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Finding Line Value in Major League Baseball Moneylines
Everyday, until the end of October, Major League Baseball will be in our lives. All major league baseball teams play a 162 game schedule, half of the games at home, half on the road, then the playoffs start. The only break in the season-long grind comes with the All-Star break in July. Otherwise, every team is in action almost every single day. Baseball happens every single day.
Here in Nevada, we have a choice in sportsbooks and can shop for line value. In other states, like New Jersey, you are currently limited to FanDuel and Draft Kings. There will likely be more competition coming, which hopefully will bring with it better, more competitive lines. Let’s take a look at a couple Nevada moneylines offered April 15, 2019.
Ideally, when betting baseball, we want to find a “dime line,” or even better. A dime line is simply 10 cents difference between the favorite and the underdog. I have excerpted two lines from April 15 shown on the Vegas Insider website.
In the example above, I have used the matchup between 907 Cincinnati Reds and 908 LA Dodgers. The Reds are starting Luis Castillo, a righty (denoted – R) and Clayton Kershaw, a lefty (denoted – L) gets his first start of the season with the Dodgers. You will recall, Kershaw was unable to go in spring training, even though he had been off since November 2018. I wrote about his situation in an earlier blog article, which is one of the reasons I am following up with this, today.
If you intend to bet this stuff, and win, you absolutely must get the best numbers – starting with the dime line. Above, we have two examples – Westgate and William Hill are offering dime lines – 10 cents difference between the favorite and dog. Note, these are full game lines. First five inning lines will also be dime lines at these books but may be a little shorter. I bet at William Hill today, and got 907 +148 full game, and +140 for the first five full innings. The corresponding dime line for the Dodgers first five would be -150.
In this same example, Wynn LV and Stations are hanging 15 cent lines. MGM Mirage (actually all MGM sportsbooks) is hanging a 20-cent line. CG Technology is offering a 13 cent line…I guess just to be different.
So, which book is offering the best value? It depends on which side you are betting. If betting the Reds, the best value, in this example, is at Westgate Superbook and CG, as both were offering +152 for the full game, at the time I excerpted this information and put together this article. However, if you wanted the favorite, William Hill was offering the best value at -158.
I went to a William Hill book today to bet a couple futures and did not have time to go to Westgate or any of the CG books. But, if I wanted to get the best value, and I try to with every single bet, I should have taken the time to visit the Superbook.
The worst line you could have bet, if you were betting the Dodgers, would be the 20-cent line at MGM at -170. However, if betting the Reds +150, this line offered value, when compared to William Hill at +148.
Getting back to Kershaw and betting baseball in general, betting baseball, for me, is completely situational. I am not smart enough to handicap every single game, every single day and find value in every single game. I look for situations. Kershaw may well be fully recovered. But he may well not be. He sat out spring training and has been absent the first three weeks of the regular season. Meanwhile, the guys he’s going to be throwing to have been active all spring and every game of the early season. They have seen plenty of pitches, by this point in the new season. And in strolls Kershaw.
It is my opinion, Kershaw has been made a big favorite on name recognition, alone. The gamblers and guessers will look at the sheets, or look up at the board, see the name Kershaw at less than -200 and think they have stumbled upon outrageous fortune. I’m betting Kershaw is not quite ready to go, in this situation and have bet it accordingly. We will see what happens!
Here’s another situation you should be aware of. As the moneylines increase, the difference between the favorite and underdog moneylines will likewise increase. This is done for a couple reasons – 1] to increase sportsbook profits, and 2] to guard against the possibility of a scalp. A scalp is finding a game that offers a profit when both sides are bet. We will save that topic for another time.
Again, I have excerpted real live moneylines from the Vegas Insider site for the early game played today in Boston. As I write this, I know the outcome of the contest. Take a look at the above moneylines. The dime line has gone away, as there is not a 10-cent difference between the two sides. The “Open” suggests there was a 20-cent difference somewhere, but probably not in the brick and mortar world, or even the land-based betting app world.
Scanning the offerings, we see the smallest difference between the favorite and the dog is 30-cents, available at Westgate and William Hill. BetOnline suggests a 20-cent difference, but that can only be BetOnline, as the name suggests, as this is an offshore, internet book.
Stations offered the absolute worst line, with a full 45-cent difference. But that’s kind of a qualitative statement. If you want the underdog Orioles, you can get +220. But betting the favorite at -270 is a total rip-off, when compared to William Hill offering -250.
Overall, if betting the underdog Baltimore Orioles, the +230 line at Westgate offered the best value. And the Boston Red Sox -270 at Stations offered the worst value. I did not bet this game but would have loved being on the Orioles – who pounded the big favorites – by a final score of 8 to 1.
Line shopping is made easier by searching around on the interwebs. The free sites I am aware of – and utilize – offer real-time, accurate line data. I do not pay for this information. You certainly can if you want but understand that there may be no real value in doing so. Before signing up for a package, be sure you understand what you are paying for – and what you are getting.
The real value in betting baseball situations is finding and betting the best moneylines. A few cents difference, either way, adds up to a considerable difference over the course of a 162 game regular season. Be sure you are always getting the best of it!