How To Bet on Baseball

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Baseball is often called America’s pastime. This game is more than a few people hitting a ball with a bat. It is a strategic game deeply rooted in tradition and a rich history. It is also a favorite for many Americans.

However, for many, the thrill of watching a baseball game extends beyond the cheers of the crowd and the crack of the bat; it also involves the anticipation of strategic decisions, the suspense of close plays, and for some, the excitement of placing a bet on baseball.

Betting on baseball games at an online sportsbook may not be as popular with sports bettors as other options such as football and basketball. Still, when it comes to value and opportunity, nothing in the online sports betting world matches MLB games. Starting in early April with opening day games all across the nation right through the end of October into November with the best-of-seven World Series, there is wall-to-wall baseball betting action on the board at all the top online betting outlets.

Betting on baseball adds an extra layer of excitement to an already exhilarating sport. However, for those who are new to the world of sports betting, navigating the complexities of baseball wagering can seem daunting. This guide is crafted to be your ultimate baseball betting playbook, providing you with the essential knowledge and strategies to confidently make your first baseball bet.

From understanding the fundamentals of baseball betting to exploring advanced strategies, we’ll cover everything baseball betting fans need to know to make informed decisions and maximize their chances of success.

Bet on Baseball

What is Baseball Betting?

Baseball betting is the practice of placing wagers on various outcomes and events within baseball games and tournaments, ranging from simple bets on which team will win to more complex proposition bets such as the number of runs scored or individual player performances.

As one of the most popular sports in the United States and beyond, baseball has a long and storied history that has contributed to the development of a thriving betting market. Rooted in the 18th-century English game of Rounders, baseball as we know it today evolved throughout the 19th century in the United States. The formation of the National League in 1876 marked the beginning of professional baseball in America, paving the way for the establishment of the American League in 1901 and ultimately leading to the formation of Major League Baseball (MLB) as the governing body for the sport in 1903.

Since its inception, MLB has grown into a multi-billion-dollar industry, attracting millions of fans and generating and generating substantial revenue through merchandising, ticket sales, and broadcasting rights. Throughout its history, MLB has produced iconic moments and legendary players, contributing to its status as a cultural institution deeply ingrained in the fabric of American society.

The league consists of 30 teams divided into two leagues: the American League (AL) and the National League (NL), each further divided into three divisions based on geographic regions.

As the popularity of baseball has grown, so too has the interest in betting on the sport. Today, baseball betting encompasses a wide range of wagering options, from traditional moneyline bets and over/under totals to more exotic propositions such as run-line bets and player props. With the advent of online sports betting platforms, fans now have unprecedented access to betting markets and opportunities to engage with the game in new and exciting ways.

In subsequent sections, we will delve deeper into the various types of baseball bets and explore the strategies and techniques that can help bettors maximize their chances of success. But first, let’s try to understand how baseball betting works.

How Does Baseball Betting Work?

Baseball betting is probably the simplest form of sports betting. It is offered by traditional brick-and-mortar sportsbooks and some of the best online sportsbooks too. Of course, these sportsbooks are heavily regulated, and we will give you a list to choose from later on in this article.

Because of the straightforward nature of the game and how easy it is to follow the odds and lines, betting on baseball is a favorite amongst many sports bettors. To place wagers, visit or sign up with a sportsbook, deposit your funds and you can start placing your bets.

Baseball is a low-scoring game, and most games are decided by a single run. Therefore, the most preferred and, undoubtedly, the easiest form of baseball betting is picking the winner of the game. However, you will find that you have so many options open to you if you decide to wager on baseballs.

Bet on Baseball

Is Betting on Baseball Legal?

The legality of sports betting and, as a result, MLB betting has undergone significant changes in the United States.

Historically, sports betting was largely prohibited across the country due to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, which effectively outlawed sports betting in most states. However, in 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down PASPA, ruling that it was unconstitutional. This landmark decision opened the door for individual states to legalize and regulate sports betting within their borders.

