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Total Points Markets - A Smart Bet

October 29th, 2014

Most sports betting revolves around finding the winning team and then making a Side bet. Sports books in Vegas estimate that only 14% of bets they handle are on the total points market, also known as betting the Over / Under. Why are these bets not as popular when it comes to sports gambling? And are you making a crucial mistake by not betting total points markets, especially in the NBA and college football?

The answer to the second question is a resounding “yes!” If you fancy yourself a sports handicapper or even a casual sports bettor who would like to make some extra cash then Over / Under bets have to be placed regularly. They are one of the professional sports handicapper’s biggest weapons. The reason most gamblers ignore total market plays is that they find them less interesting than Side bets. They are largely ignored in College Football betting and NBA betting, and another reason for this is a lack of knowledge.

It takes a lot of handicapping research and hard work to formulate an opinion on the total points that might be scored in a mid-week MAC game between two colleges you’ve never seen play before. Well, guess what, it is hard work for the Vegas oddsmakers as well and frequently they are not up to the task. They don’t care as much because the general betting public doesn’t care as much, consequently total points lines are much softer than other lines.

NFL points spreads are calculated by the best in the business, and can be very tough to beat. It is possible of course, but it requires some luck and a ton of discipline. A lot of very smart people determine those lines and sometimes being as smart as they are is not enough. But total points markets are not popular, therefore, the guys who determine those lines don’t need to spend as much time fine-tuning them. This is especially true in college football and the NBA, where the sheer number of games means that there will be oversights.

Everyone prepares for NFL games. You have the time as a sports bettor, you can go to wagering websites such as, and the sports books certainly have the time as well. But there are so many NBA games, and fluctuations can occur so rapidly in form that sometimes mistakes will be made by Vegas books, and that’s where we come in and thrive.

Don’t ignore the points total bet. There are many instances when a game is too close to call, and rather than wasting your money on what could be a coin-flip scenario you should consider the Over / Under bet. Remember that most OT games result in games going Over, and we like to factor this in when making our Total Points picks (we’re mainly talking about the NBA here).

How Totals are Set

More often than not, the total will be set based upon the offenses and defenses of both teams. That may be very obvious, but there is a calculation that is used a lot in order to set the Over / Under. Here is an example that uses this general formula:

NFL Total
San Diego Chargers: Average points scored per game - 27.5; Average points allowed per game - 24.0;
Total points average 51.5
Kansas City Chiefs: Average points scored per game - 23.0; Average points allowed per game - 21.5;
Total points average 44.5

Chargers Total 51.5 + Chiefs Total 44.5 = 96 points ÷ 2 (teams playing each other) =
Over / Under of 48 points

This total may fluctuate by a couple of points depending on certain circumstances. But the chances of a large difference is minimal when dealing with the sports with a lot of regular season games. This formula doesn’t take into account certain match ups when one side has a clear advantage over the other side. This can easily swing the balance and make the Over or Under more likely. This is where a good handicapper can make money by doing lots of research to find these instances.

MLB Playoffs Betting

September 30th, 2014

When the postseason arrives in Major League Baseball everyone is excited about betting the playoffs. MLB playoff betting is different from the regular season and presents us with some different betting opportunities. I’ll go over some things that relate to MLB playoff betting and give you a few ideas to make baseball betting more profitable.

The first major difference when betting the MLB playoffs versus the regular season is the amount of games. The regular season has three or four game series while the MLB playoffs have best of five games in the division series, and best of seven games for the league championship and World Series. Our first option is to bet on a team to win the best of five or best of seven series. We don’t usually get that option during the regular season and it gives us something different in the MLB playoffs. Instead of having to risk money on a day-by-day basis we can just play our team once and hope they win the series. This way we don’t have to bet every game and we don’t risk nearly as much money. For example, let’s say we like the Tigers over the Orioles in a best of five series. It might look like this when the line opened.

Detroit -170
Baltimore +150

We could risk 100 dollars to win 150 on Baltimore. Betting on the MLB playoffs series prices also can give us hedging opportunities. Let’s say the Orioles win the first two games of the best of five series. An updated series price will be put out making the Orioles perhaps a -250 favorite and the Tigers now +200. We could take the Tigers and guarantee ourselves a profit no matter which team won the series. MLB playoff series bets are something to keep an eye on and to profit from when we get the opportunity.

