Lets start with a question. Which of these bets would you prefer to place?

**$300 to win $100** on a heavy favorite (-300) with a 75% chance of winning. **$150 to win $100** on a medium favorite (-150) with a 60% chance of winning**$100 to win $200** on an underdog (+200) with a 33.33% chance of winning

This is a trick question; the correct answer is that each scenario is essentially the same with an expected return of $0.

In scenario ‘a’, 75% of the time you win $100 but you lose $300 the other 25%.

Expected return = (.75 * 100) – (.25 * 300) = 75 – 75 = 0

In scenario ‘b’, 60% of the time you win $100 but you lose $150 the other 40%.

Expected return = (.60 * 100) – (.40 * 150) = 60 – 60 = 0

In scenario ‘c’, 33.33% of the time you win $200 but you lose $100 the other 66.66%.

Expected return = (.3333 * 200) – (.6666 * 100) = 66.66 – 66.66 = 0

I think you can see the pattern here. To calculate the percentage of wins required to break-even for any moneyline use the following formula:

**Required Win % = Amount Risked / (Amount Risked + Amount of Win)**

E.g.: a line of –110 implies a risk of $110 to win $100 so….

Required win % = 110 / (110 + 100) = 110/210 = 52.38%

I can hear the collective groan from here as you remember why you hated high school algebra but I implore you to spend a few minutes on this if you want to be profitable at baseball or any other sport. However, let me save you a lot of work by adding in the following chart:

Moneyline | Loss | Win | Win %Required |

-320 | -320 | 100 | 76.19% |

-300 | -300 | 100 | 75.00% |

-280 | -280 | 100 | 73.68% |

-270 | -270 | 100 | 72.97% |

-260 | -260 | 100 | 72.22% |

-250 | -250 | 100 | 71.43% |

-240 | -240 | 100 | 70.59% |

-230 | -230 | 100 | 69.70% |

-220 | -220 | 100 | 68.75% |

-210 | -210 | 100 | 67.74% |

-200 | -200 | 100 | 66.67% |

-180 | -180 | 100 | 64.29% |

-170 | -170 | 100 | 62.96% |

-160 | -160 | 100 | 61.54% |

-150 | -150 | 100 | 60.00% |

-140 | -140 | 100 | 58.33% |

-130 | -130 | 100 | 56.52% |

-120 | -120 | 100 | 54.55% |

-110 | -110 | 100 | 52.38% |

-105 | -105 | 100 | 51.22% |

-100 | -100 | 100 | 50.00% |

105 | -100 | 105 | 48.78% |

110 | -100 | 110 | 47.62% |

120 | -100 | 120 | 45.45% |

130 | -100 | 130 | 43.48% |

140 | -100 | 140 | 41.67% |

150 | -100 | 150 | 40.00% |

160 | -100 | 160 | 38.46% |

170 | -100 | 170 | 37.04% |

180 | -100 | 180 | 35.71% |

200 | -100 | 200 | 33.33% |

210 | -100 | 210 | 32.26% |

220 | -100 | 220 | 31.25% |

230 | -100 | 230 | 30.30% |

240 | -100 | 240 | 29.41% |

250 | -100 | 250 | 28.57% |

260 | -100 | 260 | 27.78% |

270 | -100 | 270 | 27.03% |

280 | -100 | 280 | 26.32% |

290 | -100 | 290 | 25.64% |

300 | -100 | 300 | 25.00% |

**“Why is this important?”** you ask. Simple. Every time you look at a moneyline, you need to know what winning % you need to break even. If you expect the –300 favorite from scenario a to win 80% of the time, than you’ve got a betting opportunity. If you expect a win only 70% of the time, than you should pass and move on to analyzing the next game.

Although handicappers shy away from big favorites, you don’t have to. Looking back at the first month of the season, I see the Yankees closed as a –210 favorite or higher on twelve occasions. They won 10 of those games. Betting to win $100 on those 12 games would have meant risking a total of $2915 but would have made you $435, a decent return of 14.9%. I am sure I could look through a few other teams and find example where risking the big juice would have resulted in losses, but my point is that you do not need to avoid games just because the moneylines are big. You might choose to, but you don’t have to.

Remember that it doesn’t matter how big the price or how much you get back as long as you know where the break-even point is. Keep this in mind the next time someone says “I never lay more than -140 on a baseball game.” You can now tell them when they should.