Everything You Need To Know About Betting On MLB Baseball

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If there’s one sport in the USA that could truly be called America’s game it has to be baseball. It’s a hugely popular sport, not just in the USA but, increasingly, across the world. And because of this, it’s a sport you’ll now find covered in some depth at the majority of bookmakers in the UK and Europe.

But, wherever you bet on baseball, to make the most of your betting, you’ll need to have a really solid knowledge of both the game itself and the best baseball betting strategies before you’ll be turning your MLB predictions into potentially winning MLB bets. It’s a complex game, with baseball aficionados well versed in reading the game and the mountain of stats and details that are generated throughout the season. We’re not saying that you need to reach that expert level, not yet, but to have a chance of making MLB predictions that pay off in winning bets, you’ll need an understanding of the game, its rules, its gameplay, and how the betting markets for MLB work.

With this guide to this particularly thrilling all-American sport, we’ll show you how the game is played and give you plenty of useful Major League Baseball betting tips for your baseball betting.

Overview

Baseball at the highest level is very much a North American game. Yes, baseball is played in other countries, including Cuba, Taiwan, Dominican Republic, and Japan, but it’s in the USA where the game is king.

In North America, the game is organised by, and known as, Major League Baseball (MLB), founded in 1903 when the two existing and separate leagues — National League (NL) and American League (AL) — agreed to cooperate.

Thirty teams (29 in USA, plus Toronto Bluejays representing Canada) play in the two MLB leagues (NL & AL) with 15 teams in each league. There’s certainly no shortage of games to watch and bet on with MLB, as each team plays 162 games in the regular season – a staggering 2,430 games in total. Add onto that the post-season games with playoffs and the World Series and you can certainly see how complex and stat-heavy baseball can be!

The regular season runs six months from late March/early April through to the last Sunday in September or first Sunday in October. Post-season, consisting of playoff games and the World Series finals runs through to November.

How Is Baseball In The MLB Played?

Baseball is, at its core, a simple bat and ball game dating back to the 1700s in North America. But, its origins can be traced back further, although no one can be precisely sure. It’s often said to be a derivation of the English games of rounders brought to North America by English immigrants settling in Canada, from whence it spread across the continent.

The game is played between two teams of nine players each, with teams taking turns to bat and field. The hitting or offensive team aims to score as many runs as possible, by running across each of four bases, either one at a time, stopping at any of them, or running across all four in one movement. The ball is hit into the field’s playing area or over the field’s boundary, in which case it is described as a ‘home run’ where the hitter runs through all the bases to score, and any batsmen on bases when the home run is hit also run in to score. The hitting innings comes to an end when three batsmen are declared out. There are nine innings in a game.

The defensive or fielding team consists of a pitcher, catcher, and seven fielders. The aim for the fielding team is to get three batsmen out, resulting in the end of the innings. A batsman can be out in several ways: by being pitched three ‘strikes’, by being caught, by failing to reach a base before a fielder with the ball touches the base, or by being tagged by a fielder with the ball when running between bases.

Yes, it’s technically a very simple game, but when you get into the game you’ll find it complex and fascinating, and it’s knowing how baseball works that allows you to make your sensible MLB predictions that lead to smart baseball bets!

Different Types Of MLB Baseball Bets

Although there are only two possible outcomes in a MLB baseball match –home win or away win (there’s no possibility of a draw – the teams play overtime in the event of a regular innings tie) — there are a huge number of baseball bets you can consider. But, if you want another of our Major League Baseball betting tips, we’d definitely recommend that beginner bettors on MLB baseball should limit themselves, in these early stages of your baseball betting, to just these essential few types of bets. Master these first and then move on to the more difficult and complex bets.

Money Line Betting

The money line bet in MLB baseball is the straight win bet option. With the money line bet you have two simple choices for a result, the home win or the away win. With the money line bet you simply pick the baseball team you think will win, including any extra innings in overtime, and place your bets. It’s the obvious choice for bettors new to the game.

As with other straight win bets in other sports, the odds you see for each team involved represent the bookie’s MLB predictions for the probability of each team winning, the favourite team to win being the one with the shorter/lower odds and the outsider having the longer odds.

