MLB Team Totals Betting Guide, Tips and Strategies

Most of the MLB bettors out there are more focused on betting on who wins or loses or the game total. And while those bettors can have great success, they could have even more by betting MLB team totals.

It is sort of a niche market. Bettors that understand how the market works can take advantage of it and prosper. It all starts with understanding the MLB team totals bet.

MLB Team Totals Bet Explained

When you place a wager on an MLB team total, you are betting on the total number of runs scored by one team independent of the opponent. Let’s take a look at an example.

Boston Red Sox O 4.5 (-120) / Baltimore Orioles O 3.5 (-120)

Boston Red Sox U 4.5 (-110) / Baltimore Orioles U 3.5 (-110)

In a game between the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles, you can wager on Boston to score more or fewer than 4.5 runs. A $110 wager on the Under would pay out $100 if the Red Sox scored four or fewer runs. That wager is completely independent of what Baltimore does.

A bettor could wager on Baltimore’s team total, again completely independent of Boston. A $120 bet on the Over would pay $100 if the Orioles scored four or more runs.

Understanding Key Numbers

In MLB games, the most common final scores are 5, 7, and 9. Roughly 25 to 30 percent of all MLB games end with a final score that totals 5, 7, or 9 runs.

A majority of MLB games these days have a total that is set between 7 and 9. It might make sense to bettors that team totals are then set to reflect the game total. That is not the case and it’s important to understand that.

Under Strategy

In the above Boston-Baltimore example, one would assume that by adding the team totals together we would arrive at the game total. That is not the case.

Red Sox vs. Orioles – Over 8.5 Runs (-110) / Under 8.5 Runs (-110)

If we add 4.5 (Boston) to 3.5 (Baltimore), we arrive at 8 runs. As you can see, the game total is actually set at 8.5. When the two team totals add up to the total or higher, it is usually safe to pay higher juice to go Under on a team total.

If the two team totals add up to half a run less than the total (which is the case here), it is usually safe to go Under as long as the juice is not ridiculously high.

The Juice

The key to finding good team totals bets is finding those with the right juice. Team totals bets are often priced more like proposition bets and come with a higher price tag. It’s common to see vig of -115, -120, or even higher when betting team totals. Finding the right bet at the right price can take some effort, but it’s worth it in the end.

Softer Lines

Team totals will fluctuate just like moneyline odds and totals, but there are plenty of sportsbooks out there that do not update the team totals odds to reflect such a chance.

It pays for bettors to watch for any large moves on a main betting line and then to check if the team totals have been updated. If not, there is the potential of finding value team totals bets.

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Rick Bouch
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