Another opportunity that presents itself when betting MLB playoff action is taking the losing team in the next game. It is just like the zig-zag theory in the NBA. It is a bit different because we have moneylines in baseball instead of pointspreads. If a favored team is coming off a loss in the MLB playoffs we might be asked to lay -200 or more in the next game. That can get a little pricey but usually the favored team is a good bet to bounce back with a win after a loss. It is even better if they have a top-notch pitcher going for them after that loss.

A couple of other things to keep in mind when betting the MLB playoffs are starting pitchers and home field advantage. Starting pitchers are pretty self-explanatory and the statistics you use to handicap them don’t change much for the playoffs. Home field advantage though is something to keep in mind for the playoffs. Very often the advantage is overpriced. Home teams are really given far too much respect when it comes to the playoffs. Last year in the National League Championship Series the road team was 5-2 for a very healthy profit. The American League Championship Series was a winner too as road teams went 4-3. Even the World Series proved profitable as road teams won three and lost three. Too much of an advantage is given to the home team in the MLB playoffs, so when you begin your handicapping start by looking at the road team.

When the MLB playoffs begin we can usually throw out the regular season results. So often the team with the worst record wins the matchup. The public loves to bet favorites in all sports, and baseball is no exception. Since we don’t have a pointspread in baseball the linemakers have to raise the moneyline on the marquee teams and marquee pitchers. It only takes one loss at -200 or more to really make it tough to have a winning playoff season. Check the Bovada NFL lines to see the current odds available. I am one that likes to play favorites sometimes in baseball but I am much more leery of doing so when playoff time arrives.

As you look to bet the MLB playoffs first look to the road team and then look to the underdog. If you can’t make a case for them then it is probably a good game to pass on. Sometimes you will really like a strong favorite but you need to have a lot of positives going for you, and preferably have your team coming off a loss. Whatever you bet in the MLB playoffs let’s hope these tips prove helpful and that your wagers prove to be profitable.

Betting Underdogs in Baseball

June 23rd, 2014

Betting underdogs in baseball has been a way for gamblers to make money throughout the years and that has been especially true this season. Betting underdogs has become more profitable in recent years as baseball is getting more competitive. I’ll look at the main reason you can make money by betting underdogs in baseball and give you some ideas to consider as you look to bet those baseball dogs.

The main reason gamblers can make money by betting underdogs in baseball is that they don’t have to win more than they lose. Baseball is a sport that uses moneylines, and when you are always getting plus money, you can win a smaller percentage of your games and still make a profit. Let’s say you play two underdogs in baseball and both are +150. All you need is a split to make money.

Let’s take it a step further. Say you play 10 games and all of them are underdogs ranging in price from +110 to +180. If you split those 10 games and go 5-5 you are going to make good money. If you go 4-6 in those games you probably will still break even, because your average win is probably at least +150. That is the big advantage to playing underdogs in baseball. You can have a losing record and still make a profit.

Ways to Bet on Underdogs

What are some of the best ways to bet underdogs in baseball? Early in the season has traditionally been a great time to bet the underdogs. As teams start the season it is much more difficult for oddsmakers to get a handle on how teams will do. Prices are much more likely to be tilted toward the favorite and that gives even more value to the underdog.

Another reason for betting the underdog early in the year is the fact that starting pitchers are not ready to go nine innings yet. That brings the bullpens into play and usually the more pitchers that enter a game the better chance for mistakes. Early in the season teams haven’t developed their personalities yet, and unpredictable things tend to happen more often. That gives underdogs an even better chance to make you a profit.

Another option to consider when betting underdogs in baseball is to go against a top team’s fourth or fifth starting pitcher. Very often a team like the Giants or A’s will still be getting a ton of respect by the linemaker, even when at the lower end of their starting rotation. Oakland may still be a -170 or higher favorite when their fourth or fifth best starter is going to the mound. This gives us good value, especially when we have a better starting pitcher going for us. Taking a number one starter at plus money is always something I like to do.