Money Line Betting – Our MLB Tips

There’s not all that much that you can do to affect the money line bet, but we’d certainly recommend you spend a little time getting the best odds, as this is essential for your continued healthy bankroll. You can do it yourself but it’s a huge waste of your time and effort when you can simply use a good odds comparison checker (such as the great Betting.org odds comparison tool) to make sure you get the best baseball odds available.

Totals Betting – Over/Under Betting

Totals betting in baseball refers to any betting on the total number of runs that will be scored in the game. The totals bet is an over/under type bet and these are the most popular types of bet amongst baseball betting fans. With over/under betting, the bookmaker will choose a figure it thinks is probable for total runs scored. You, the betting punter, then decides if the total runs will be above (over) or below (under) this bookmaker total and place your bets accordingly.

You’ll also be able to find totals betting for various parts of the game, for example, you can bet on total runs for each innings or the total runs in the first five innings.

Totals Betting – Our MLB Tips

Not all baseball fields are equal and this has a huge impact on totals bets! If you factor in conditions, and particularly altitude, you’ll find that some fields in the MLB score significantly higher than others. High altitude means the ball flies faster/further, so expect high altitude fields (for example, Coors Field, Colorado – 5,211ft) to be significantly higher scoring fields with a high number of home runs. Similarly, wind conditions and short boundary walls can play a massive part.

Run Line Betting

In baseball, the run line bet is the equivalent to handicap bets, or spread betting. It’s a level of complexity above mere money line and run line betting, but can give the punter a much greater range of betting options.

The basic principle behind run line betting is that bookies will determine who it thinks is more likely to win and handicap them accordingly. The run line in MLB is 1.5, where you can put a bet on the favourites to win by 2 runs or more or the underdog to lose by 1 run or to win the game. In run line betting the favourites are given a -1.5 run line, so to ‘cover the run line’, they need to win by 2 runs or more. The underdogs in a game are given a run line of +1.5, meaning they could lose by 1 run or win the game for you to win your bet.

Run Line Betting – Our MLB Tips

Run line betting is great for games when you’re convinced there’s an easy win in it for one team. But, be warned, in MLB games, approximately 30% of games are won and lost by just a single run!

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Best Bookmaker For MLB Baseball Betting

You’ll be able to find baseball betting offered from pretty much all bookmakers, featuring all games for the regular season and World Series. When looking for the best bookmaker for your MLB betting, we want to see a bookie who offers consistently great odds, full game coverage, great range of markets, featuring all the available betting types plus many of the popular proposition bets, and, of course, the bookmaker, in general, must be totally trustworthy and well designed, whether it’s the desktop site or mobile app.

And after looking through a very long list of bookmakers, we have just one choice for our recommended bookmaker, and that’s Betway. Their coverage of MLB baseball is truly excellent, with basic money line, run line, and totals bets but you’ll also find the alternate betting markets for all of these bets, such as the total runs 3 way, home and away teams total runs, run lines 3.5. Proposition betting is plentiful with Betway with a massive number of betting markets, including winning margins, total runs odds/evens, first 7 innings betting and individual innings betting all covered quite brilliantly. And when looking at Betway’s odds, they’re definitely consistently up there in the top echelons!

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Popular MLB baseball Betting Terms

With MLB baseball, one thing you’re going to very quickly realise is that there is an awful lot of very specific language associated with MLB betting. You’re going to need to understand the jargon as part of getting your edge (that’s the advantage you get through betting knowledge!) so you can make the smartest baseball bets with a good chance of winning. Whilst we can’t cover all the jargon that you’ll find come across in MLB baseball, we’re going to give you definitions of the ten most common you’ll find.

  • Arbitrage – Bettors make a combination of bets so that if one bet loses the other bet wins, accomplished by using different bookmakers. Arbitrage bets differ from hedge bets because they are said to have an edge; there is little or no risk attached to the arbitrage bet.
  • Futures bets – Those bets for the winners of game series or World Series, usually a week plus in advance.
  • Edge – the advantage gained by bettor’s knowledge of baseball.
  • Money line – the simplest of all baseball bets, where the team that wins the game is the winner of the bet.
  • Parlay – a bet involving two or more events, similar to an accumulator bet.
  • Point Spread – the bookmakers’ strategy to handicap favoured team and underdogs, usually by +/-1.5 runs.
  • Power ratings – numbers that are assigned to teams to show how likely they are to beat other teams.
  • Proposition bets – those special bets on markets not tied directly to a game outcome.
  • Run line – a bet that is the equivalent to a handicap bet with a standard handicap of 1.5 given to underdogs.
  • Totals or Over/Under – the spread bet, where the bookmaker assigns a points total for runs from both teams scored in a game. Bettors bet that total runs will be either over or under the bookmaker total.

