The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Betting on Baseball

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Baseball betting enjoys widespread popularity among both casual viewers and devoted fans for several reasons.

Firstly, baseball is one of the few professional sports that takes place over the summer, with a season that extends from the late spring into October. During this period, the game schedule is densely packed, with teams often playing six to seven times each week.

Moreover, baseball is heavily reliant on statistics, as every game, inning, and plate appearance is quantified in detail. This abundance of data provides bettors with ample information to analyze and use when placing bets on MLB games.

Understanding baseball betting Baseball betting is one of the easiest sports betting markets to grasp.

The nature of baseball, often characterized by low scores and many games being decided by a single run, makes the moneyline bet—a straightforward wager on which team will win—the most common type of bet.

Another straightforward betting option is to place a wager on the total number of runs scored in a game by both teams, also known as the Over/Under.

Here are the three most popular forms of baseball betting.

The moneyline sets the odds for a baseball game, reflecting the implied probability of each team winning.

Typically presented in American odds format, favorites are marked with a negative sign (-) and underdogs with a positive sign (+). Betting on the moneyline involves selecting the team you believe will win; the payout varies based on the perceived risk. For instance, a favorite might have a moneyline of -150, meaning you must bet $1.50 to win $1 due to the lower risk, given their higher chance of victory. Conversely, an underdog with a moneyline of +130 means a $1 bet could win $1.30, reflecting the higher risk due to their lower chance of winning.

Use our simple odds converter and moneyline calculator to see potential winnings.

New MLB Rule Changes for 2024 Following significant modifications last year, MLB continues to adjust its rules to expedite games, enhance runner safety, and eliminate infield shifts. Key updates for 2024 include:

  1. Widening the runner’s lane to include the dirt area between the foul line and infield grass.
  2. Reducing the pitch clock from 20 to 18 seconds with runners on base.
  3. Requiring pitchers warming up for an inning to face at least one batter.
  4. Decreasing mound visits from five to four per game.
  5. Restarting the pitch clock immediately after a dead ball when the pitcher holds the ball.

Four More Ways to Bet on Baseball

  1. Parlays An MLB parlay links two or more baseball bets into a single wager, which can include moneyline, run line, and Over/Under bets. The potential win increases with each added bet, but so does the risk. All bets in the parlay must succeed for a payout; a single loss results in the parlay failing.
  2. First Five Innings Odds Betting on the first five innings is akin to full-game betting but focuses only on the outcomes of the initial five innings. This strategy values the impact of starting pitchers and mitigates risks from bullpen failures.
  3. Prop Bets MLB prop bets allow wagers on team and player performances rather than the final score. These can involve team stats like total runs or hits, or individual metrics for pitchers and batters, providing a diverse range of betting options beyond traditional bets.
  4. Futures MLB futures involve long-term predictions such as which team will win the World Series, league pennants, or division titles. Futures also cover season-long achievements like team win totals and player awards, including MVP and Cy Young candidates. These bets are available in the offseason and adjust throughout the year based on performance and injuries until the outcome is determined or the market closes.

Baseball Betting Tips and Strategies

Here are some foundational tips and strategies for effectively betting on MLB games.

Pitching Matchups and Odds The starting pitchers heavily influence the odds for baseball moneylines, run lines, and totals set by oddsmakers. They consider the recent performances of the pitchers, their home/away records, historical results against the opponent, and compatibility with the opposing batting lineup based on handedness.

Public Betting and Consensus The consensus indicates the general betting trend for a game by showing what percentage of bets are placed on each side. For instance, if 350 out of 500 total bets are placed on the Over for a game’s total runs, this shows a 70% consensus favoring the Over.

Public betting refers to the trend among recreational bettors, especially noted when a significant majority bets on one side.

Betting Trends Recurring results in specific game scenarios or conditions form baseball betting trends, which provide insights for placing bets. These trends could focus on the league, specific teams, or even outcomes like the Over/Under in different venues or against pitchers of varying handedness. Reliable trends usually come from substantial data sets and have a logical rationale.

Weather Considerations Weather conditions such as wind speed and direction are crucial when betting on Over/Under. Winds blowing out towards the outfield can aid home runs, while winds blowing in can suppress them. Rain can complicate pitching and fielding by making the ball slippery, and games may delay in heavy rain. Additionally, high humidity tends to help fly balls travel further, especially in the late summer.

Umpire Tendencies Understanding each home plate umpire’s strike zone preferences is vital. Umpires with tighter strike zones tend to call more balls, leading to more walks and potentially higher scores. Conversely, umpires with looser strike zones that benefit pitchers usually result in lower scores.

Injury Updates Monitoring injuries is crucial as they can significantly shift the odds right up to game time. While starting pitchers are a major odds factor, the absence of key players—whether from the lineup or bullpen—can greatly influence a game’s outcome. Assessing the impact of these injuries on the odds is essential for informed betting.

Baseball Betting FAQs

What does “action” mean in baseball betting? In the context of baseball betting, “action” refers to a bet that remains valid even if the starting pitchers are changed before the game begins. However, if you place a “listed pitcher” bet and there’s a change in the starting pitchers, your bet will be voided and your stake returned.

How do you place a baseball bet in person in Las Vegas? To bet on baseball in Las Vegas, locate the rotation or ID number of the team you want to bet on. Provide this number along with your bet type and the amount you want to risk to the sportsbook ticket writer, who will then process your bet.

Can you bet on minor league baseball? Yes, betting on minor league baseball is possible, though it can be challenging to find odds. A few sportsbooks do offer odds on minor league games.

Is betting on college baseball possible? Yes, you can place bets on college baseball. However, odds may not be available for all college games at all sportsbooks.

Can you bet on Little League baseball? Most legal sportsbooks do not provide odds for Little League baseball. However, some unregulated offshore online sportsbooks might offer betting on events like the Little League World Series.

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