you will come across.
For those that are new to the world of handicapping and want a rundown of the rudimentary principles and terms, you've come to the right place
We start with the most common terms out there in the world of baseball, which is the money line.
This is the term you will see most, and it essentially encompasses simply picking one team to win. If, for example, you're picking the St. Louis Cardinals to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, you would be selecting them on the money line. It doesn't matter if they were to win by one run or 15. If St. Louis gets the win, so do you.
Delving deeper, there is a number that is attached to each participating team in every posted MLB game. Here's an example:
St. Louis Cardinals (-138)
Arizona Diamondbacks (+125)
What do the numbers represent? The minus (-) shows you which team is favored in a particular matchup, while the plus (+) signifies the underdog. Taking the above example, with the Cardinals at -138, you would have to wager $138 to win $100. If you took action on the Diamondbacks at +125, you would get a return of $125 for every $100 spent. Make sense?
Now, you don't have to wager $100, but we're using that a baseline to show you the simplicities of the system. You're free to bet whatever amount you feel comfortable with. But, remember that proper bankroll management is key to having success in the handicapping world.
The Run Line
Ever heard of a point spread for sports like basketball and football? Well, run lines in MLB are similar.
Whereas you're simply picking a team to win, regardless of by how much, with money lines, run lines factor in a margin of victory. A 1.5-point spread is introduced in MLB run-line betting and is the most common run-line option, though you can take even more risks and roll with 2.5-point run-lines, etc. if you so choose.
What does that mean, exactly? Well, taking our previous example into consideration, the Cardinals may have -1.5 (+115) listed by their name on the menu. If you think they have a great chance of winning by at least two runs, you can pick them on the run-line. If they win 5-3, you win, but if they win 5-4, you lose. If they lose straight up, you obviously lose.
Conversely, if you believe the better value lies with the Diamondbacks and think they will lose by less than two runs or even win straight up, you would pick them on the run-line at the plus price. On the menu, it would show Diamondbacks with a +1.5 (-130) on the menu, as an example. If Arizona loses 5-3, you lose, but if they lose 5-4, you win. If they win straight up, you obviously win.
To wrap up our basic overview of MLB betting value, we'll go over totals, which are exactly the same as in every other major sport.
If the total of the St. Louis/Arizona game is at 8 runs, you can either bet on the final score (both teams combined) to end up below eight (or UNDER), or you can bank on more than eight runs being scored, or as it's simply known: the OVER.
Total betting can be useful when you're not confident in either side when thinking about making a money line or run-line play. If you feel better about one team in particular, you can also wager on team totals.