Betting on MLB: A Comprehensive Guide

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I am glad to announce to you that nowadays there are two most popular species which wake up from hibernation after long winters: bears and baseball bettors. Snow starts melting, birds begin to chirp, and the betting game runs even faster than the actual game on the field. And, oh my, isn't it exciting!

Being curious to learn how betting on MLB works is one thing, but doing it successfully so that you can experience the rush of adrenaline after a good bed is another level of commitment. The purpose of the following guide is to let you access the most useful tips so that you can later discover that it is not just the odds that are in your favor. By the end of this read, you will be capable of scoring the most excellent home runs in MLB betting.

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Why Bet on MLB?

If the question is “Why bet on any sport?”, the answer might be a lot easier. Gambling on sports is as almost as old as sports themselves, and as long as people know the dangers and they don't bet with their lives, it can be very enjoyable. But just as watching different sports offers distinctive experiences, so does betting deliver various sensations.

A plentitude of Games and Opportunities

Baseball betting, in particular, lends itself to a wide range of advantages, which determine its popularity not only in North America but also around the world. Firstly, there is the number of times you can exercise your betting skills make for an actual gambling hobby. On average, US baseball teams play almost 12 games every day during a season, which gives enough what seems like endless opportunities to bet.

Betting by Layers

However, what is the most prominent advantage of MLB is that you can succeed in betting thanks to the game formation and the tools that are accessible through the web. One could call baseball a fragmented game because it consists of several layers, each of which can be strategically explored. That does not mean that less effort will be required from you to learn the methods and details of a particular layer, but at least you will be able to focus on something specific, which will increase your chances to be aware of the game direction. 

Moreover, the very curious bettors can check the technical data provided by advanced tools on the Internet. Multiple cameras have been able to capture players' movements and techniques to let you access their strengths and weaknesses. Thus, you are guaranteed to get at least a pinch of success when betting on baseball. You would first need to know how to do it, of course, which is what I will teach you to do now.

Know Your Basics

Before you invest your money in something, you would naturally want to learn how that thing works, or you might end up being fooled and at a loss. Correct me if I am wrong, but it would be a popular opinion to suggest that you know the rules of the game first.

A baseball game is your usual competition between two teams. However, there is nothing conventional about the form. Each team consists of nine players who play for the span of nine innings (the baseball equivalent of time measurements). The aim of the game differs for each team because, in contrast to other sports, in baseball teams alternate between batting and defending.

Thus, during the first half of each inning, the batter of the guest team tries to score by hitting the ball thrown by the pitcher.  The home team has to prevent that from happening. If the player does not succeed in batting the ball three times, then the teams switch positions. The team with the most scores after 9 innings is the winner.

Of course, there are details in between the simple actions of batting and defending, but the basics of the game are those. 

Let’s Cut to the Chase – How to Bet?

The versatility of a baseball game persists in the betting sector. Instead of only putting money on the horse (aka team) you think will win, you have three betting options to choose from. The strategies are called: Money Line, Run Line, and Total. I will look at each one individually.

Moneyline

People who are familiar with betting on other sports will know this strategy because it is widely used, although it is also very risky. Betting on the Money Line means that you are choosing the team that is likely to win. However, you might fall into your own trap because betting on an underdog pays more than betting on a favorite.

Confusingly enough, favorites are identifiable by a minus sign, while you will know the underdog in betting by the plus symbol. The minus on the favorite team shows how much money you would need to invest to win a particular sum. At the same time, the underdog's minus serves to tell you how much money you could earn if you bet on that team.

When betting on the Money Line during the Major League Baseball, always keep track of rotation, the starting pitcher and the batters. Thus, you will be able to foresee the variables and the effectiveness of the round. 

When it comes to the pitchers, WHIP (Walks Plus Hits per Innings Pitched), IP (Innings Pitched), ERA (Earned Run Average), and WARP (Wins Above Replacement Player) are some of the statistics tools you can use. The most famous ones for the offense position are PA (Plate Appearances), OBP (On-Base Percentage), wOBA (weighted On-Base Average),  and ISO (Isolated Power). Apply them, and the odds will more likely be on your side.

Run Line

The Run Line strategy is more complicated than the moneyline bet because it involves a bit more calculations. On the other hand, it naturally gives you a bigger chance to win since you are more involved with the game. It is designed for those who already have basic knowledge of betting on MLB, but let's work together to try and understand it.

For those familiar with football betting, it will be easier to understand the Run Line bet because it is similar to NFL Spread Betting of points. Here, just like with the Money Line, you choose teams. The line for baseball is 1.5. With a 1.5 Run Line, you will be able to place a wager on the favored team to win by 2 runs or more, or the underdog team to lose by 1 run or to win the game.