Since then, a growing number of states have moved to legalize sports betting. As of the time of writing this article, many states have legalized sports betting in some form, with several more considering legislation to do the same.

In states where sports betting is legal, baseball betting is typically offered by licensed sportsbooks, both at physical locations and through online platforms and mobile apps. Bettors need to familiarize themselves with the specific laws and regulations governing sports betting in their state as well as any restrictions or requirements imposed by the sportsbooks and regulatory authorities. Practice responsible gambling and wager only what you can afford to lose.

How to Bet on Baseball

Betting on baseball is quite simple once you get a hang of it. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to bet on baseball games:

Choose a Sportsbook

Research and select a reputable sportsbook or online sports betting site that offers baseball betting options. Ensure the sportsbook is licensed by the necessary authorities and regulated. This is to ensure fair play and secure transactions. If a sportsbook looks sketchy, avoid it regardless of how great its offer might be.

Understand the Betting Options

Familiarize yourself with the different baseball betting options available. Study them and find out what works best for you. Understand what it takes to win or lose each type of bet and the potential payouts associated with them.

Create and Fund Your Betting Account

If you are using any of the online sportsbooks, you will need to create an account with them and deposit funds into the account. You can do this using any of the secure payment methods offered by the sportsbook.

Research the Teams and Games

Research the teams playing in the upcoming baseball games, including their recent performance, key players, injuries, pitching matchups, and historical head-to-head statistics. This information will help you make informed betting decisions.

Choose Your Bet

Once you have done your research, decide which bets you want to place on the upcoming games. Consider factors such as the odds, your confidence in the outcome, and your betting strategy. Cut out bias, and only bet based on logical analysis of the game.

Once you are done, navigate to the baseball betting section of the sportsbook’s website or app and locate the game or games you want to bet on. Select the type of bet you want to place and enter the amount you wish to wager.

Review your bet slip to ensure all details are correct, including the teams, bet type, and wager amount. Once you are satisfied, confirm your bet to lock in your wager.

Monitor the Game

Keep track of the baseball games you have bet on and monitor the action as it unfolds. Follow the game closely to see if your bets are winning or losing. If your bets are successful, your winnings will be credited to your betting account. You can then withdraw them or use them to place more bets on future games.

Practice Responsible Gambling

Remember to gamble responsibly and only wager what you can afford to lose. Set limits on your betting activity, take breaks when needed, and seek help if you or someone you know has a gambling problem.

Bet on Baseball

Understanding Baseball Betting Odds

If you are wagering on baseball bets for the first time, you need to understand how these odds work. Baseball is typically a moneyline sport (we will get to this later), so the odds will be displayed as American odds in most sportsbooks. Some sportsbooks might have the option for decimal and fractional or allow you to switch between different types, but this is rarely the case.

American odds are easy to understand. The two opposing teams are listed with one having a minus (-) sign and three digits and the other having a plus (+) sign and three digits too. 

The team that has a negative odds is referred to as the favorite and according to the sportsbook, they stand the highest chance of winning. The odds for this team signify how much you have to wager to win $100.

The team with the negative odds is the team that is less likely to win. They are called the underdogs. The figure next to them is the amount you would win off a $100 wager if the team should win.

However, these are not the only types of odds you will find on baseball bets. As you will get to see, different types of baseball betting lines also have their types of odds. Let’s now take a closer look at these betting lines.

Baseball Betting Lines

Betting lines, also called markets, are the different ways bettors can wager money on their favorite baseball teams or players. Understanding these types of baseball markets allows you to develop strategies to maximize your chances of success. Here’s a breakdown of some common types of baseball bets and everything you need to know about wagering on them:

The Baseball Moneyline

Moneyline betting is the simplest form of baseball wagering, where you bet on which team will win the game outright. It is also the most popular form of baseball wagers. In baseball moneyline, each team is assigned odds based on their perceived likelihood of winning. For example, a favorite might have odds of -150, meaning you’d need to wager $150 to win $100, while an underdog might have odds of +130, meaning a $100 bet would win you $130.

