Last Updated on 09/23/2022
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster
The ability to compare baseball odds is one of the most important tools available to bettors. Whether you’re an experienced bettor or a first time gambler, everyone can make use of comparing odds especially as they can fluctuate between bookmakers.
Clicking through every sportsbook available to you is an arduous task that most bettors won’t find valuable. So you will need a straightforward way to find the best baseball odds and avoid missing the great value that are out there. So to help, TheGruelingTruth.com have put together this handy guide to set you up for success.
Why should you compare baseball odds?
Bettors ranging from newcomers looking to place their first bet all the way to the experts, may wonder whether comparing odds is necessary at all; surely most sportsbooks offering the same markets will be offering similar odds, right? Wrong! Odds can fluctuate massively between bookies, just as insurance rates can vary, and who’d buy insurance without comparing rates first?
Comparing baseball odds is a great way to start getting every cent possible. For newcomers, comparing odds can be a great way to work out which bookie is right for you whilst for the more experienced gambler it can be a crucial part of your betting strategy to keep yourself ahead of the rest of the market.
Using the same bookie over and over again may be easier but it’s certainly not the best value, you may be getting shorted without even realizing, especially if a bookie starts off as a great value with good baseball odds then slowly moves back to the average rates.
Bookies baseball odds today are far more of a science than some people realize; very rarely do they actually reflect the exact probabilities of the event. Bookmakers will have their own teams deciding their baseball odds, this will also often be done through the form of algorithms rather than a person making decisions themselves.
Bookies odds are often set in a way that ensures they make as much profit as possible on all outcomes whilst also reducing variance.
Most bookies will see this as a balancing act, on one side of the scale they will want to maximize their profit whilst at the same time drawing bettors in.
Baseball odds differ between bookmakers for a variety of reasons, often down to how each individual business is run behind the scenes. Every bookie will have their own costing structures, profit and income targets and even down to their debts. This can lead to different levels of commissions and fees to ensure they stay in the black.
Whilst the smaller bookmakers may just follow the lines set out by their bigger competitors, those bigger bookmakers will have their own odds makers studying all data available including weather, form, injuries and any other potential variables when setting odds.
Odds can also be changed depending on whether a market has generated too many wagers on one side, typically the favorites side. This can lead bookies to offer the underdog’s side at a very attractive rate to encourage players onto the other side of the market and balance their books.
Of course as with any business, simple competition also plays a major part in setting baseball odds. Sportsbooks will try to weave an ability to beat their competitors into their odds, even if that means lowering their profits slightly to generate more custom.
While the baseball odds will differ between sportsbooks, the format of those odds may differ too. This can be a geographical thing as odds formats vary around the world. While it can also be different depending on what the bookmaker is trying to achieve, some odds formats allow more subtle differences while others are simply following a tradition in their region.
Decimal odds are arguably the most straightforward to read and understand. These odds are typically found within European bookmakers and also within betting exchanges.
They allow for an instant read of bigger value compared to fractional odds. For example it’s much easier to quickly read that 1.93 is a bigger value than 1.67 compared to reading and deciphering the equivalent fractional odds.
Decimal odds can be easily viewed if considered as money. For example a 7.4 would mean $7.40 return on a $1 bet, 3.3 would equate to $3.30. Effectively decimal odds are quoting the potential return rather than the profit.
Decimal odds appear to be increasing in popularity especially as betting exchanges become more popular due to their easy to read nature. They are also more useful for the sportsbooks as they can offer more precise odds and therefore lead to better competition between bookies as there’s more options for prices. They smaller increments also allow the bookies to create more accurate pricings based on their algorithms which whilst a small benefit can lead to increased profits.
Fractional odds, also known as British odds, UK odds or traditional odds, are as the names suggest typically popular among British and Irish bookies. Across the world they would typically be considered the most prevalent style of odds primarily due to their usage by some of the world’s largest, most profitable and highest reputation bookmakers.
Despite their prevalence they do have their limitations, for newcomers the fractions can be overwhelming at first as compared to decimals. However, once they’re understood they can be easy enough to read and utilize.
Fractional odds effectively read the potential profit that will be made on a bet relative to the stake which means to calculate winnings you must also remember to include that you will also receive your stake back.