Here is the following example:

New York: -1.5 (+120)

Chicago White Sox: +1.5 (-150)

The bet shows us that the favorite team is the Yankees and for a bet of $120 on them to be successful, they would need to cover the 1.5 runs, which means – win by 2 or more runs. In the meantime, the Chicago White Sox would have to either run the game outright or lose by 1 run. 

One of the major risks that bettors don't take into consideration is the fact that the chance for two runs to be played and, thus, for the favorite team to execute the outcome of the bet is meager. It is better to bet by 1.5 runs on the underdog team.

Total Baseball Betting

This is the third type of betting on MLB, and it aligns with total betting in all other sports. The bettor guesses whether the total number of points scored during a game will be more or less than the line that the bookmaker has set.

Let's say that the bookmaker's line is 12.5. If you think that both teams will score a total number of 13 runs, for example, you will bet the OVER. And vice versa: if you think the score will be 12 or less, you will bet the UNDER. You should know that oddsmakers will always consider defenses and offenses, just like in the Money Line betting strategy, to predict a possible outcome.

Total baseball betting seems simple and straightforward, and this is not a lie. However, there are several external factors you need to take into consideration.

  1. Stadiums – The size of stadiums varies and determines the number of runs scored throughout a game. Thus, stadiums may become high-scoring or low-scoring. 
  2. Home and away – In every sport, the home team always benefits from the familiarity with the dimensions and appearance of the stadium where the game is played.
  3. Weather – Affects everybody, including the result of the game. Not an excuse, but a factor worth mentioning.
  4. Humidity – Less humidity presents a difficulty for the traveling ball.
  5. Wind – Simple physics states that if the wind blows in the direction in which the batter hits the ball, then it will fly smoother and farther away. If the wind blows in the opposite direction, that might be a problem

Where to Bet?

You have probably heard of the brands, and you may have seen their offices on the streets of different cities. However, you have been straining from them out of fear of corporate organizations trying to deceive you and steal your money. I want to end that stigma for people who have never used trusted betting operators.

Some of the most renowned names are:

  • Bet365 – they will offer you a plethora of betting markets and all sorts of props. I also bet every MLB game in-play because Bet365 offers me a live scoreboard for each match.
  • William Hill – the welcome bonus here is pretty cool. When I signed up I got $30 in free bets only for depositing $10. I had to use a William Hill Promo code.
  • DraftKings – The welcome bonus here isn’t the most useful one for betting. I got $20 to use only in contests, meaning daily fantasy. Still – they got other ongoing bonuses for loyal customers.
  • FanDuel – I love the welcome bonus here. My first bet was a losing one, so they refunded me completely. Turns out, the refund is up to $500. I should have known earlier.

Some Tips to Success

It is my pleasure to offer you some tips and end this article at the door of your future success. Here is some advice to keep in mind when betting on MLB:

  1. The Favorites Are Not Always Your Champions – Betting on your favorite strong teams might stab you in the back. Oddsmakers know that the simplest way for you to lose money would be if you put your foot in the trap yourself. When you bet on popular favorites, you don’t win a lot of money, while if you lose – you lose it all. 
  2. Take a Chance on the Underdogs – On the other hand, when you bet on the underdog, you either lose only the sum you have put on the table, or you win substantially more. 
  3. Do Not Follow the Crowd – Being biased can play a bad joke on you because of a sports spectator uneducated in the art of betting will most often believe that home teams, favorites, and star players would win. To make sure you are not one of the average bettors, follow the professional rules and strategies of gambling.
  4. Keep Track of Reverse Line Movement – Do not just bet and let it sink until you see the outcome of the game. Locate the sharp action in every game by checking if the betting line is moving in the opposite direction of the betting percentages.
  5. Check the Forecast – It is as simple as it sounds. Especially when betting on total points, the importance of the weather conditions is worth remembering. 
  6. Familiarize Yourself with the Umpires – Umpires are officials who observe the game and make sure that the teams are following the rules. He, therefore, judges whether the actions are acceptable. Knowing who the umpire is, gives you an insight into how the actions of the players would be judged.
  7. The More Sportsbooks, the More Knowledged the Bettor Is – Do not follow what only one sportsbook says. Their postings might differ, and your chances of profit might slightly increase.

Stay In and Play!

At the end of this guide, I would like to give you some words of encouragement: you might not be a sportsman, but you can still play a game of your own. A game behind from the public's seats or behind the screen, but just as exciting. Betting on a great sport like baseball will make you feel like you create the game and that you have control over the outcome. Winning is only part of the excitement.

Last update : January 2020