Wednesday, April 30, 2008 | 2 a.m.
- Best bets in baseball (4-1-2008)
- Other betting lines and propositions to watch throughout the baseball season (4-1-2008)
- In baseball betting, dime is of the essence (5-12-2004)
This baseball season, 13 of the 20 distinct sports books in the Las Vegas Valley are employing some form of a 10-cent line, or “dime line,” the most competitive and sought-after wagering structure in baseball betting.
With a baseball dime line, bettors have to risk only $1.05 to win $1 on either team in a game that’s evenly matched according to oddsmakers. If the favored team is listed at minus-140 (risk $1.40 to win $1), for example, the underdog would be plus-130 (risk $1 to net $1.30) on a dime line. The term “dime line” comes from the 10-cent gap, or “straddle,” between the $1.40 and the $1.30 in this example.
Other books use a 15-cent baseball line, giving themselves a bigger cushion to work with. If the favorite is minus-140, the underdog would be plus-125 on a 15-cent line.
Still others use a 20-cent baseball line. If the favored team is minus-140, the underdog would be plus-120 on a 20-cent line. A 20-cent line is the industry standard on most other sports, including football and basketball.
In an evenly matched baseball game on a dime line, the casino’s theoretical advantage, or “house edge,” is about 2.3 percent. Gamblers betting into a 20-cent line on the same game would have to overcome a house edge of about 4.5 percent.
That’s a significant difference to baseball bettors, who in 2007 collectively risked more than $528 million on baseball wagering in Nevada casinos, according to the state Gaming Control Board. That figure represents 20 percent of the nearly $2.6 billion wagered last year in the state’s sports books.
Casinos “held,” or won, about 4.8 percent of the money bet on baseball last season, or nearly $25.4 million, according to the Gaming Control Board.
For avid or high-rolling baseball bettors, betting into a dime line as opposed to a 15-cent or 20-cent line can easily save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in the course of a season.
Playing into a dime line can also benefit smaller bettors, such as a gambler who risks $10 a pop on three-team parlays.
For example, consider a three-team parlay made up of three underdogs in games in which the favorite is minus-140.
Betting into a dime line, our $10 parlay player would net $111.66 if his three ’dogs were to come in.
Betting into a 15-cent line, he would net $103.90 — or nearly an entire betting unit less.
Betting into a 20-cent line, he would net only $96.48 — or more than 1 1/2 betting units less than if he had been using a dime line.
Following is a rundown of which baseball betting lines can be found at Las Vegas sports books in 2008:
Strong dime lines
Sports books using the strongest dime lines don’t “break” the 10-cent straddle until the price on the favored team approaches minus-200. Only then do they switch to a less favorable straddle, usually a 15-cent or 20-cent line.
Strong baseball dime lines are available at Boyd/Coast properties, Cal Neva, the Las Vegas Hilton, Leroy’s, the Palms, the Plaza and South Point/El Cortez.
If the favored team is listed at minus-170, for instance, the underdog will be plus-160 at these joints.
All other factors being equal, these are the best places to bet baseball this season.
Modified dime lines
These weaker dime lines start out as 10-cent lines, but “break” to a less competitive structure sooner, usually when the favorite is listed in the range of minus-140 to minus-170.
Sports books using this form of a dime line are the Golden Nugget, Rampart/Cannery, Station Casinos properties, Stratosphere/Arizona Charlie’s properties, Terrible’s and Wynn Las Vegas.
For example, at the Wynn, if the favored team is minus-155, expect the underdog to be plus-140 rather than plus-145.
Caesars Entertainment properties, Jerry’s Nugget and the Venetian use a 15-cent line. If the favored team is minus-120, expect the underdog to be plus-105.
Casinos dealing a 20-cent baseball line are the Hard Rock, MGM Mirage properties, Planet Hollywood and Poker Palace. In an evenly matched game, each team would be listed at minus-110.
This is the least competitive form of a baseball betting line. It doesn’t mean you’ll never find the price you’re seeking at one of these sports books. It means these books are working with a heftier built-in profit margin than their competitors in baseball betting — a situation that’s good for the house, bad for the gambler.
Jeff Haney can be reached at 259-4041 or at [email protected]