For example a $1 bet placed at 6/1 would return $7, this is the original $1 stake on top of the $6 winnings. This means that the same bet expressed as decimal odds would be 7.00.
An easy way to read fractional odds is to consider the number on the right as your stake, this is the amount you need to bet in order to win the number on the left which would be your winnings, not including the stake. Using the original example that shows that $1 is the stake as it is in the fraction, which wins $6, the number on the right, they then add up to return $7, which is your total winnings from the bet.
American, also known as US or moneyline odds, are clearly the format most prevalent within the United States and are therefore likely to be the baseball odds format you’re most familiar with as bettors.
American odds are however arguably one of the most complicated formats to understand. Odds are expressed with a + and – value depending on what side of the bet you take. The underdog will take the positive sign with the favorite taking the negative. The difference between the positive and negative values for the favorite and underdog widens depending on the probability of the favorites winning.
American odds are all based around the $100 value. The positive values state the amount won on a $100 bet whilst the negative value shows the amount that must be bet in order to win $100.
For example positive odds of 130 would show that a player would win $130 based on a $100 dollar stake whilst the negative odds of -135 shows that $135 would need to be staked in order to win $100 on the bet.
This odds format is slightly more complex than fractional odds and especially more than decimal odds mainly due to the amount of work needed to calculate winnings especially when placing a bet with a wager different to $100.
Expected value is the predicted value, calculated as the sum of all possible values each multiplied by the probability of its occurrence. However, if that is all a bit too much gibberish, then put simply the expected value is the average result you should expect from the given bet.
Expected value is calculated as (amount won per bet divided by probability of winning) minus (amount lost per bet divided by the probability of losing) which equals your expected value.
A positive figure would mean the bet does offer value to the bettor based on the fact that if the bet was made 100 times, it would turn a profit.
What is most important when considering expected value is that it should never be your only consideration before placing a bet. The equation mainly shows the long term profit or loss of a bet. Expected value should be primarily used to form a long term betting strategy rather than made to decide a one-off bet. As with most research made when gambling it should all be considered within any other context rather than on its own.
Brand loyalty isn’t something that is typically rewarded these days, and that carries over to the gambling market.
Operators may not hold their value forever and as some bookies change their odds calculations they fall behind other sportsbooks. So whilst sticking with a bookie may aid convenience by limiting the amount of accounts needed, it’s unlikely to give you value.
Only through constant odds comparisons will you be able to stay ahead of the market.
Despite the fact it may seem like they are, baseball odds are not the be all and end all of choosing your operator. Bookies will offer other features that may put them ahead of their competitors for your needs.
VIP Clubs, bonuses, the offer of specialized markets and easy of use should also be considered when choosing your sportsbook. For example it may be worth taking slightly worse baseball odds on a bet if an accompanying bonus leads to a higher value.
Comparing baseball odds for in-play live betting is naturally trickier as the odds tend to fluctuate so quickly. There are ways you can make it easier, waiting for breaks in play such as when tennis players sit down or at half time of an event as the odds will stabilize and give you time to compare.
Actually baseball is a sport that tends to lend itself to easily comparing in play betting due to the clear breaks in play between innings.
Keeping a couple of online bookies pages open in different tabs will allow you to easily switch and compare operators.
Comparing baseball odds is by far the easiest way to get ahead of most bettors. Whilst you should research every bet, the comparison of baseball odds is the easiest way to do it. You can do a straightforward comparison between all sportsbooks which tends to be a lot less time consuming than other forms of research like a teams form or historical data.
However it’s worth remembering that it’s by no means the only consideration you should make before betting. Bonuses, specialized markets and other features should also form part of your decision making before placing any wager at all.
There are many good reasons why it’s worth your time to compare odds before placing your bets. Despite covering the same event at the same time, odds can vary, and that can have a significant impact on any potential returns. Follow our guides to learn more so you can start comparing odds right now!
Whether you can compare live odds is something that we look at in our comprehensive odds guides. You can find everything you need to know to make informed bets right here at TheGruelingTruth.com.
Bookies baseball odds today are more of a science, and despite many operators offering the same markets on the same game, they won’t all be equal like you might expect. To learn how to find the best value, check out our informative guides.