EDITORS NOTE: The late GamingToday columnist and author Huey Mahl wrote informative baseball articles nearly a generation ago that still apply. In Mahl’s memory and as a service to our readers we revived his successful gaming advice over the past few months. This final installment pieces together the very best of Huey.
Chances are that if you broke Huey Mahl’s work into a Ten Commandments of Betting, our odds of winning would improve markedly.
1. Baseball Betting: The root of all betting relationships is the probabilities inherent with the event (aka the probability of both winning and losing). Mathematicians have scaled the probability factor on a scale of 0 to 1. Zero means no probable chance of ever occurring. One is absolutely, most certainly it will happen. A team having a 75 percent chance of winning is about the most blatant mismatch you’ll find in normal baseball wagering situations.
2. Handicapping the chart: Some players work from data bases consisting of almost every conceivable stat that can be downloaded or manually entered by keyboard. Most of these put large emphasis on pitcher matchups. All must ultimately end up determining a so-called "percent chance" figure for a team in the matchup.
3. Money lines: Consists of two quotes. One is on the favorite lay bet. The other is on the underdog take bet. Both straddle what the bookie would consider his "true" line, which is a balanced "break even" ratio of action on both sides. The straddle is the handicapper’s commission (vigorish) for doing business.
4. Parlays: In baseball, they are based on the money line (not plus or minus 1Â½ runs). The payoffs are true to the odds quotes. That’s unlike point spread affairs where parlays pay a fixed 13/5. Two-team parlays are the most popular.
5. 1Â½ run line: One need only look at a consensus of box scores to realize the preponderance of one-run scores. It is the run-line bugaboo for favorite bettors when they must lay 1Â½ runs. Most bookies disallow parlays from run-line quotes to the regular money-line quotes on the same game.
6. Value: When one shops for value, it’s like going to the supermarket. One buys the can of beans where the price is best. Value is like beauty, it is in the eyes of the beholder. Value is an overlay.
7. Bookie’s true odds: The bookie’s action percentage ratio varies with each bet taken. However, a precise true odds reading can be taken at any time. True odds is determined by taking the percentage bet on the favorite and dividing that by 100 minus the same percentage.
8. Considerations: Should books decide to move lines either up or down, they would hopefully get their quotes straddle within the preferred percentage action range. This move should discourage sided action and attract money on the other side from the bettors.
9. Totals: Bookies don’t like to move the totals number in baseball. The thought being that this way the books would avoid being middled. Totals generally vary from a low of 5 to a high of 15. Most often the posted number is between 7 and 11. Totals for the American League average about one run higher than the National due to the designated hitter rule.
10. Money management: A bet is a bet and the placement depends on the stipulation of the proposition weighed against the attendant risk from a probability standpoint. The only qualification is that one’s selection proficiency shows a positive expectancy over a reasonable number of trials.