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Learn how to read and make Over/Under bets on MLB games, including the best strategies and tips. Start making smarter MLB Over/Under picks today!
The over-under is a consistent wager in all major sports. Quite simply, you’re betting that the combined total of points (or runs, in the case of baseball) from both teams either goes above (over) or below (under) the number set by oddsmakers. Oftentimes, this is a fun bet for casual bettors to make, and it’s an easy one to root for regardless of the teams involved. An over-under bettor doesn’t have to study the intricacies of each team—rather, there are more concrete factors that go into the set over-under number.
There are generally three bets you can make on a baseball game: moneyline (where you bet on which team is going to win), run line (betting on a certain team with a point spread), and over-under. The over-under bets are the closest ones you can make in baseball that will be a near 50-50 proposition. Oddsmakers try to find the number that would generate an even amount of betting on each side, similar to how a point spread in football or basketball is determined.
In this example, the over-under for this game between the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Guardians is set at 9.5. This means a bet on the under will pay off if the teams’ combined total is less than 9.5. Conversely, a combined run total higher than 9.5 will pay to bets on the over. Sometimes, the over-under will be a whole number. For instance, if it is 8, and the final score of the game is 5-3, then the bet is a push and all bettors get their original wagers back. More often than not, you will find MLB over-under odds with the half-point included to cut back on pushes—especially in the case of larger over-under marks.
In our example above, the -112 next to the under means that this bet is the slight favorite. You would have to bet $112 to win $100. For the over, -102 signifies that a $102 bet would be necessary to win $100. In sports gambling, even bets are listed at -110 instead of true 50-50 odds. The extra money needed on an even bet is called the “vig,” or the cut that the house takes in order to take and process your bet.
Factors relating to game play and others that are off-the-field matters all come into consideration when an over-under number is set and also the strategy you should take when betting on it. These factors include starting pitchers, a team’s scoring trends, weather conditions, injuries, and even ballparks themselves.
You can use the factors listed above to develop your strategy. You don’t have to research each one to be successful. Let’s take a look at three that are popular among MLB over-under bettors.
Let’s take a little bit of a deeper insight into some of the factors above as you prepare for your MLB over-under betting. In other words, how to find the data above and then use it to your advantage.
Luckily, baseball is a statistically driven sport, meaning you can find data on just anything you could possibly imagine.
When it comes to starting pitchers, their overall record is important, but you’ll also want to zero in on their past three or four starts, and especially how they fared if they faced this same team earlier in the season. Some teams just have a pitchers’ number, so while a pitcher may have great stats overall, he could struggle against this particular team. This is important information to know, as this level of detail may be overlooked by oddsmakers when the over-under number is set.
Another place where you can gain an advantage over the oddsmakers is by paying attention to injuries and the starting lineups for a particular game. Say, for instance, that the over-under on a Los Angeles Angels game is at 8.5. But when the starting lineup for the game is posted around three hours prior to the game, you notice that superstar Mike Trout is out of the lineup. Without his bat, the Angels are less likely to score as much as they would with him, so you are given an advantage toward the under here, unless the over-under number moves accordingly. But a keen observer can often make bets faster than oddsmakers can adjust lines.
For weather factors, in addition to wind and rain conditions that could affect play on the field, you’ll also want to see if there’s a chance that rain could delay the game or call it off early. Say the New York Mets are starting Jacob DeGrom, who has won the Cy Young Award in two of the last three seasons. Rain, however, is in the forecast for around 8:30 p.m. for a game that’s starting at 7 p.m. This means that, one way or another, DeGrom’s night will likely be cut short. He will either pitch three or four innings before the rain comes, and the Mets would have to use a different pitcher after the delay, or DeGrom could cruise through five or six innings, and the game could be called off at that point if the rain doesn’t stop in a reasonable amount of time. If there’s a chance that rain could cut a game short before the full nine innings, there is an advantage to bet the under because an MLB game is considered official after five innings, so the over-under bet would count whether a game goes five innings and is official or if it goes the full nine innings.
As we described above, ballparks are also a factor. You can check individual team statistics to see how they perform in their home ballpark as compared to on the road. They may average a run or two more at home, which is significant when trying to decide on which way you want to go for the over-under. In addition, some parks are just more conducive to runs being scored, including Colorado, Houston, Philadelphia, and Boston. Pitcher-friendly parks include San Francisco, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland, and Detroit.
As you can see, a lot goes into both setting an over-under line and making a bet in either one direction or the other! Try one or more of the strategies above, look at the MLB betting odds, and either root for lots of home runs or strikeouts, depending on which way you went on your MLB over-under bet!