Another thing to consider when playing the dogs is to take certain teams at home when they are underdogs. Very often in baseball, teams play differently at home. A team like Cleveland is much better at home than on the road and when you can get them at plus money on their home turf they are worth looking at. This theory can apply to weak teams like Tampa Bay and the White Sox as well. Those teams may have a totally different feel when playing at home and getting them as an underdog can be a good way to increase your profits.

Sometimes you will find certain situations that make betting underdogs at a online bookmaker, such as Bodog Sports, very attractive. Let’s say you have a team that plays well at home, but for some reason lost two straight. You now have the opportunity to get them at even better odds because they are coming off two straight losses. Good home teams rarely lose three straight at home, and if you can catch a price in this situation it makes for good value.

Another situation that very often occurs has two good teams playing, and one is a bigger underdog than they should be. Let’s say Oakland and the Yankees are playing in New York and the pitching matchup has Scott Kazmir facing Masahiro Tanaka. The A’s may be as high as -150 or -160 and that can give us real value on the Yankees. We still need to include our regular handicapping but some of these situations will arise giving us a real chance to do well.

We always want to remember when betting underdogs that we don’t have to win every time to make money. Sometimes I forget that fact when two or three losses occur. It makes it difficult to play underdogs if you run into a losing streak but you want to remember that if you had been playing favorites and had this bad streak, your losses would be far greater. Whatever strategy you use, remember to consider taking underdogs as they will help you increase your long-term profits, and that is always the goal.

Do you want to bet on the Super Bowl?  If so, you should check out this website for all the latest super bowl betting info you can get your hands on.  They are the best place to learn about shopping the spread and money lines.

Tips for Making System Picks this Season

February 24th, 2014

baseball-system-picksWhat is the one sport that bookmakers hate and players love? You guessed it – baseball. Why is that? Because baseball is a sport that the players can beat. During the long hot summer months over in Las Vegas the books don’t have much action other than baseball. Baseball is different from other sports because there is no point spread involved. Baseball is based on a money line. All your team has to do is win.

You may have to lay a higher price but all you have to worry about is the win. Let’s say you like the Patriots over the Bears in football. You’ll probably being laying 7 pts. In baseball you lay money. If you like the Tigers over the White Sox you’ll just have to win the game. It might be -250, meaning you have to put up 250 dollars to win 100. But all you have to worry about is winning the game.

Another advantage that the players have is streaks. In basketball the Heat might run off 10 wins in a row but only be 5-5 against the spread because they are laying 10 pts or more every night. In baseball if your team wins 10 in a row you win every time. It is just a matter of putting up more money to win. And I for one like having to worry about just winning and not worrying about the garbage TD my team gives up late in the game.

Sports betting online establishments don’t like baseball because they just don’t get the volume of action that football or basketball provide. Fans all around the world are much more likely to bet on Monday night football than to bet on Saturday afternoon baseball during the summer. Another reason that books hate baseball is that wise guys continue to play even though the so called public may take the summer off. It does not make for good two way action.

I’ll go over the basics you need to know when betting baseball and later throw in some tips to help you. I talked about the money line already in baseball. The one thing I didn’t mention is the take back on the underdog. Let’s say that the Rangers are playing Houston. If you like the Rangers you have to lay -250 to win 100. If you like Houston you would get anywhere from +190 to +210.

Sportsbooks around the world set their take back on the underdogs anywhere from 10 cents to as much as 70 cents or more. So when betting on baseball remember to choose a sportsbook that offers the lowest line possible. The most common are 10 cent and 20 cent lines. If you bet a lot of baseball find the book that has the 10 cent line.

Run Lines and Totals

Two other areas of betting baseball are run lines and totals. Run lines are where the team you are betting is either laying a run and a half or getting a run and a half. It looks like this -1.5 or +1.5 The advantage to this is that in the case of our example earlier you probably only have to lay 140 to win 100 dollars laying the 1.5 on the Tigers instead of the 250 dollars to win 100.

So on those big favorites, many times people like to lay the extra run at the cheaper price. Just remember to hold your breath in the late innings and hope your closer doesn’t ruin your night by letting in a meaningless run. That hurts when you win 3-2 instead of 3-1. It turns a winner into a loser but that is the price you pay when laying the extra run. But it is something to consider.

