Baseball bettors held their own in 2014.
Nevada sportsbooks held a very low 2.95 percent of the $722 million wagered on baseball last year, the lowest hold percentage of any sport tracked by Nevada Gaming Control since the 2004 baseball season. The books still managed a $21.29 million profit on baseball last year, but it was the smallest win since 2011 and a 26.7 percent decrease from 2013.
Moneyline odds are the most common way to bet on baseball; they are based on a $100 bet. For example, the Chicago Cubs were minus-112 favorites to beat the St. Louis Cardinals in Sunday's opener. A bettor would need to risk $112 to win $100. The sportsbooks take their cut on the underdog, as betting $100 on the Cardinals last night, for example, would have netted $102.
Here is an odds-and-ends look at the baseball betting market as we enter the 2015 season:
If you bet $100 ...
(The following assume a standard minus-110 vig)
• If you bet $100 on the Cubs in every regular-season game since 2005, you lost $10,581, by far the worst mark in baseball. The Cubs have posted a season profit on the money line only once (2008) in the last 10 seasons. (More money has been bet on the Cubs to win the World Series in 2015 than any other team at multiple Las Vegas sports books.)
• The Baltimore Orioles were the best bet last season. If you bet $100 on the 2014 Orioles in every game, you won $3,188; no other team finished up more than $1,400.
• The Arizona Diamondbacks were the worst bet last season. If you bet $100 on the Diamondbacks in every game in 2014, you lost $2,797.
• The Los Angeles Angels have been the best bet over the last 10 seasons. If you bet $100 on the Angels in every regular-season game since 2005, you won $6,976. The Oakland Athletics have been the second-best investment of the last decade. The A's are up $3,546 on the money line since 2005.
• If you bet $100 on every regular-season underdog since 2005, you are down $29,384. If you bet $100 on every regular-season favorite, you are down $47,837.
• Orioles starter Chris Tillman was the most profitable starter to back last season. A $100 bet on the Orioles in each of Tillman's 33 starts won you $1,404.
• Jeff Samardzija was the most costly starter to back in 2014. If you bet $100 on the Cubs and A's in each of his 33 starts last season, you lost $1,418.
• Edwin Jackson was the most costly starter to back since 2005. If you bet $100 on Jackson's teams in every one of his 253 starts, you are down $4,003.
• The Toronto Blue Jays have been the best home bet over the last 10 seasons. If you bet $100 on the Blue Jays in every regular-season home game since 2005, you won $2,301.
• The Cubs have been the worst home bet over the last 10 seasons. A $100 bet on the Cubs in each of their home games since 2005 would have cost you $6,356.
• The Angels have been the best road bet over the last 10 seasons. If you bet $100 on the Angels in each of their road games since 2005, you're up $5,972.
• The Colorado Rockies have been the worst road bet over the last 10 seasons. If you bet $100 on the Rockies in each of their road games since 2004, you're down $10,104.
• The Angels have been the best underdog to bet over the last 10 seasons. If you bet $100 on the Angels in each of the 557 games in which they were the underdog since 2005, you would have netted $6,448.
• The Houston Astros have been worst underdog to bet over the last 10 seasons. If you bet $100 on the Astros in each of the 1,139 games they were the underdog in since 2005, you are down $7,439.
• Since 2005, 35 teams have been underdogs of plus-300 or greater. A $100 bet on the underdog in each of those games would have put you up $1,247. In 2007, the Washington Nationals were plus-395 underdogs to the Minnesota Twins; that's the largest money line in the last 10 years, according to BetLabs on SportsInsights.com.
• The St. Louis Cardinals have been the best bet in April over the last 10 seasons. If you had bet $100 on the Cardinals in each of their April games since 2005, you'd be up $2,670.
• The San Diego Padres have been the worst bet in April over the last 10 seasons. If you bet $100 on the Padres in each of their April games since 2005, you are down $3,379.
Most money wagered to win 2015 World Series
(Top five teams to win the World Series by money wagered at William Hill)
1. Chicago Cubs
4. Washington Nationals
Umps to know
• Brian O'Nora called the highest percentage (17.77) of strikes on pitches that were outside of the zone in 2014, according to BaseballSavant.com. Twenty of O'Nora's 28 games behind home plate stayed under the total, with one push. O'Nora's games averaged 6.8 runs.
Other "under" umps in 2014: Kerwin Danley (6-20-2), Tony Randazzo (4-15-1) and Chris Guccione (9-19).
• Over the last four seasons, Paul Emmel has called the highest percentage of games that have eclipsed the over/under total. Emmel is 69-45 over/under behind home plate since 2010.
Other "over" umps: Dana DeMuth (67-49), Sam Holbrook (52-37) and Tim McClelland (53-35).
Three big long-shot tickets
(Notable World Series futures bets at William Hill)
• $2,500 on the San Diego Padres at 40-1, placed Jan. 15.
• $2,000 on the New York Mets at 50-1, placed Oct. 30.
• $550 on the Minnesota Twins at 125-1, placed Jan. 1.
Season and player prop betting
(The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened season and player props in mid-February. Here are the props that featured the most odds movement)
• The over/under on most hits by any player during the regular season opened at 207.5. It closed at 211.5.
• The over/under on most stolen bases by any player opened at 61.5. It closed at 64.5.
• The over/under on most strikeouts thrown by any pitcher opened at 258.5. It closed at 262.5.
Player bets (regular-season hits)
• The over/under on Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon opened at 154.5. It dropped to 144.5.
• The over/under on Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval dropped from 156.5 to 149.5.
• The over/under on Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve opened at 181.5. It was bet up to 186.5 as of Sunday.
Player bets (regular-season home runs)
• The over/under on Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion opened at 34.5, but was down to 32.5 by Sunday.
• The over/under on Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo dropped from 31.5 to 29.5.
• The over/under on Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols dropped from 26.5 to 24.5.
Statistical information from BetLabs on SportsInsights.com, OddsShark.com and BaseballSavant.com.