How to Bet on Baseball Games
How to Bet on Baseball Games
Lore tells us that Abner Doubleday, a future general for the Union army in the American Civil War, invented baseball in 1839 in Cooperstown, New York. In the more than 100 years since the Mills Commission made that determination in 1907, we have learned that it is far more likely that baseball descended from English sports like stoolball and rounders, and base-ball (as it was called) was first played in Colonial America decades before Doubleday was even born.
Still, no one in the world has embraced baseball like America, even though every continent on Earth, with Antarctica being the lone exception, has countries with professional baseball leagues.
It is the National Pastime. And even though it may not feature the same fast pace of sports like basketball and hockey, or the same passion you find in football, when it comes to sports betting, baseball is second to no one.
MLB Season Structure
With the exception of the days on either side of the All-Star Game in July, every day, from when the baseball season opens at the end of March to when the regular season finishes at the end of September, there are baseball games to bet. And even during the All-Star break, you can place bets on the home run derby.
That’s 2,430 regular-season games played by 30 Major League Baseball teams, crammed into six months of sports betting. And then in October, we get the MLB postseason, which begins with the wildcard, played right after the regular season concludes, and ends with the best-of-seven World Series that finishes a day or two on either side of Halloween.
Baseball fans know never to get too high and never get too low because there is always another game tomorrow. For baseball bettors, the same measured philosophy also proves valuable.
Types of Single-Game Baseball Bets
Because of the relatively low scoring of baseball, as compared to other team sports like basketball and football, the standard single-game baseball bet is made on the moneyline. The most common margin of victory in baseball is one run, so a simple win/loss bet is often the best way to go.
Moneyline odds for baseball will look like this:
- Giants (+135)
- Dodgers (-155)
For every $100 you bet on the Giants to win this game, you can win $135. Or $10 returns $13.5. Or you will win $1.35 for each $1 wagered.
The Dodgers, as the favorite, require a bet of $155 in order to win $100. For every $1 you hope to win, you will need to wager $1.55.
If the game is rained out or postponed for any other reason, all bets are returned.
Betting on baseball is fun. And sometimes, it becomes too much fun to limit your betting to just one game at a time. That’s where parlays come in, where you can combine multiple games and bets into one large bet with a big payday.
You may have seen the standard parlay chart that shows you the increases in winnings as the number of games in the parlay increases. That’s good to know for football and basketball point spread bets, where the odds are fairly fixed. In baseball, however, you’re always playing the odds, so there are no standardized parlay payouts.
If you combine three teams that are all underdogs into a parlay, that bet will naturally pay more than a three-team parlay that involves all favorites.
This actually makes baseball parlays better bets than many other parlays. A three-team parlay in football will pay 6 to 1, which is a fixed payout that is less than the actual risk of the bet. But since a three-team baseball parlay is calculated from the odds of each game you’re playing, the odds better reflect the total risk.
This isn’t to say that in baseball parlays, the advantage goes to the bettor. It doesn’t. The house still loves parlays, even on baseball, because the house usually wins. But relative to betting parlays on football and basketball, baseball parlays are a better bet.
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Baseball prop bets are best described as individual or team bets that take place inside a game or season, but winning or losing the bet is not determined by the outcome of the game or season.
Proposition bets come in two main forms: short-term props and long-term props.
Examples of short-term prop bets include: Which starting pitcher will get the most strikeouts in the game? Who will score the first run? Over/Under on total hits. Will a run score in the 1st inning? In the 9th inning?
Proposition bets will also feature player vs. player matchups that extend beyond just the starting pitchers. An example would be in an Angels vs. Yankees matchup – most total bases, Mike Trout or Aaron Judge?
Long-term proposition bets can include: Who will finish the season with the most home runs? Over/Under of Gerritt Cole’s season strikeout total. Over/Under on the Twins season home runs. How many players in the National League will hit above .300?
As with other sports, the bigger the stage, the more prop bets are offered, with the World Series featuring a long list of propositions that are both fun to play and potentially profitable.
A futures bet is a wager on an event or outcome that won’t be determined until some time in the future. Futures have become an extremely popular way to bet on baseball, and they come in two major categories: Team futures and player futures.
Team futures bets include: World Series Champion, winner of the American and National League pennants, Over/Under on win totals for each team, division winners, etc.