Top Tips For Betting On MLB Baseball

When you first watch baseball it might seem like a completely confusing game, with gameplay, jargon, and a style unique in sports. But after a while, you’ll discover it’s a sport that is incredibly involving and exciting to watch and subsequently bet on. However, it’s also a complicated betting prospect and there are many mistakes just waiting to be made unless you’re careful. So, with that in mind, here are our top 5 major league baseball betting tips!

MLB Top Tips #1 – Knowledge Is Power – Know Your Stats!

Baseball is a game of statistics — the sport generates a huge amount of player and team information, and it’s vital you get used to dealing with them. However, as a beginner, it can be all too overwhelming at first. We’d recommend that the best way to begin to understand the stats is to understand the game. So, settle down and watch some games. Watch all the games you can. The more you watch, the more you’ll learn, the more understanding of the mechanics of the game you’ll have.

Once you understand how the game works, then it’s time to venture forth, gently, into the world of baseball stats. Limit yourself at first to only the most important stats and, once you understand how to use those, branch out and investigate the rest. The more knowledge you have of the great game of baseball, the smarter your betting will be.

MLB Top Tips #2 – Understand The Factors Affecting Baseball Games

Just as with player stats, there are a huge number of external factors that can affect the game. Consider everything from team match-ups to what the weather conditions will be like and everything in between!

For example, with weather conditions, we’ve already mentioned high altitude making a big difference, but also consider wind conditions – Chicago’s ‘windy city’ nickname is certainly true when it comes to US Cellular Field, where wind conditions pushes the home run average way up. Then there are the differences in ball fields to take into consideration, as it’s a sport that has no fixed rules for stadium dimensions – making certain ballparks are home run hitter friendly. We’ve mentioned Coors Field, Colorado, where altitude, low humidity, and wind conditions are perfect for home runs but you also need to look for those ballparks, such as the Great American in Cincinnati, where you find short fences.

MLB Top Tips #3 – Pitchers Rule Your Betting Strategy

It’s no surprise that it’s the pitcher that can truly win or lose a game – and your bet! When deciding on your MLB predictions its best to look at team form and then drill down to look at the star pitchers and the relief pitchers who come in later in the game, when the starting pitcher begins to tire and lose effectiveness. Concentrate on the key stats for all pitchers; innings pitched, walks plus hits per innings pitched, wins above replacement player, and earned run average.

Pitchers rule the baseball game and as such, they should be the main factor in your baseball strategy. Watch the games, study their form, and look through their stats. How do they fare against certain teams? At what point do they begin to fade? Have they any definite weaknesses against certain batsmen, maybe left-handers? All of these things and more need to be considered.

MLB Top Tips #4 – Uniquely Long Season Makes Baseball Betting Unique

Unlike many other sports with shorter seasons and maybe a match or game per week, the MLB baseball season is both long (six months plus any post-season) and intensive (162 regular season games per team means teams play practically every day). With this many games being played plus the amount of time spent traveling, it’s no wonder that player injuries and general fatigue will play a huge role during the course of any season for every MLB team.

For a good baseball strategy, you will need to be aware of any up-to-the-minute team changes that could really destroy a team’s chances of the win and could also put a major dent in your betting bankroll. Using the information available on injuries, health, game fitness, and the form of relief pitchers and second string ball players can give you a major advantage for all of your baseball betting.

MLB Top Tips #5 – Check The Odds – Use The Odds Comparison Tool

In MLB baseball, making the smart bet and predicting the game right will get you the winning bet, but any good MLB baseball strategy will also include getting the very best MLB baseball odds you can. Even a very small shift in the baseball betting odds when looking at different online bookies can have a really big impact on your winnings. And when you consider the effect of these increased odds and increased winnings over the course of the very long MLB baseball season, those increased odds and winnings can build up to an impressive betting record.

However, it’s impossible to track odds from every single online bookmaker, or at least incredibly time-consuming and frustrating. It’s far better to use a great baseball odds comparison tool, such as the one from Betting.org, to ensure you get those best odds every time. Better odds equals smarter betting equals bigger wins.

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