Just like in other sports, there are clear underdogs and powerhouse favorites in baseball, but, and this is where the beauty of baseball lies, just about any team can win.

This makes wagers on the baseball moneyline very interesting because wagering only on favorites does not guarantee that you will win your bets or make a profit. Instead do extensive research before each bet. Consider factors such as starting pitchers, team performance, injuries, and home-field advantage when evaluating moneyline bets. There is also a wealth of data you can tap from to guide your wagers. Do not neglect any piece of information while wagering on the moneylines in baseball.

Run Line Betting

If you are familiar with the concept of point spread betting, then you would probably love run-line betting. Run line betting is similar to point spread betting in other sports, where a team is favored to win by a certain number of runs.

The scoreline in baseball is lower than in most other sports, so the run line is usually a 1.5-run handicap. So how the run line typically works is the favorite has a run line of -1.5 runs, meaning they must win by two or more runs to cover the spread, while the underdog has a run line of +1.5 runs, meaning they can lose by one run or win the game outright to cover.

While the run line is typically a 1.5-run handicap, there have been cases of lopsided matches where the run line can get as high as 2.5.

Run-line betting can offer higher payouts than moneyline betting but carries more risk.

The Reverse Runline

The reverse run line is a variation of the traditional run line betting in baseball. It holds the same principle as the typical run line but in reverse.

In traditional run line betting, the favorite is assigned a run line of -1.5 runs, meaning they must win by two or more runs to cover the spread. Conversely, the underdog is given a run line of +1.5 runs, allowing them to lose by one run or win the game outright to cover the spread.

With the reverse run line, the roles are reversed. The underdog is given a reverse run line of -1.5 runs, meaning they must win by two or more runs to cover the spread. The favorite is assigned a reverse run line of +1.5 runs, allowing them to lose by one run or win the game outright to cover the spread.

Of course, betting on the reverse run line carries increased risk compared to traditional run line betting, as you are betting on the underdog to win by a certain margin. However, this increased risk also comes with the potential for higher rewards, as the odds for reverse run line bets are often more favorable than those for standard run line bets.

Over/Under Betting in Baseball

Over/under betting, also known as totals betting, involves wagering on the total number of runs scored by both teams in a game. This form of betting requires different data than you would need for run line or moneyline wagers because you are not placing your wagers on who wins or loses the game. Rather, you are wagering on whether the final score of the game will be below or under the scoreline set by sportsbooks.

When wagering on totals bets consider factors such as pitching matchups, weather conditions, and ballpark dimensions. Games played in high-elevation ballparks tend to have more scores. The closeness of the fences might also increase the chances of a home run.

First-Inning Result

This type of wager is a fan favorite among hardcore gamblers because of the excitement it brings early on in the game. It is also a means for sportsbooks to boost their bottom lines.

Betting on the first inning involves predicting the outcome of the first inning, typically focusing on which team will score first or whether the inning will end with a tie.

To stand a chance at winning a successful first-inning wager, pay close attention to pitching matchups, team statistics, and game conditions.

This type of wager is a bit riskier than the other types we already mentioned but it has a very simple appeal. If you are looking for a bit of extra excitement or you do not want to watch the entire match, wagering on the first inning might be the way to go.

Baseball Prop Bets

Baseball has the most extensive catalog of proposition wagers of any U.S. sport. Just like in other sports, prop betting allows you to wager on specific events or outcomes within a baseball game, such as the number of strikeouts by a pitcher or the total hits by a certain player.

Prop bets come in different forms, including the following:

Batter Props

Batter props are mostly based on statistical productions from players, including whether a certain player will have a certain number of home runs, RBIs. or hits. These are the popular options, but there are still a few other batter props options to wager on, including runs scored, stolen bases, and combined runs scored.