Player prop bets include: Winners of the American and National League MVP awards, Cy Young winners for each league, and Rookie of the Year Award winners in the A.L. and N.L., etc.
Live Baseball Betting
When engaging in live betting on baseball, even though the pace of the game may feel slower than what you see in basketball, the betting is not.
Like other sports, you can bet on the outcome of the game, with the odds changing for each team as each batter comes to the plate. As the score and innings change, so do your options for wagering. But with the ability to wager on per-inning results and individual at-bats, new bets can hit the board every 20 or 30 seconds.
Live betting is exclusively the domain of online or mobile betting. There are simply too many changes happening, and too often, for this type of betting to be practical in an in-person setting. The changing odds and wagers are also done by a computer, making them the purest odds available for baseball wagering since there are no personal biases included.
Baseball Betting Strategies
No sport changes from night to night more than baseball. A team can get blown out one night by the last-place team, only to get a dominant win against a first-place team the next night. And the reason for this is that no single player in sports can influence the outcome of a game more than a starting pitcher.
The first thing that any good baseball bettor does is examine the pitching matchup. This is the foundation for all baseball wagers. How does that pitcher do against the opponent? How many days of rest do they have? How do they pitch on that amount of rest? How do they pitch in that stadium? How have they been pitching of late?
Don’t ever place a baseball bet without first thoroughly learning about each starting pitcher.
It’s also important to note that more than any other sport, baseball relies on luck. Players can hit a line drive right at a fielder or barely make contact but have the ball drop into an open spot. So just as a player’s batting average evens itself out over time, so does your baseball betting. Volume is key. The more you bet, the more the luck evens itself out.
It’s also important to note that divisional underdogs make for good bets. The more teams play each other, the closer the games tend to be. So while a bad team in interleague play may be a sure loss, it is far less of a sure thing when a bad team is playing inside its division.
Be sure to examine the intangibles. Alongside that sportsbook app, you just downloaded, also download a weather app. If that starting pitcher you’re relying on is going to be hit by an hour rain delay in the 3rd inning, he’s no longer as valuable. Handicap the home plate umpires too. Some have big strike zones, while others are small. Know how it will change the approach of each pitcher.
Where to Bet on Baseball
All online sportsbooks and mobile betting apps will feature baseball wagers, but not all sportsbooks will offer the same volume of extra bets. Be sure to do your research and find the right fit for you. If you prefer live betting or props bets, not every sportsbook will meet your needs, but someone will.
If possible, it’s a good idea to find more than one sportsbook that you like for baseball wagering. Moneylines, run lines, and totals odds tend to be the same from sportsbook to sportsbook, but not always. A little patient line shopping can pay off with bigger payouts in the end.
As you probably know, almost every sportsbook operating legally in your jurisdiction is offering a wide variety of incentives for you to place your wagers with them. These can range from deposit match bonuses of several hundred dollars to risk-free initial bets that can also climb as high as $500 or more.
Before committing to any sportsbook and depositing the cash, you intend to wager, look around for the biggest deals, but also the easiest deals. Some sportsbooks might offer $1,000 in deposit match bonuses but only give you the cash once you have wagered $10,000 or more. Others offer smaller amounts of free cash but at much more reasonable play-through requirements.
Look hard enough, and you will find the right sportsbook to help you maximize your baseball betting profits.
Sports Betting How To Guide
How Money Line Works?
Moneyline betting is by far the easiest way to place a sports wager. There are no point spreads to parse, no garbage-time free throws to ruin your betting day, and no last-minute meaningless touchdowns to take you from a winner to a loser.
How to Bet Odds
When we, as sports fans, learned our multiplication tables, we aced the number 7. Seven, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42 were easy because we all watched football on the weekends. Multiplication by sevens, then add a three, a six after a missed PAT.
How to Bet on NFL Games
Baseball is America’s pastime, but football is America’s crazed passion, with its weekly schedule of games, millions of television viewers across the country and the world, and the billion-dollar stadiums that serve as Sunday cathedrals in 32 American cities.
What is the Spread?
If you are a golfer or have ever played on a bowling team, think of a point spread like a handicap. It is a way for two teams of differing abilities to play each other on equal footing. The better team, and the favorite in the game, gives a certain amount …