Oddsmakers and the MLB Playoffs



The Major League Baseball Playoffs start on Wednesday, and will run through the next few weeks.

Oddsmakers have some interesting challenges when posting moneylines and totals in these games. I wanted to review those for you so you can evaluate the options properly with your day-to-day selections.

The public is much more involved in the playoffs and World Series than they are the regular season. So, oddsmakers are much more focused on shading against public tendencies. That means:

*You'll pay a premium if you want to bet on a big city franchise. The Yankees may win every game, but they're never going to be a bargain on the moneyline. Squares (the general public) love betting on the Yankees. They have a storied history. They're thought of as champions no matter who has been winning World Series the past several years. Derek Jeter has become the single most celebrated player in the game...while Alex Rodriguez may be the single most despised. But, he's despised because he's a star on a winner!

Philadelphia of the National League doesn't get the line respect the Yankees of the American League do for the most part. But, it was starting to get that way late in the season when one of the Phillies' aces was on the mound. You won't get any bargains this month with Roy Halladay, and probably not with Roy Oswalt either.

*You'll pay a premium if you want to bet on the home team. Squares think home field advantage is huge in the playoffs. Historically, it's nothing special. Every so often you get a series where the home team wins every game. Not enough to justify the support squares give to home teams though. Really, the only time you WON'T be paying a premium for a home team is when somebody is hosting the Yankees, or maybe the Phils and Halladay.

*You'll pay a premium if you want to bet the Over. Squares like rooting for scoring to happen. That's true in all sports, even baseball. They figure they'll have to sweat an Under all night if they bet it, and that's no fun. A big inning can happen at any time.

Some of the best playoff bets are historically pitchers duels because you're getting high quality arms and a manageable total. You'll see a 2-1 finish that won't get anywhere near the Vegas line. If you want to bet on a quality pitcher, an Under can be the most affordable way to do that.

*Public money is more an issue in night games than in day games. Squares will treat an evening playoff game like it's football. They're going to watch. They want to root for something while they watch. Day games? Who's going to take off work to run to a sportsbook to get a game they won't watch anyway? If you're monitoring line moves to try and discern 'sharp' action (moves created by money from professional wagerers), assume moves in day games are sharp moves...and late day moves in night games are coming from a public bandwagon effect.

*Should a public team, or a home team, have lost their prior game, you'll REALLY pay a premium if you want to back them. Everyone wants to bet the bounce back. They've heard from announcers for decades that great teams always bounce back from a loss. In a 'must win' game, the public will be all over the team that has to win. Oddsmakers know this and charge a premium for the right to do so. If this is something you're prone to do yourself, BE CAREFUL! There's rarely any value in the price, even if the team does happen to get the bounce back victory. Laying -200 when a line should be -150 isn't smart even if it happens to work out.

Clearly, with all of these premiums in play, you should be able to find out where the value is. Bet against the flow!

Playoff moneylines are based on a combination of reality, perceptions, and the premiums that are charged to punish the public. If you want to beat the bases this month, you need to do a good job of:

*Figuring out how the teams and starting pitchers REALLY stand against each other.

*Figuring out which 'perceptions' are out of place because fans and the media have been paying too much attention to football lately and not enough to baseball.

*Putting those premiums in your favor instead of trying to overcome them.

Best of luck this week and this month if you're a do-it-yourself. If you'd like some help, my BASEBALL BEST BETS will be available daily throughout the postseason here at the website. You can also sign up for the full postseason at a great rate and get locked in ahead of time for every single release. If you have any questions about adding baseball to an existing football package, call the office at 1-877-822-2276.

Whatever the sport...whatever's at stake...the best information is going to come to you DIRECT FROM NEVADA!

This article is part of the VSM MASTERS SERIES presented by VegasSportsMasters.com. For more information on NICK BOGDANOVICH'S handicapping packages, call 1-877-822-2276.


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