Totals in baseball betting have become more popular over the years with the higher scoring games and the ball flying out every night. Home runs are a fascination of nearly everyone and they sure help your cause when you bet the over. Totals in baseball betting are the total runs scored by both teams in the game.

Usually you will see numbers like 9.5 under or 8.5 over. The over or under means that you have to lay -120 on that side. Say you like the under. You put up 120 dollars to win 100 if you like the game to go under the 9.5 runs. If you like the over you get even money - 100 for 100. Totals are usually based on a 20 cent line - the difference you see in 120 to 100.

How to Handicap Baseball Games

Those are the quick basics to baseball betting. Now - How to win betting baseball? Without question the most important aspect and the key starting point when betting baseball is the starting pitcher. That is why you see the starting pitcher listed in every baseball betting line you see.

Let’s say the Yankees are playing the Red Sox in Boston. The line you see would look something like this. Boston Lester -200 Nova 8.5 over. So if you like Jon Lester and want to bet on Boston you pay a healthy price. Let’s say though you look at the statistics and find that the Yankees do well against Lester and you want to bet New York. You’ll probably find a +170 out there and if the Yankees win you have found good value for your money.

I may go in depth with baseball betting at another time but for now here are some things to keep in mind. Look at the starting pitchers and their statistics first.

Second - look at how the teams are playing in their last few games. I know that it is hard for me to bet on a team that has lost their last few games and is not playing well no matter who is pitching. The exception to that might be when I have my stopper going for me. That is the pitcher on the staff the team knows stops losing streaks.

Third - look at how the teams matchup head to head. Some teams just own other teams. For example the Royals just never seem to beat the Yankees. Those type of things are general things to look at. In a future article I’ll go in depth on what pitcher stats are important and other things to look at.

For now - remember the basics and one final point. You can trust your gut. All the stats in the world shouldn’t keep you off a winner. If you get the feeling that a team will win - go for it.

Betting on Baseball in 2014

February 19th, 2014

The teams are starting to practice in Florida and Arizona and the first Spring Training games are schedule for next week. Now is probably the best time to go over the basics for betting on baseball games again. If you are new to betting on baseball, you may be confused about the numbers that are thrown around on this site. This is why I am going over the basics of betting again.

Baseball gambling odds are similar to hockey odds in that they are based on a money line more often than not. Unlike football or basketball odds there is no pointspread involved. Instead, with the money line in baseball, all you care about is your team winning the game. This site is based off of the use of the run line, which is baseball’s version of the point spread. Because the regular season is 162 games, the run line will be +1 run for the underdog and -1 run for the favorite more often than not.

Baseball odds can vary from what you see in other sports in terms of the takeback. Since the sport is based on the money line you will see different takebacks on games. Let me explain what that means. When gambling on baseball you will hear terms like 10 cent, 20 cent, 30 cent, etc. Those numbers refer to the amount of the vigorish you are charged when betting the games. The best line available in baseball is usually a 10 cent line. More common is a 20 cent line and that 20 cents is the difference between the favorite and the underdog. It looks like this:

Baseball Betting Line

If you like the Yankees you are risking 170 for every 100 you want to win on New York. If you like the Blue Jays you are risking 100 dollars to win 150. The 20 dollar difference is what is called a twenty cent line. If the takeback was +160 it would be a 10 cent line. If it was +140 then it would be a 30 cent line. The most favorable line to you as a baseball gambler is the 10 cent line, but the more common line is the 20 cent line.

Let’s explain some of the other numbers in the above example. The numbers to the left of the team names are the rotation numbers. Those are the numbers you see in the schedule and the numbers you call out if you are wagering on the phone. The total on the game is listed next to the money line and oftentimes will be listed in place of the take back on the game and looks like this:

901 Toronto Blue Jays 9.5 over
902 New York Yankees -170

In this example, if you like the game to go over the total, you are laying 120 to win 100 dollars. If you like the game to go under, you risk 100 to win 100 dollars. The 20 dollar difference is called a twenty cent line and it is very common with totals. Listed separately is something called the run line. Instead of having to win the game outright you now are laying or receiving a run and a half. It will look something like this:

901 Toronto Blue Jays 9.5 over +1.5 -120
902 New York Yankees -170 -1.5 ev

In this case if you like the Yankees, you are laying a run and a half, and must win the game by two runs or more to win the bet. You are only risking 100 to win 140 dollars. If you like Toronto you are getting that run and a half and must either win the game outright or lose by only one run to win the bet. You are laying 120 dollars to win 100.

