Many sports handicappers are going to be in agreement in many areas, such as the practice of money management, shopping for lines, etc. There are also several areas where you find a bit of disagreement, such as teasers and buying half-points. Another is baseball totals, where two different sportsbooks could very well have different numbers.
One of the keys to doing well in betting baseball totals is to bet into the most advantageous numbers. Most of the time, sportsbooks will have universal numbers, such as 7.5 with small differences in the amount you are required to lay each way. But there are going to be times when one sportsbook has a game at 9.5-over and another has it at 10-under.
But it’s important to understand the numbers themselves. While 8 and 9 may both key numbers in baseball totals, the 9 is a bit more meaningful simply due to the possibility of a one-run game. A game with an even total can only land on the number with at least a two-run victory, such as 5-3, while a total of 9 can yield a 5-4 game and end up a push. The probability of a one-run victory is greater than a two-run victory in part due to the home team winning in the ninth or in extra innings. Between 2012 and 2016 there were 3,640 one-run victories and 2,316 two-run wins.
Because 9 is such a key number in baseball totals, the difference between 8.5 and 9 has to be given more weight than the difference between 7.5 and 8 or 8 and 8.5.
If a bettor is given the option of betting a game 9-over (-120) or 9.5-under (-120), the number dictates that they are better off laying the -120 both ways if that is the direction they wish to go. In the case of the under, the extra half-run to increase the total to 9.5 is worth the extra 20 cents on the moneyline. In the case of the over, it’s definitely worth it to lay the extra 20 cents, as if the game falls on 9, you will push your bet, while a game falling on 9 will be a loss if you played over 9.5 at even money.
Using a similar scenario for the numbers 9.5 and 10 would give the bettor the option of betting 9.5-over (-120) or 10-under (-120). Here, a bettor taking the under is better off to lay the -120 and go under 10, since the bet would be a loss if they bet under 9.5 at even money and it falls on 108. But those liking the over, may want to consider betting over 10 at even money. A bettor will not lose a bet playing over 10 that they wouldn’t have lost playing over 9.5 and the extra 20 cents they will save on the losing bets will add up over the course of the season.
On Tuesday, the Red traveled to Toronto to face the Blue Jays. Bookmaker had the total 9.5-over (-115) and Bovada had the game 10-under (-115). Those who liked the game under definitely were getting better value at Bovada, as you could lay -115 to bet under 10 or lay -105 to bet under 9.5 at Bookmaker. When Toronto won 6-4 those who laid the extra 10 cents were rewarded by not losing their wager.
Not only should you have more than one outlet, to give yourself the opportunity for finding key numbers, but give a little thought to your wagers and see if it makes better sense to bet into one number as opposed to another.