When wagering on football and basketball, it's pretty cut and dried as to what you're up against to turn a profit since you are laying 11-10 on every wager. This equates to having to win 52.38% of your bets to break even. The pointspread is the equalizer. In baseball, however, it is impossible to make all games 11-10 propositions and use run lines to create parity because there is only limited scoring. This makes each run scored about 20% of a teams entire expected score where as in basketball each point scored is only approx. 1% so you can easily come up with an accurate line.
One of the biggest misnomers we hear all the time is the reluctance to lay big prices. I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say "I never lay more than 130 in baseball." That's a totally ridiculous statement!! The truth is some of the biggest value positions you'll ever find in baseball come with a price tag of over 200. Remember, the linemaker's job is to set a price to make it appealing to wager on either side of a game so the bookmaker gets close to equal action on both sides. Alot of times when you get a matchup pitting an ace veteran against a mediocre pitcher, the game really should be over 300 close to 400 mathematically but the linemaker has to make it in th 200 - 240 range or else he runs the risk of getting loaded up on dog action (There are plenty of bettors out there who love to play big dogs just because of the price.)
Most people are reluctant to lay big prices because of the cost when they lose. This is where FLAT BETTING comes in. On a -160 favorite for example, instead of risking $160 to make $100, we risk $100 to make $62.50 (100/160 = 62.5). When betting dogs, we risk $100 to make the greater amount; in this case $100 to make $150 (provided you are betting into a dime line....more on this subject below). So every game that we lose, we lose the same amount (one unit) and every game that we win will vary: the bigger the favorite the less we win and the bigger the dog the more we win.
PLANNING: How much should you risk?
Just as explained throughout this site, having a firm plan in place is crucial to your success. This entails having the proper capital behind you to warrant your bet size. Generally, your unit size should be approx. 2% of your bankroll. (Click here for a more in depth look into bankroll / money management). Whatever you decide on as a unit size should be kept consistent. Remember, when you win a favorite, you're winning less than a unit and when you win a dog you're winning more than a unit and every loss is exactly one unit.
So far so good? Is the picture getting clear? Now here's where we start having fun!!
PARLAYS...Your new best friend!!
Let's take the above situation where the Ace Veteran is laying -240 against a so-so starter. Let's also say that we feel strongly that the opposing pitcher is going to get knocked around early. Instead of betting on just the fact that the ace should win the game and the price is mathematically low enough to warrant a play, let's bet on the BIG PICTURE, our OVERALL THINKING that we get to the opposing pitcher early. If the total on the game is low enough, say 8, we'll parlay the -240 favorite to the over. So now, instead of risking one unit laying -240 to make .41/unit, we stand to win 1.7 units with the same risk!! If your unit size is a dime, you stand to make $1700 instead of $410!! 4+ times the money!! Of course now the game also has to go over to win the bet but as stated, we're playing our overall thinking.
Other parlay scenerios which we look at are quality pitchers on the road going against another quality pitcher. In these cases we look to parlay to the under. These generally pay around 3:1. This is ideal for games we feel strongley will be pitchers' deuls.
If you're not currently betting into a dime line you really need to talk to your current book to see if he'll give you one or you must go somewhere else. Most books will start you out with a wide line (20 cents) until you say something. Hey, you can't knock them for trying!! The difference is HUGE, especially over the course of time. You'll only make about half the money you could have by the end of the season....that's how big of a difference it is!! And while you're at it, it never hurts to have multiple places to play...always getting the best possible line is critical to your bottom line. (Click here for more on the subject.)