Unlike football and basketball, where the the majority of bets placed are on the spread, baseball bettors will primarily make their plays on the moneyline. The main objective in baseball is picking which team will win the game, but a high winning percentage doesn’t guarantee a profit at the end of the season.
One of the common mistakes that is made when betting baseball is consistently betting big favorites. On just about any given day during the MLB season, there will be at least one team that is listed at -180 or higher on the money line. These teams almost always have a clear advantage on the mound and the better team overall on paper. While betting on big favorites may seem like a strong play at first, if this is the only play you make you are going to have a hard time making a profit.
When betting the spread in football and basketball, you almost always are laying juice of -110 regardless of what side you are on. That means you have to win at least 53% of your bets to show a profit. In baseball, if you bet on a team at -200 you have to win 66.7% of your plays to just break even. That might seem like an easy task, but with the parity and the way teams get hot and cold over the course of a season, it’s a lot harder to hit at a high rate than you might think.
While I’m not saying that you should simply avoid betting on all big favorites in baseball, you better have a very good reason for laying that much juice. A lot of betting experts will actually look to take more underdogs than they will big favorites. While their winning percentages won’t be high, you could very easily go 48% on the year and end up making a very nice profit by just betting dogs.
If you are stuck on betting big favorites, here are a couple things you can do to help you end the year with some extra cash in the bank:
One thing a lot a of people like to do when they like a big favorite is to take them on the run line instead of the money line. In baseball, the run line is 1.5 for every game, with the favorite always listed at -1.5 and the underdog at +1.5. Instead of simply picking a favorite to win the game outright, you are giving the underdog 1.5 runs and banking on the fact that the better team will win by at least 2 runs. While you now need the favorite to win by more than one run, you no longer have to worry about laying huge juice. Many times you will see a favorite at -200 on the money line go all the way down to -110 or better on the run line.
Another strategy that I have found worth noting is taking big favorites in a revenge game where they lost to the same team the previous day as a big favorite. Teams who upset a big favorite are more likely to not come to the field with the same intensity and focus than if they were coming into a game trying to prove they had what it takes to beat the best. This trend is of the most value when it involves two teams who are not in the same division, as teams within a division tend to come to play regardless of how the previous game went.