Baseball Betting Guide


Baseball is hugely popular in all parts of North America, with Major League Baseball (MLB) by far the biggest, most prestigious and most lucrative competition in the world. It features mainly American teams along with – in the current season – one Canadian team, although the sport is also massive in Cuba, Puerto Rica, the Dominican Republic and Japan, among others.

Whilst the World Series (MLB final) may have a slightly erroneous name, given the limited area from which teams are drawn, it is undoubtedly one of the world’s grandest sporting spectacles. It is also a fantastic betting opportunity, as is baseball in general. The MLB is the most watched league in any sport anywhere in the world, with over 75m attending games in the 2012 season. This is due to the huge number of fixtures played, with each team scheduled to play 162 regular season games each year, meaning that there are a huge number of games to bet on and to profit from. With minor US leagues and other countries’ baseball too you’re never short of baseball action, which is just the way we like it.

How To Bet On Baseball

Baseball is a great sport to bet on as, not only are there loads of games, there is also a great choice of markets within any given match. To the uninitiated the sport can be hard to grasp but in essence it’s simple enough and so is betting on it.

Baseball Bets

  • To win – As with most US sports, this is usually called the money line, and is a bet on which side will win a particular game. There are no draws or ties in baseball, teams just play extra innings until there is a winner so it’s a very simple bet.
  • Run line – The run line is baseball’s version of a handicap, with one team usually being given a 1.5 run start and the other a 1.5 disadvantage, though on occasion it can be 2.5. This means that the team with the “head start” can lose by one run and still win and so their odds will be much shorter on the run line.
  • Alternate run line – Many bookies will also offer different run lines, or handicaps, as well as the standard 1.5, so a very strong favourite may be offered with a -4.5 run handicap.
  • Total runs – A bet on how many runs there will be in total during the game. Usually offered as a half-run amount, for example 8.5, with the option of betting over (nine or more runs) or under, (eight or fewer) and odds of just under evens on both outcomes.
  • Extra innings – A simple yes or no bet on whether extra innings will be required (that is to say, the scores will be level after nine innings each).
  • Total runs (bands) – Another option for betting on total runs in the game is to bet on bands. For example “less than five”, “six or seven”, “eight or nine” or “10 or more” may be given as options.
  • Outright betting – You can also back your team to win the given competition overall, whether it be the World Series, one of America’s minor leagues or anything else.

In addition many bets are offered that relate to the individual innings, so which team will win any of the particular innings or how many runs will be scored in it, as well as other such bets.

Baseball Betting Rules

The main thing to look for in baseball is whether a bookie is naming a pitcher. If a specific pitcher is named for each side then many bookies will only allow bets to stand if both of those men play. Some bookies will give the option of selecting different odds depending on whether it is for any pitchers or named pitchers or one of the two named pitchers starting. A change to the pitchers will often cause a massive change in the odds so it’s crucial to check you know what rules will be applied to your bets in case this happens.

Another important thing to be aware of when betting on baseball is that the teams play many games very close together, sometimes even on the same day. You need to make sure you know which match you are betting on as it could be very annoying to watch the first of a team’s doubleheaders and “win” your bet before realising the same two teams are playing later the same day… and your bet has lost.

Any handicap or totals bets that aren’t specified in half runs and result in a draw will be a “push”, with stakes refunded. Games that are postponed or abandoned will usually be voided, subject to the terms and conditions of the bookie, with relevance to if and when the match is replayed and/or how much of it was completed. Finally, unless otherwise specified most bookies include extra innings.

Baseball Betting Strategy

Baseball is often regarded as one of the best sports to bet on due to the huge wealth of statistical data that is created. Sabermetrics, the name given to a particular type of statistical analysis used in baseball, has become a key component of the game from a coaching and scouting perspective and similar, related theories have been used with regards to betting.

Because teams and players play so many games there is a huge wealth of data about how any player or team performs in any given situation. By studying and researching this information you should be able to gain a critical edge and make a long-term profit. Of course, the bookies also have access to this same data but as there is so much out there it is possible, in fact easy, for them to miss or overlook something – and that’s your cue to cash in.

Because baseball betting is relatively new and limited outside the US and a few other major baseball nations, the bookies are less able to spend the time or money developing a perfect odds model. As such, by looking at the styles of various pitchers and teams, where, when and how they score and concede their runs, not just how many, you have a great opportunity to make a profit.

One more specific tip is to understand the link between the run line and the total runs odds. For example, a 1.5 run head start should be worth a lot more in a game with a total runs number of 6.5, than it would be in a match where the bookies are expecting 11.5 runs. This gives you an opportunity to find some real value on the underdog at times.

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