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MLB Odds & Lines
Many North American sports bettors take the summer off but that can be a mistake. Baseball betting offers one of the best opportunities for profit of any sport. One of the great things about baseball betting is the sheer number of wagering opportunities. With each team playing 162 games a year there are a mind boggling number of betting propositions every season. Just considering the basic MLB odds which include sides and total plays on each game, there are nearly 5000 wagering opportunities over the course of the season. That number doesn’t include the many other MLB lines posted by sportsbooks including runline plays, series wagers (which are offered by a growing number of books), futures bets, over/under season win totals, etc.
The overwhelming majority of profitable sports bettors are “grinders”—they focus more on grinding out small profits that add up over the long term rather than trying to make a big killing. There are exceptions, of course, but this is the way that most serious professionals approach sports wagering. Baseball is simply a great sport for grinding out small profits day after day and week after week for a number of reasons. Part of this is the nature of MLB lines—they are based on moneyline odds. Also important is the sheer number of wagering opportunities, and the ability to turn a profit while winning less than 50% of your wagers by betting underdogs. Considering that the best teams lose 1/3 of their games, and the worst teams win a third of theirs it is clear that there are ample opportunities to find value for the astute baseball handicapper.
For many baseball bettors betting underdogs at 'plus money' MLB lines can be a successful strategy. As noted above, the best teams lose at least sixty games a year and the worst teams win about the same number. The rest of the league falls somewhere in the middle. Now consider the fact that the more favorite baseball lines you bet, the higher your breakeven percentage that you need to win to make money.
Another important concept to remember is the relative unimportance of home field advantage. Of all major sports, there may be less intrinsic advantage to playing at home in baseball than in any other yet linesmakers always factor home field advantage into MLB odds. This is particularly true during the regular season. Granted there are teams that do better in certain ballparks than others, but this is more a function of the design of the ballpark and the personnel of the team than any sort of “home field advantage”.