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REDSOX's avatar

How does baseball betting work?

Asked by REDSOX (8points) November 17th, 2008

Everytime I see the so-called “odds” on a major league baseball game, I am rendered incolably ignorant. What do these numbers signify?

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1 Answer

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

I am somewhat familiar with how the odds work but could never explain them, especially since I don’t bet so I found the information. I would have given a link but I don’t think the mods would appreciate a link to a betting site so here is the info I copied:

MONEY LINES (betting sides)

If you are new to betting baseball one of the first things that you will notice is that there is no point spreads involved. Betting baseball involve odds that are represented as a Money Line. Money Lines are odds expressed in terms of a dollar so if you bet a Favorite you will lay more than a dollar in order to win a dollar and if you bet an underdog you will wager a dollar to win more than a dollar. Baseball betting lines are expressed as a dollar with cents and sometimes the decimal will be used. Odds of -1.45 and -145 are the same thing. A favorite that is -145 means that you have to bet 145 to win 100. On the opposite side if one were to bet an underdog at +145 you would only have to bet 100 to win 145. So simply put the favorite is always a minus and the underdog will always be a plus.

Don’t let anyone tell you it doesn’t matter where you bet baseball. Baseball betting lines are not created equal. Smart baseball bettors will only play a “Dime Line” or a 10-cent line which offers the player the most value for their baseball gambling dollar.

In a game carrying a dime line, a minus -145 favorite would be paired with an underdog of plus +135. If that same game had a 20-cent line, the underdog would get back only +125. Ten cents on the dollar can easily add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars over the course of a baseball season. Even if you consider yourself a small bettor you should always us a sportsbook that offers a true “Dime Line”


Since the pitcher is one of the most important positions the line or odds are based largely by the starting pitchers listed. Taking this into account you have four options when betting baseball.

Listed Pitcher – A baseball bet is made on a game stating listed pitchers and both of the listed pitchers must start the game. A pitcher is determined to have made a start after he throws the opening pitch for his team. If one, or both, of the listed pitchers do not start the game, the bet has no action and the bettors money is refunded.

Specify team pitcher- A baseball bet is made placing a bet specifying just the pitcher starting for the team you are betting on. As long as the pitcher starts for the team you have bet, you have action on the game, no matter or not the opposing team’s listed pitcher starts. If the opposing team’s pitcher doesn’t start, this usually means that a new price is determined for the game.

Team Action- If you bet on a team with normal action, then the bet is good regardless of a change in starting pitchers for either team. The odds may be adjusted if there is a change in the listed pitchers.

Team action against listed pitcher- In this situation a bet can be made on a team and the bet is good regardless of whether or not the listed pitcher starts for that team as long as the listed pitcher for the other team does in fact start the game.


Baseball totals are fairly straightforward like football or basketball. The total refers to the number of runs both teams score for the entire game. This also includes extra innings if the game goes past 9 innings. Both listed pitchers must start for a total bet to have action. If one, or both, of the listed pitchers do not start, then a bet on the game total has no action, and all bets are refunded.


The run line involves a team getting 1 1/2 runs (the underdog) while the favorite must lay 1 1/2 runs. A money line is also with to the 1 1/2 runs For a favorite to win on the run line, the team must then win by 2 runs. The odds on a favorite will usually be a plus number because the team must win by at least 2 runs. The money line attached to the team getting 1 1/2 runs will usually be a minus number because the team can still lose by one run and still be a winning bet. The same rules that apply for totals apply for run lines: listed pitchers must start, and the game can not be called early.

Here is and example of a Run Line

Yankees – 1 1/2 +120 Devil Rays + 1 1/2 – 140

If you bet the Yankees would win by 2 runs or more you would win $1.20 for every $1.00 bet

If you bet that the Devil Rays would win or they can lose by less than two runs you will have to risk $1.40 for every $1.00 you want to win.

We hope that this has given you some basic knowledge for betting baseball. Simply but the two most important things are to shop around for the best odds and of pick more winners than losers.

Best of Luck – Doc’s Sports

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