Another area that is specific to baseball is the starting pitcher. Let’s take that previous example. You have the option of listing pitchers. The pitcher you list must start for your bet to be valid. It is a way of protecting yourself if for some reason the starting pitcher changes. Your handicapping probably revolved around the starting pitching matchup and you don’t want to end up with a matchup you did not expect. With totals and run line bets the pitchers are always listed, and a change in either starting pitcher will void your bet.

If there is anything related to the odds or there is something you don’t understand, please ask.

2014 Team Projections

Here are the division, pennant, and World Series predictions for the 2014 season.

Projections for the allpro NL East: 1st Place - Atlanta Braves; 2nd Place - Washington Nationals; 3rd Place - Philadelphia Phillies; 4th Place - New York Mets; 5th Place - Miami Marlins

Projections for the NL Central: 1st Place - St Louis Cardinals; 2nd Place - Pittsburgh Pirates; 3rd Place - Cincinnati Reds; 4th Place - Milwaukee Brewers; 5th Place - Chicago Cubs

Projections for the NL West: 1st Place - LA Dodgers; 2nd Place - Arizona Diamondbacks; 3rd Place - San Francisco Giants; 4th Place - San Diego Padres; 5th Place - Colorado Rockies

Projections for Wild Cards: Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates

Projections for NL Pennant: LA Dodgers

Projections for AL East: 1st Place - Boston Red Sox; 2nd Place - New York Yankees; 3rd Place - Tampa Bay Rays; 4th Place Baltimore Orioles; 5th Place - Toronto Blue Jays

Projections for AL Central: 1st Place - Detroit Tigers; 2nd Place - Cleveland Indians; 3rd Place - Kansas City Royals; 4th Place - Minnesota Twins; 5th Place - Chicago White Sox

Projections for AL West: 1st Place - LA Angels; 2nd Place - Texas Rangers; 3rd Place - Oakland A’s; 4th Place - Seattle Mariners; 5th Place - Houston Astros

Projections for Wild Cards: New York Yankees and Texas Rangers

Projections for AL Pennant: Detroit Tigers

Projections for World Series Champion: LA Dodgers

2013 Playoff Begins and Run Line Picks

October 3rd, 2013

2013-mlb-postseasonThe beginning of the MLB playoffs is tonight. I know that we had a couple of Wild Card games and a tie breaker already, but I don’t consider these games to be the true start of the playoffs. I don’t know how you can call these one-game series anything but a sham.

I know that these games are supposed to be really exciting and there is no way that they could play a full series before divisional playoff round, but I don’t think the extra team was a good idea.

How can you distill a 162 game schedule into a one game elimination? This whole thing was created because of the late season excitement that happened the previous couple of season.

First, there was a divisional tie breaker between the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers in 2009. This game went into extra innings with the Twins winning in walk off fashion. I have no problems with these types of tie breakers. If you are tied, the winner should be determined on the field. But, the big push towards this current format was in 2011. Both the Boston Red Sox and the Atlanta Braves collapsed over the last week to get pushed out of the playoffs.

Both teams were tied with the eventual Wild Card teams (St Louis Cardinals and Tampa Bay Rays) to start game 162. Both teams lost game 162 and the other teams won their games. If either Atlanta or Boston won, they would have forced a tie breaker. Atlanta lost 5 straight games, but Boston’s loss was more embarrassing. The Red Sox were the best team in the league for much of the season before they lost. Boston had an improbable ninth inning collapse against the bottom of the barrel Baltimore Orioles, giving up two runs and losing by 1. At that same time, the Tampa Bay Rays had an equally improbable comeback from being down 7-0 to the New York Yankees to win in 12 innings.

