When most people think of baseball betting, they envision making a bet that is taken by a sportsbook. The bettor makes a wager on the outcome of a game, and is paid their winnings if their team wins. This is the most common way of wagering on sports; it’s simple and easy, with one side responsible for making the line and the bettor simply picking the games where they like the odds.
However, there is another form of sports betting that has become much more popular in recent years, thanks in large part to the availability of online betting.
Unlike when betting on baseball at a standard sportsbook, a betting exchange allows you to both make bets and accept them from other players (provided you can afford to pay those bets off). You can also choose what odds to give or accept; however, like any financial market, players will quickly come to an agreement about where the odds should be set, at least approximately. Anyone looking to set odds worse than those offered by most of the other gamblers in the market is unlikely to see their bets be taken.
Here is how a typical baseball market might work. Looking at tonight’s matchups, the Los Angeles Dodgers are facing the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies are set as a heavy favorite – somewhere around -182, while the Dodgers are a significant underdog, fetching about +160.
At a betting exchange, you could back either side of this bet, but only if there was another player out there willing to cover the bet. While those bets are available, there may be a very limited amount of money you can bet on them. However, being willing to take slightly worse odds – such as +158 on the Dodgers – will allow you to wager much more money, since there are many more bettors willing to give you that action.
Similarly, you may choose to lay odds on either side of the bet as well – putting a bet out there that other players can choose to take. However, keep in mind that you will have to offer slightly more generous odds than those you’d get by taking a bet. The difference can be seen as something of a commission; it is how the market site makes its money, since they do not directly take bets from players. In this example, in order to lay a bet on the Phillies, you’d have to be willing to pay -161 to a winning gambler, or +182 to someone who would take the Dodgers.
How favorable betting markets and exchanges are for bettors is a difficult question to answer. Perhaps the best way to look at them is simply to see baseball markets as yet another line to consider when you want to wager on a game. If you can back a bet at an exchange at odds that are better than at a standard sportsbook, it makes perfect sense to do so; you should always be seeking the best odds possible.
Choosing whether or not to lay odds at a betting exchange is a little trickier. Because you will typically be forced to give slightly better odds than a sportsbook would, you probably won’t find many spots where laying odds is a great deal for you. However, if the idea of playing the bookie appeals to you, it can be worth looking into laying the odds from time to time. Unlike a real sportsbook, you won’t have to take bets on every event that takes place; you can just find a few spots where the odds you offer are still good enough that you expect to make a profit by taking action – a nice way to increase your bankroll off the poor handicapping abilities of other bettors.