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Beginner MLB DFS: Sportsbook lines

We continue our breakdown of the basics for MLB DFS. In this section, we look at sportsbook lines, with definitions and some basic strategy.

Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers prepares for a spring training game against the Los Angeles Angels at Camelback Ranch on February 26, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

In daily fantasy baseball, like in most things, getting the fundamentals down is integral toward laying a foundation of knowledge to build from as you progress as a player. For DFS, that means knowing what the sportsbooks predict for each MLB game.

Sportsbook lines

Definition

Many DFS players have dabbled in wagering in the past, so have some exposure to game lines — but if you haven’t, it can be confusing. There are two main numbers we will look at, the over/under for total runs and the money line. The total will give us projected runs for each team while the money line is a number that represents how likely a team is to win a game. The lower the number, the bigger the favorite. A team with a line of -200 is likely to win, whereas one with a line of +200 is likely to lose.

Strategy

Total points

The higher the number the better. You’ll see a range around 6 total run to 12 and then that number can be taken down to each individual team based on the odds. Picking hitters from the highest projected scoring teams is common sense, but it is also useful. Stacking hitters from higher scoring teams while using pitchers against the lowest predicted scoring teams on average is a useful strategy.

Money line

The better the money line for a team, the better chance their starting pitcher will get the win, which also means a good amount of innings pitched. We want to accentuate strikeouts as well, but being put in a strong position to win and get innings is a good place to start looking for pitching.

Pitcher props

A prop bet is a wager on a specific event within a game, rather than the winner or loser of the game. Pitcher props give us a more individualized projection for each game. There are hitter props, but only for the top players. They can be helpful in looking for high-upside hitters, but you should be able to find player props for each starting pitcher, giving you a better overall view. Strikeout over/under totals is a good way to see how the sportsbook sees strikeout upside for each slate and is a good source for selecting your pitchers.