One thing unusual about baseball is that pitching dominates. When you bet on a baseball game, the usual procedure is for your bet to have action only if both announced starting pitchers throw at least one pitch. If either or both announced starting pitchers do not start the game, then all bets on that game have no action.
If you want your bet to have action even if there is a change in starting pitchers, then specify “action” as you are making your bet. If there is a change of a starting pitcher, the terms of your bet will be changed to whatever the sportsbook establishes for the new pitcher. Here’s the way one book explains it:
In the event of pitcher(s) change prior to the start of a baseball game, money odds may be adjusted. If one scheduled pitcher starts against an unscheduled pitcher, “action” and live “one specified pitcher” wagers will be computed at the opening price established with the new pitcher.
So if you bet baseball and your team loses, check to be sure who were the starting pitchers before writing off your ticket as worthless.
If you are betting on the Internet, on the total you might see a number with an “o” or a “u” after it, for example 9.5u or 9o. If there is a u, that means the total is more likely to go under. If there is an o, that means the total is more likely to go over.
If there is no o or u attached to the total, the terms are understood to be -110 whether you bet the over or under. If there is an o, meaning over is more likely, then the terms for the over are -120 and the under is even money. If there is a u, meaning under is more likely, then the terms for the over are even money and the under is -120.
Baseball also has run lines on games in which one team is a big favorite. The run line typically adds 1.5 runs to one team or subtracts 1.5 runs from the other team. For example, if the line on the game is Padres +155, Rockies -170, the run line might be Padres +1.5 runs -110, Rockies -1.5 runs -110.
You can bet on which teams are going to be league champions, and which is going to win the World Series.
Basketball bets are arranged similarly to football bets. Each game has the visiting team on top and the home team on the bottom. The smaller number to the right of a team name is the spread and is to the right of the favorite; the larger number is the total and is to the right of the dog.
Basketball also has money lines; they are listed to the right of the spreads and totals.
You can bet on which team is going to be the NBA Champion.
On most games, ice hockey does not use spreads. You can bet the money line, and you can bet the total. If one team is a big favorite, then the sportsbook might offer a puck line, for which the explanation is the same as for baseball’s run line above.
Hockey totals use the same o/u system as does baseball.