A total bet in baseball is the total number of runs that will occur in a game. Ordinarily players chose a specific total number, usually between 7 and 12, and they bet that the number of runs will be above or below their chosen number.
MLB bettors bet totals regardless of the defensive performance of one team and the offensive performance of the other. This reduces the number of variables that they need to consider when coming up with the right totals number and end up losing money.
The Key Numbers
So, which are the magic numbers to make a total bet in MLB? The statistics show that key numbers for MLB totals are 7, 9 and 11 because a third of all games in the MLB end with those final scores (7, 9 and 11). The reason for this is because tied games with the scores 3-3, 4-4 or 5-5 usually end with one more run in the final innings scored by the winner.
This is nothing new to experienced bettors and oddsmakers, but to those that are getting into MLB betting this can be precious information when they bet on totals. Moreover, oddsmakers will rarely replace these lines with other because they know they are the most common, so instead they give bigger juice.
For example, if a huge amount of bets are placed on a total of 7 with odds -115, instead of making the total 7.5, they just raise the juice to -125. The only time when they will raise the total by a 0.5 is when the odds have reached -130, because rarely the oddsmakers raise the odds higher than that. As much as they don’t like adding the 0.5 to the totals, they are forced to do so at some point and this is why it is important that you check the earliest odds posted, because that is when you get the best value.
Let’s make an example of such a situation. You have a game where you want to bet the over, but the total is set at 8.5. As we mentioned above the most common totals are 7, 9 and 11, so all you need to do is to lock the 8.5 over as soon as you see the line posted. If you wait longer than you have to the line will jump to 9 and instead of a win you get a push. If you want to bet the under, then it would be wise to wait for the total to jump by 0.5 to 9. It is all about thinking smart and paying attention.
But, to get the idea of how the line will move based on where the majority of bets are coming in, you just have to look at the juice for under and over. A good indication is the side that has you paying a higher bet amount. If the juice for under is +100 and -120 for over where the total is set at 8.5 as in the example above, lock the over bet. If you like the under, just wait to see if it will go up to 9.
Buying a 0.5 increases your chances of winning but you will have to accept the risk of losing more while spending a bit more. But if you play it right, you are sure to end up as the winner most of the times. Buy the 0.5 point only when the total is set at one of the key numbers mentioned above. If the total is set at 6, 8 and 10, buying a 0.5 (6.5, 8.5 and 10.5) won’t do you any good.