Pitcher Props

There are a few popular pitcher props, including over/under total outs and over/under pitcher’s strikeouts. You might notice that pitcher props are not as extensive as batter props because of the lack of statistical production. However, the available ones have been gaining traction among bettors recently.

Game Props

Game props bets are another type of props that has an extensive catalog of props for bettors to choose from. Some of these props are straightforward. Others can be quite intricate. Here are a few game props bettors can choose from:

  • Over/under on total for one or both teams.
  • The last score of a game.
  • The winning margin at the end of a game
  • The innings in the first run
  • How many runs will end up scoring on the first play?

Daily Props

Daily props are not as popular as the other types of prop bets because they are based on the entire league day and not on individual games. However, if you look well enough you will find value bets. Examples of daily props include:

  • Betting on whether there will be a no-hitter.
  • Wagering on the over/under for the daily total runs.
  • Wagering on which game or team will have the highest scores at the end of the day.
  • Betting on the highest score of a particular team.

While they might look interesting, daily props are designed to be difficult. To stand the chance of winning a daily props bet, you have to research all the games individually, and then together.

Correct Score

Some platforms would list this as a form of proposition wagers. However, we feel the need to discuss them separately. 

These wagers are based on predicting the exact final score of a baseball game, including the number of runs scored by each team. For example, a correct score bet might involve predicting that the final score will be 4-2 in favor of the home team.

Correct score bets typically offer some of the highest payouts due to their difficulty. Since there are numerous possible score combinations in a baseball game, the odds of accurately predicting the exact final score are relatively low. As a result, winning correct score bets can result in substantial returns for bettors.

However, the risk profile for these types of bets is significant. If you want to wager on them, exercise caution and avoid wagering large sums of money on these bets.

MLB Futures

MLB futures offer bettors an easy alternative to wagering on single games. Futures betting involves placing wagers on the outcome of future events within the Major League Baseball (MLB) season. These bets can range from predicting the winner of the World Series to forecasting individual player achievements throughout the season.

We recommend futures betting for everyone who loves the game of baseball and is willing to wait for months before seeing the outcome of their wagers. Here is a close look at some examples of future bets that you might enjoy:

Team Futures

These are the most common types of futures you will find for baseball. Some of the most popular options include:

  • League Winner: Who wins the National or American League?
  • Regular Season Wins: Usually an over/under bet for the projection line of a team’s win.
  • Division Winner: Which team will win in a division?
  • Division Straight Forecast: Wagering on two teams in a division finishing in a particular order.
  • Betting on which team to make the playoffs.
  • Betting on which team would end the season with the best record.

Player Awards

Player awards props are not as popular. The MLB is a high-variant tournament, and this makes player awards difficult to predict. There are three major player award futures bets that most sportsbooks offer, and they include:

  • Wagering on which player will win the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for the American or National League.
  • Wagering on which pitcher will get the CY Young Award which is given to the best pitcher in the National and American league.
  • Betting on which player will win the Rookie of the Year award in their respective tournaments.

In-Game Betting

This is the live betting option in baseball. It allows you to place wagers on a variety of outcomes while an MLB game is in progress. Live betting provides a wide range of betting options that continually update throughout the game. You can wager on various aspects of the game, including inning-by-inning outcomes, individual at-bats, pitching changes, and game momentum shifts.

However, live betting is a bit different because the sportsbook adjusts betting odds in real time based on the current score and other factors. The great thing about this form of betting is that it lets you react to in-game developments, such as injuries to key players or unexpected lineup changes. These factors can significantly impact the outcome of the game and create betting opportunities for astute bettors.

Baseball Parlay Bets

Just like any other sport, you can parlay your baseball bets too. In this case, you are combining multiple bets into a single wager. The caveat, however, is that all selected bets must win for your parlay bet to be successful. Parlays offer the potential for higher payouts compared to individual bets, but they also carry increased risks since all components of the parlay must win for you to get a payout. Baseball parlays can be broken down into same-game and multi-game parlays.

