When it comes to Major League Baseball betting, most sportsbooks fall into three categories – Dime Lines, 15-Cent Lines, and 20-Cent Lines. In this breakdown, we’ll talk about what those mean and why some of them are more advantageous to players than others.
Sportsbooks & Dime Lines
In a perfect world, sportsbooks would have balanced ticket counts and dollar amounts on both sides of a game. If that happens, then the “vig” or “juice” is what creates the profits for the house.
Because MLB is predominantly a money line sport, the sportsbooks have to do things a little bit differently.
- There will be “spreads” known as run lines, but the most common bet in baseball is simply to pick the winner. If it was as easy as taking the Yankees at even money against the Orioles, then the industry wouldn’t exist because all bookmakers would have gone bankrupt long beforehand.
- The odds are modified with juice or vig on the games, which is why you would see the Yankees at -250 and the Orioles at +230. You would have to bet $250 on the Yankees to win $100. A $100 bet on the Orioles would return $230 if they were to win.
Sportsbooks all operate in different ways when it comes to the odds based on their willingness to embrace risk.
Some sportsbooks are not willing to embrace as much risk as others. We see that when it comes to the way in which MLB lines are constructed.
What Does “Dime Line” Mean
The best sportsbooks for MLB punters will have “Dime Lines”.
Dime lines mean that there is a 10-cent difference between the line on the underdog and the favorite.
Some sportsbooks will have “20-Cent Lines”.
These are not as beneficial for bettors. In the previous example, the Red Sox might still be -140, but the Yankees will be +120. In a lot of cases, to create the illusion of a more competitive line, those 20-cent sportsbooks would probably have Boston at -145 and the Yankees at +125.
They would cut the gap between the 10-cent sportsbooks by moving each line five cents.
Recently, we’ve seen sportsbooks try to be a little bit more competitive in the marketplace by offering 15-cent lines.
Once again using the previous example, Boston might be -140, which would make the Yankees +125. Similar to 20-cent sportsbooks, those will 15-cent lines are likely to do something like Boston -142 and Yankees +127.
Why does this matter for players?
Every cent of vigorish matters over the long-term.
Why the Dime Line is Better
Let’s look at the Dime Lines book as an example.
The implied probability (or also the break-even percentage) is 58.33 percent on a -140 favorite.
This means you would have to win 58.33 percent of the time betting -140 favorites to break even. Anything better than that success rate would mean a profit.
The implied probability of a +130 underdog is 43.48 percent.
So you would have to hit those at 43.48 percent to break even or higher than that to turn a profit.
If we move to the 20-cent lines, where the Red Sox are -145, that implies a 59.18 percent probability.
As you can see, that success rate is .8 percent higher, just by moving the line five cents in juice. The implied probability of a +125 underdog is 44.44 percent. You would have to hit those underdogs at almost a one percent higher clip just to break even.
The higher the juice on favorites and the lower the payout on underdogs, the harder it is for you to be a long-term winner. One percent here or one percent there may not seem like a lot but think of how much of an edge you are losing for every 10 bets or every 100 bets.
Even with 15-cent lines, where Boston is -142 and New York is +127, the implied probabilities there are 58.68 percent and 44.05 percent.
Final Thoughts on Dime Lines
It is clear to see why Dime Line sportsbooks are the best for you when it comes to money line sports like Major League Baseball.
You always want to shop around for the best price, as a 20-cent sportsbook or a 15-cent sportsbook may still have a better line than a 10-cent sportsbook because these sportsbooks need to move lines to balance risk and exposure.
More often than not, the best bang for your buck will be a sportsbook with Dime Lines.