Inside Vegas: Big arms don’t equal big money

There aren’t many cardinal rules in sports betting. Not blindly betting on starting pitching is one of them.

To understand why, we must first understand how a baseball line works. Unlike basketball or football, there is no point spread. Favorites are established by money lines. So if Roy Halladay is taking on Clayton Richard, you would have to risk somewhere around $300 just to win $100.

Halladay started 33 games a year ago, compiling one of the best seasons in recent memory. He had a 2.44 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and struck out 219 batters. But the Phillies won just 22 of those games. So even though Halladay was dominant, bettors had to swallow big losses 11 times.
If you bet on Halladay every time last season, you only turned a very small profit.

Cheat sheet

Three tips for betting on baseball this season:

1 Look for four-game sweeps — It’s uncommon when a team sweeps a three-game set. But a four-game sweep is downright difficult. Bet against it.

2 Don’t be afraid of bad teams — Last year, the 76-85 Astros won bettors 1,249 units, sixth-best in the league. Meanwhile, the 86-76 Cardinals lost bettors 2,011 units, fourth-worst. The relative strength of a team is built into the money line.

3 Home team matters — Think it doesn’t matter where a game is played? Think again. Last year, MLB teams combined for a 1357-1073 record at home. That’s a 55.8 winning percentage for the team that bats last.

MLB props

Adrian Gonzalez to win AL MVP
Look at A-Gonz’s road splits. Now finally out of Petco Park, he is a strong bet to have a career year.

Ryan Howard to win home runs
Howard is the third choice to hit the most jacks behind Adam Dunn and Albert Pujols. But he is the only one of the three to ever hit 50 in a season.

CC Sabathia to win AL?Cy Young
Durability is a virtue. Sabathia has started 34 or more games four straight years and is a lock to contend for the league lead in wins.

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