Understanding the Baseball Money Line

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Jeffrey | Poker Articles, Sports and Fantasy betting

Submitted by Alex, this article belongs to the Sports and Fantasy betting series.

Alex is a fantasy betting expert (compared to me at least) who has recently joined forces with one of the top fantasy betting sites, namely FanDuel. Alex has been kind enough to write some general sports and fantasy betting articles.

In fantasy betting your opponents are other sports bettors and the format resembles the SNG (Sit and Go)  and MTT (Multi Table Tournament) formats found on poker sites.  Briefly, the object of fantasy betting competitions  is to pick a team of players within a certain sport given certain restrictions (usually an overall salary cap). Depending on your player’s performances during the games played, you score points counting towards your overall placement in the competition.

Most betting on baseball uses the money line rather than a point spread.  That means that you’re betting on who will win the game, not on how much they’ll win by.  Typically the odds will be listed for both teams in a game.  They’ll appear something like this:  Yankees – 200, Blue Jays +180.  That means that you’ll have to bet $200 to win $100 on the Yankees (if they win), while you’d only have to bet $100 to win $180 on the Blue Jays (if they win).

The casino makes it’s money on ‘the vigorish (vig)’.  That’s the difference in the odds on each side.  By balancing the amount of money bet on each side, the sportsbook can ensure that they’ll make a profit no matter what the outcome of the sporting event.  The initial line created by the sportsbook is based on what they anticipate the public perception of the event’s likely outcome to be.  As people begin to bet, they may move the line in an attempt to balance out the betting on each side.  Ultimately, this results in the closing line being the most accurate predictor of the event’s outcome, and the entire sports betting market being quite efficient.  All it take is one really sharp gambler with a large bankroll, and most of the potential profit for everyone else disappears from the market, as the line at the sportsbook will move to the ‘correct’ point.

A far less efficient (and more exploitable) market is the daily fantasy sports market.  These games are similar to sports betting in the sense that you’re making a wager on the outcome of sports events, and winning (or losing) that day, based on the result.  However, instead of betting ‘against the house’, you’re selecting an opponent and betting against that one person.  As long as that single person isn’t more knowledgeable than you, you’re at an advantage.  And you’re picking a lineup of players (rather than just a team), which introduces a greater degree of skill to the games.  To top it off, these games are completely legal in the United States, allowing deposit by Paypal or credit card and withdrawal by Paypal or check.

Check out fantasy betting at FanDuel

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