Major League Baseball Line Comparisons: Offshore Sportsbooks vs. New Jersey Brands

Written by:
Don Shapiro
Published on:

For those of you wondering how competitive the new US licensed sportsbooks can be with those located offshore, look no further than Major League Baseball lines.  BetOnline has a true dime line.  As such we will mostly compare the BetOnline line with that of the New Jersey-licensed sports betting sites, keeping in mind that BetOnline tends to offer the best price even offshore.

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Let's take a look at the Rockies-Diamondback line for Wednesday June 19.

The Diamondbacks were seeing the most betting action at around a 75% to 80% clip (ahem Colorado is 16-5 against them over their last 21 games). 

No surprise here: BetOnline featured the best line offshore at Diamondbacks -141

Across the board offshore, most books were sitting between -143 and -145. 

Bovada typically offers favorites at a higher price and a 20 cent line.  In this case, the line was coming in -150 and Colorado was at +130.  BetOnline and other books offered a better price on the dog at between +131 and +135. 

Now let's compare the New Jersey-licensed books.

All, with the exception of Caesars, were offering Arizaona between -149 and -152 (Bet365). 

For those of you unaware, New Jersey imposes a 9.5% tax on retail sportsbooks and 13% tax on mobile, online sports betting.  As such the NJ sportsbooks are limited in the types of promotions (freebies) that can be offered and must also factor these costs into the lines.  This is quite evident with Major League Baseball thus far.

Caesars, for the moment at least, appears willing to eat a good chunk of those costs by offering a line comparable to that of the offshore books, in this case -142 Arizona.  That's actually BetOnline territory.

Now let's look at a true local team, the New York Yankees where the ability to compete is key. 

On this day, they host Tampa Bay as a rare +110 home dog at BetOnline.  CC Sabathia (3-4, 4.42 as of this writing) had dropped three straight for the Yankees coming into this one, though Blake Snell (4-5, 3.70) for the Rays is far from an ace.  It's indeed a bit shocking to find the Rays - as hot as they may be - a -120 favorite offshore.

The line on Tampa Bay offshore was comparable with that of the New Jersey-licensed books, however, a few offshore shops had the Rays as low as -110 (5Dimes). 

Sure enough, its the Yankees backers who get squeazed in the New Jersey/New York market.

Again, Caesars is among the lone exceptions offering the Yankees at +110 (FanDuel does have the same price).  Most of the NJ books had New York paying EVEN odds ($10 for every $10 bet).  Nearly all the offshore books would pay $11 for every $10 bet.

The Mets-Braves game featured a price of Atlanta -161 at William Hill in New Jersey.  BetOnline had the price at -150 but were beaten by a few of their own offshore competitors offering the Braves as low as -147. Whereas the Mets would pay $13.50 for every $10 bet with a win at most NJ sites, BetOnline would pay out $14.  That may not seem like a huge difference, but over the season this all adds up.

The line variances are most pronounced with big favorites such as the Houston Astros.  In their game against the Reds, the line was coming in -215 most books in New Jersey while some of the offshore books had the number as low as -188. 

Offshore books also tend to offer great value on overnight lines. 

The Tigers-Pirates game, for example, opened overnight at Pittsburgh -114 (BetOnline).  New Jersey books, with few exceptions, opened at -130.

With better bonuses and better lines, offshore sportsbooks still offer the best value when compared to the US-licensed sports wagering sites bar none.

- Don Shapiro, Gambling911.com

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