Tips for Betting MLB Totals

A lot of occasional MLB bettors seem to opt for betting totals as opposed to money line or run line in MLB baseball.  It may be easier for bettors to understand or more appealing to bettors to root for an offensive game to go Over or cheer for a pitching duel when taking the Under.  Maybe it’s because you tend to get better odds but whatever the case may be, the Documented Handicappers have provided some tips when betting MLB totals.

Betting baseball totals can limit your exposure to losses, compared to costly moneylines, and this method has steadily been gaining in popularity with bettors.  There was a time when oddsmakers would list total odds no greater than (-125) but the increase in popularity of betting totals has shifted this philosophy and you can now see some total lines around (-140).

Just like in football there are key numbers in MLB totals that you need to be familiar considering roughly 90% of total lines fall between 7 and 11 runs.  The reason behind these numbers is the history of games that are tied late in the game 3-3, 4-4, 5-5 which make these total lines significant.

Another thing to keep an eye on is how numbers are adjusted in MLB totals.  You will often see a sportsbook adjust the odds first before they adjust the line.  For example, if the total was set at 9.5 (-110) and the sportsbook sees a lot of action on the over, they will adjust the odds to (-120) and not adjust the total line to 10.

A lot of novice bettors will bet hot steaks in relation to MLB totals.  For example, one of the best offensive teams so far in the 2014 season is the Toronto Blue Jays.  You will see a lot of their totals set around 9.5 or more.  If the Blue Jays are crushing the ball and putting up crooked offensive numbers than a lot of bettors will back the Over no matter the number.

“You have to be careful when following trends reflecting the Over.  A lot of bettors like to see the long ball and want to see a bunch of runs put up on the scoreboard so they will look for teams that have powerful offenses and back the Over.

My advice is to tread lightly when following these trends.  Regardless of streaks, pitching is also considered in totals so you have to consider this when making your picks.  History and teams play a big roll when the total is set so even is a team is hot with the bats, they may be starting a series in San Francisco or Seattle or a park that is big and not known for hitting.  You have to take this into consideration because even if a team is hot there are certain stadiums that are simply built for pitching so the books may set the line at 8 or 9 knowing that the public will be backing the Over and you’ll see the total fall well below the line”, commented Jeremy Redmond.

The same concept or school of thought is applied towards dominate pitching.  We knew for the longest time that any time Roy Halladay stepped on the mound he was going to give you at least 7 solid innings of low scoring baseball just because of how dominate he was during his era.  Dominate pitching will generally win over hot bats and we see this all the time in the postseason.

Hopefully these sports betting tips will give you a better idea of how sportsbooks and sports handicappers make their decision on betting MLB totals.  You don’t always have to find the hot bats and back the Over so look at match ups, pitching and the ball park as some deciding factors as well.

By RC Blevins
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