MLB Baseball Lines
Baseball betting lags behind the NFL and NBA in popularity, possibly because it is trickier for the casual gambling fan to make sense of MLB lines and odds. The sheer volume of games that each team plays (and the high number of losses incurred by even the best teams) might dissuade some bettors, but in reality the 162 game season works in favor of the gambler and goes against the house. If you really do your research and follow the swings and fortunes of specific teams and pitching rotations you can find unparalleled value in MLB odds.
But how do we make sense of MLB Lines? These are designed by Americans for
Americans so they are both simplistic and illogical at the same time. To wit:
Let us imagine that the hated New York Yankees are playing the beloved Toronto
Blue Jays and the Yankees of course are the favorite. The money line may be
Now what this means is that if you wager $140 on the Yankees you will net a profit of $100 if they win, so the Yankees are 100/140 (if Americans understood fractional betting, which they do not), or roughly 0.7 to 1.
If you want to bet on the Blue Jays you will need to wager $100 to win $120, so the Blue Jays are 120/100 in the betting or 1.2 to 1.
The lack of logic in the money line is that negative numbers represent the STAKE you need to bet in order to win $100, while positive numbers represent the PROFIT you would make if you staked $100. Would it really kill these people to show all the money lines to the same base stake of $100? Apparently it would, but what a wonderful decimal world it would be if it stated Yankees 0.7 Blue Jays 1.2.
The runline is a less popular MLB line that handicaps the favored team typically by 1.5 runs (and on rare occasions -2.5 runs) and then creates a new set of odds based on the handicap. So if the Yankees were -1.5 runs in our example above their new odds would probably be +180 and if you still wanted to bet on New York they would need to win the game by 2 runs or more in order to win the bet. The runline comes into play when one of the teams is a very big betting favorite, usually -180 or more, as baseball bettors usually baulk at odds shorter than 1/2 even though a 50% return on money is considered pretty nifty by other professional gamblers (ie: stock traders).
Other MLB odds are very easy to understand, such as MLB Totals where you are betting on whether the combined runs scored by both teams will go Over or stay Under an arbitrarily determined number set by the bookies. That number is based upon the strengths of the two starting pitchers who have to face one another, but bear in mind that starters can only get you so far in a game most of the time, and then you are thrown to the mercy of the bullpens. Relief pitchers who stock the bullpen may be defined as those hurlers who are not good enough to be starters, hence their tendency to implode at the worst moments.
A number of MLB gamblers would prefer to take the bullpen out of the equation entirely and trust themselves entirely to one starting pitcher. Hence another popular MLB line is for the score after the first 5 innings of the game. This is a separate wager one can take, and obviously the relative strengths of the opposing starting pitchers will determine the MLB odds offered for this bet.
MLB Live Lines
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