Millions of people across New Jersey love settling down and watching a baseball game unfold over the course of an intriguing evening. It is a favorite pastime and many find it exhilarating, but that excitement ramps up several notches if they have money riding on the outcome. Now that sports betting is legal in the state of New Jersey, MLB wagering is set to go into overdrive.
The Yankees are understandably the most popular team in the state, followed by the Phillies, who are much loved by those in the south of New Jersey, while the Mets also enjoy a strong following. Each team plays an enormous 162 games over the course of an MLB season, and many more if it reaches the playoffs, so baseball fans are rarely short of something to wager on. Garden State residents will never simply stick to wagering on the local teams either, as every single contest can offer a great deal of betting value.
The action comes in thick and fast over the course of a season, and it helps fans to stay on top of developments as new betting lines are published on a daily basis. Here are the main betting categories to be aware of as the MLB season rages on:
A futures bet is a wager on a long-term event, like who will win the World Series. Fans that backed the Houston Astros to seize glory last year would have been laughing all the way to the bank. Houston opened the season at +1500 (15/1 in fractional odds or 16.0 as a decimal) to win the World Series, leaving it behind six other teams in the betting. When you see a plus symbol in a set of odds, it tells you how much you will win from a $100 stake. A $100 pre-season bet on the Astros would have netted you a $1,500 profit, and Houston fans collectively won millions by backing their team.
The odds dropped on Houston over the course of the season as it produced some strong performances and secured emphatic victories. But it remained an underdog throughout the playoffs, yet it eventually prevailed in one of the most exciting, evenly matched and keenly fought series’ in history, clinching Game 7 with a 5-1 victory. The Astros are the favorites to win the World Series once more in 2018, priced at +450 (9/2 or 5.50) . But the Yankees are also at +450, which should generate plenty of excitement among fans in the northern half of the Garden State. For reference, a $20 bet on odds of +450 nets you a profit of $90, while a $1 million bet secures you a profit of $4.5 million, depending on how flush you are feeling!
This is a simple bet on which team will win a particular game, and it is extremely popular in baseball. The sportsbooks will set different odds on each team depending on how talented they are, the form they are in, who is playing at home and other factors like injury lists, motivation levels and the recent head-to-head record between them.
A recent example of a moneyline bet saw the Yankees priced at -160 (63/100 or 1.63) to beat the Tampa Bay Rays, while the Rays had odds of +140 (7/5 or 2.40). When you see a minus symbol in a set of odds, it informs you how much you need to stake in order to win $100. Odds of -160 tell you that you need to wager $160 to win $100, making the Yankees the odds-on favorites in this particular game. The Rays were the underdogs as they carried longer odds. The team with a minus symbol in its odds is always the favorite and expected to beat a team with a plus symbol in its odds, but of course the beauty of the sport is that underdogs often prevail.
This is a handicap spread that skews the odds in one team’s favour. For example, in that Yankees v Rays game, the sportsbooks set the run line at New York -2. In that market the Yankees went from -160 favorites to +175 (7/4 or 2.75) underdogs, as they would have had to win by three or more runs in order for your bet to pay off. This is a fantastic way to get more value when you are confident in a strong team’s ability to secure a comfortable victory. The alternative was to back Tampa Bay +2 at odds of -137 (73/100 or 1.73). That would ensure you were paid out if the Rays either won the game or suffered a narrow defeat, but you would have to accept less attractive odds. You sometimes see alternate lines: for example, some books had New York -1 at +110 (11/10 or 2.10) and New York -3 at +275 (11/4 or 3.75).
This is a great option if you have a strong feeling about whether a game will be high scoring or low scoring. The sportsbooks set an official line and you have to guess whether the total runs in the game will go above or below that figure. In the Yankees v Rays game, the total runs line was 7.5, and you could get pretty similar odds by either backing over or under. You might see alternative lines, such as 6.5 and 8.5, and these can offer longer odds that allow you to make a great profit or shorter odds that boost your chances of success.
Prop bets are special wagers that do not strictly pertain to the result of the game, but hone in on something happening with the contest. A common option is betting on whether or not there will be a run in the first innings, while some fans like to bet on whether the game will go to extra innings. You get more weird and wonderful props during the big games in the World Series – like whether it will snow and whether a fan will streak onto the field – but sensible ones like total runs in the first five innings are typically more attractive for seasoned bettors that want to turn their baseball expertise into profits.
With sports wagering now legal across New Jersey there are numerous available opportunities to place bets on MLB games and series. Stay tuned to find out more on the best places to get your MLB betting fix in New Jersey.