In a same-game parlay, all the legs of the parlay bet are from the same game. Most sportsbooks will offer extensive options for same-game parlays. However, this isn’t always the case.

On the other hand, multi-game parlays are more traditional and are offered by more sportsbooks. In multi-game parlays, the legs of the parlay come from multiple games. It is a favorite among bettors who enjoy having skin in the game.

Baseball Betting Strategies and Tips

Betting on baseball is meant to be fun. But if you are looking to maximize your chances of winning, you need a combination of knowledge, strategy, and discipline. Here are some effective baseball betting tips and strategies to consider:

Research

Thoroughly research the teams, players, and game factors before placing bets. Consider factors such as starting pitchers, bullpen strength, team batting and pitching statistics, recent performance trends, injuries, weather conditions, and historical head-to-head matchups. Also, get to know the umpires and their proclivities. Just like every form of sports betting, information is key to making great bets.

Consider the Underdog

Most bettors will focus on the favorite or, in some cases, the home team. In this situation, the odds for the favorite are relatively low. If after careful research, you think the underdog stands a better chance at winning, you might have identified a value bet. Value bets occur when the implied probability of the odds is lower than the actual likelihood of the outcome occurring.

Know the Ballparks

We have mentioned this before, but understanding the ballparks will help a great deal in making favorable wagers. Some ballparks are great for batters and others offer pitchers an advantage. Knowing these ballparks will guide you in knowing which team to back.

Baseball Leagues, You Can Wager on

Major League Baseball is the most popular baseball league that bettors wager on. However, with over 47 professional leagues to choose from, you have plenty of options to choose from. Sportsbooks offer many international, national, and local baseball leagues for you to choose from: Here are a few of them:

  • Major League Baseball
  • American League
  • National League
  • International League
  • Minor League Baseball
  • Malaysian All-Star League Baseball
  • KBO League
  • Frontier League
  • Australian League Baseball
  • World Baseball Classic
  • Nippon Professional Baseball: Central League and Pacific League

How to Bet on Baseball FAQs

Can I Bet on Individual Player Performances in Baseball?

Yes, many sportsbooks offer prop bets on individual player performances in baseball. You can wager on outcomes such as the number of strikeouts by a pitcher, hits by a batter, or even whether a specific player will hit a home run.

Are There Any Strategies for Betting on Baseball Totals?

Yes, when betting on baseball totals (over/under), consider factors like pitching matchups, weather conditions, ballpark dimensions, and recent scoring trends. Analyzing these factors can help you make informed decisions about whether to bet on the total number of runs scored being over or under the sportsbook’s set line.

What Is Run Line Betting in Baseball?

Run line betting in baseball is similar to point spread betting in other sports. The run line is a margin of runs by which a team is favored or handicapped. For example, a run line of -1.5 means the favorite must win by at least two runs, while a run line of +1.5 means the underdog can lose by one run and still cover the spread.

Can I Bet on Baseball Futures?

Yes, baseball futures betting allows you to wager on future outcomes, such as the winner of the World Series, league pennant winners, division champions, or individual player awards like MVP and Cy Young. These bets are typically available before the season starts and offer the potential for significant payouts.

Is Live Betting Available for Baseball Games?

Yes, many baseball betting sites offer live in-game options for MLB bets, allowing you to place bets on various outcomes while the game is in progress. Live betting lets you react to changing game dynamics, such as momentum shifts, pitching changes, and scoring opportunities, in real time.

About the Author
David Abayomi Aje is a freelance writer and digital marketer. David has been a content writer and a digital marketer for 16 years. He is published in different sports blog websites such as soccerfanbase.com/blog, gunnerstown.com. When he is not writing, David is watching his favourite sports teams - Arsenal football club in England, the Los Angeles Lakers, Barcelona e.t.c. You can connect with David on Twitter via @thebottomcorna