This is the impetus for creating the current Wild Card format. The MLB liked the late season excitement and decided to add this one-game abomination of a Wild Card series. If the MLB wanted to do this right, they would make this at least a 3 game series; and I’m not even a fan of either Cleveland or Cincinnati. I’m just not a fan of this format. Take a look at the Detroit Tigers and Oakland A’s for example; both teams finished their season on Sunday and aren’t starting their series until Friday. How hard would it be to squeeze a 3-game Wild Card series in their (since the 2nd Wild Card team isn’t going anywhere soon). But I digress.

2013 MLB Playoffs

So, we are now set with the Divisional Series playoff matchups. In the AL, there is Tampa Bay vs Boston and Detroit vs Oakland. In the NL, there is Pittsburgh vs St Louis and Los Angeles vs Atlanta. In 3 of these 4 matchups, I believe that there are clear favorites (Boston, Oakland and St Louis).

Boston is the most well rounded team in the MLB this season. Tampa Bay has already played two must win games to go along with an 8-2 stretch to make it to this series. They aren’t going to have enough steam to keep it going for a long run. It’s not like Boston slumped near the end of the season either.

Detroit has the pitching and hitting to match up with Oakland, but they have a couple of key problems that will probably hamper them in this series. First and most importantly, Miguel Cabrera is not healthy right now. Secondly, the Tigers haven’t been hitting as well in the past 2 weeks. Third, the Tigers don’t have a great bullpen. Oakland also has the previous two playoff meetings against the Detroit to motivate them.

Pittsburgh is a nice story this year. But, St Louis is a professional playoff team. St Louis was tied with Pittsburgh in September, but pulled away to clinch the Central division. St Louis has a stellar home record and this series will probably go 4 games.

The one matchup that is going to be difficult to call is the Atlanta Braves vs the LA Dodgers. Both teams have great pitching and enough hitting to do some damage. This is the one series that I see going 5 games in the Divisional round.

Future Predictions

I’m predicting that the World Series matchup is going to be the St Louis Cardinals against the Boston Red Sox. The Cardinals don’t lose very often when October comes around. The Red Sox have all of the pieces to get back to the World Series. Boston will have the home field advantage because the AL won the All Star Game (which is another rule that I hate).

In the end, I think that the Cardinals will win another World Series and the NL will continue their dominance over the AL. Since 2005, the NL has won 6 of 8 times in the World Series. Whether this is because of the NL having home field advantage for much of this time or because the AL pitchers don’t bat, this trend is going to continue this year.

Run Line Picks for Tonight’s Games

The Run Line, along with the other nightly betting lines, are not set for future games past tonight. The Run Line is most often set a +/- 1.5 runs. The favored team has to win by 2 runs in order to win the run line wager. The underdog can either win or lose by 1 run in order to cover the run line. These lines can be found with the Baseball betting odds william hill.

Pittsburgh +1.5 (-160) at St. Louis -1.5 (+140) - The pitching matchup is AJ Burnett (10-11) 3.30 ERA vs Adam Wainwright (19-9) 2.94 ERA. Both pitchers are the Ace of the team. AJ Burnett’s record may fool you into thinking that he hasn’t pitched well this year. Many of these losses were because he received no run support. This is because a lot of the time he was matched up against other team’s aces. This is the reason that the Pirates are -160 ($160 to win $100). This first game is going to hinge on which team gets the first run, because runs will be at a premium.

However, Adam Wainwright has been lights out in his previous 5 starts. He dominates at home; his 9-6 record at home doesn’t show that his ERA is a full run lower than on the road. Whichever team gets the first run has the leg up on winning the game. The odds are that this game is going to be a very tight matchup, which is why I’m picking Pittsburgh to win the Run Line and the Cardinals to win the game by 1 run.

LA Dodgers -1.5 (+120) at Atlanta +1.5 (-140) - The pitching matchup is Clayton Kershaw (16-9) 1.83 ERA vs Kris Medlen (15-12) 3.11 ERA. The pitching matchup is obviously favoring the Dodgers, as Kershaw should easily be the NL Cy Young winner. However, Medlen has not allowed more than 2 runs in a start since the middle of August. Both teams were able to coast down the stretch in preparation for this series. This is going to be another matchup where the pitchers dominate the hitters.

This game has 2-1 written all over it. It doesn’t matter which team wins. I’m going to take Atlanta to cover the run line.