Baseball is one of the most popular team sports in the world. Even though the game enjoys a tremendous popularity in the United States, it originated in Great Britain in the mid 18th century. Later on, in the 19th century, the game was brought to the North American continent by English immigrants and quickly went on to become the States’ national sport. The sport is played professionally by teams from the Major League Baseball (MLB).
MLB is divided into two leagues – the American and the National League. Each of the two leagues on its own has three divisions – West, East and Central. The winner is determined by the playoffs of the annuals championship, called the World Series.
In general terms, baseball falls within the category of bat-and-ball games. A baseball match is played by two teams and each one consists of a total of nine players. The players from the competing teams take turns to bat and field. A batting player from one team hits against the pitcher of the fielding team. If the ball is hit, the player should run clock-wise and advance around four bases before he returns to his home plate. The game consists of a total of nine innings. One inning is complete when both teams have taken turns to bat the ball. The team which scores a higher number of runs wins the game.
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Even though baseball is hugely popular in the States and Canada, it is played throughout the world. Fans of the sport are enthusiastic about backing their favorite baseball teams by placing bets in their favor. Today, this is easier than it has ever been. You no longer are required to leave your home and visit a betting retailer. You can wager from the comfort of your own home as there is an astonishing number of web-based bookmakers which accept bets on this popular sport.
Online betting comes with several advantages. First of all, the odds offered by online betting providers are frequently updated and much more competitive than those available at land-based bookmakers. Second, the number of markets is much greater and all sorts of bets are accepted. You can bet on the over/under markets or opt for placing a bet on a points spread. Propositions are also an interesting alternative. Some experienced punters who enjoy baseball choose to bet on multiple selections, known as parlays or accumulators. The most popular options are the moneylines and the run lines.
Online betting can be very beneficial for punters as many bookmakers offer Live (or In-Play) Betting. This can increase your chances of winning as you can place bets on ongoing games. In such instances, bets are accepted from the beginning to the very end of the game in question.
Mobile betting is just as exciting. Sometimes you wish to place a wager on your favorite team, but you’re away from home and therefore, do not have access to a desktop computer. There’s no need to fret – if you have a mobile phone, you can download a bookmaker’s app, install it on your device and use it to keep track of the latest odds and place your baseball bets. The majority of web-based bookmakers offer a Live Streaming feature which allows baseball fans to watch games in real time, directly from their desktop computers or mobile devices. All games from the MLB are covered.
You will find more information on baseball bet types below.
Baseball Betting Markets
If you’re wondering why so many punters prefer to bet on baseball, the answer to your question is rather simple and straightforward – betting on this popular sport is exceptionally exciting and quite challenging at times. What further adds to its merits is the fact there is a great diversity of baseball markets. Of course, each market calls for different strategies and poses different levels of challenge. That’s why, it is important to become well acquainted with each type of bet you can place on baseball.
One of the most common betting types, you can place on baseball is the so-called moneyline. Moneyline bets are quite easy to understand, as they are very straightforward. At first glance, the moneyline resembles the point spread but there is a substantial difference between the two. With the points spread, you bet on which of the two teams will win and with how many points. Please note, there is no point spread as far as baseball is concerned. When betting on the moneyline, you are required to predict correctly which team will win only.
The moneyline bets can be best explained with an example. For instance, imagine the Detroit Tigers are competing against the Cleveland Indians. The line for the game is set as follows: Detroit Tigers +130, Cleveland Indians -140. The minus written in front of the Indians’ name designates this team is more likely to win the game. The plus sign on the other hand, shows the Detroit Tigers are the underdog and their chances of winning are much smaller.
Punters who back the Indians will have to bet $140 to win net profit of $100. On the contrary, those who place their bets on the Detroit Tigers will have to put only $100 on stake to win $130. Moneylines are typically presented in betting units of $100, but this doesn’t mean punters are required to use $100 as their basic betting unit. You may choose to bet more or less money. The greater the favorite’s chances of winning, the greater the difference in the moneyline. If a popular team like the Los Angeles Dodgers is playing against an underdog such as Colorado Rockies, the odds will look like this, for example: Los Angeles Dodgers -220, Colorado Rockies +190.
The Run Line
Another popular alternative when betting on baseball games is the run line wager. The run line bears a significant resemblance to both the point spread and the moneyline, which is a combination between the two. Furthermore, the run line is the equivalent of the point spread in baseball betting.
When you place a bet on the run line, you are basically expected to correctly predict how many runs (the name itself suggests it) a given team will lose or win in the event. In baseball a smaller number of points are scored, so typically the run lines are set at either 1.5, or 2.5. If you place your bet on a 1.5 run line, the team you’re backing needs to win with a minimum of 2 points. Only then you will generate profits.
Another example: you wager on a game between the San Francisco Giants and the San Diego Padres. The run line will look different than the moneyline as one of the teams is given a virtual advantage of a given number of points: San Francisco Giants -2.5 (+120), San Diego Padres +2.5 (-140). The half point is added to eliminate the possibility of a draw which in its turn will lead to a push. Punters who bet on the Padres, are practically betting the team will win (or lose) the game with 2 runs precisely. If you bet on the Giants, they are expected to win or lose with at least 3 runs.
Sometimes it happens so that there is a significant difference in the performance of the two competing teams. When one of the teams is a sure winner, naturally most bets will be placed in its favor. If the favorite wins, bookmakers will have to part with a significant amount of money to pay out winning bets. In such cases, bookmakers tend to “handicap” the favorites. A virtual advantage is given to the underdogs to make them more appealing in the eyes of the punters. A certain number of points is subtracted from the favorites’ score, while the same number is added to the final score of the underdog.
Here is an example to explain how handicap betting works. Let’s assume the New York Mets are competing against the Philadelphia Phillies. Most punters would choose to back the Mets as they are more likely to win. However, the bookmaker will choose to create a handicap of +3 for the Phillies to artificially boost their chances of winning. The odds and the handicap will be presented in the following way: Philadelphia Phillies +3 2.50, tie +3 5.50, New York Mets -3 1.76.
As you can see the odds for the Phillies are higher because they’re less likely to win the game. If you bet on the Mets, the team is supposed to win with at least 4 runs. Then again, if the Mets win with 3, this would be considered a draw and those who bet on a tie will win. Keep in mind, some bookmakers don’t allow for bets to be placed on ties. In such cases, a 0.5 point is added.
Over/Under or Totals
Most inexperienced punters are recommended to place their first bets on the Over/Under markets and there is a good reason why. It is easier to make a correct prediction when you’re betting on this market. In such instances the web bookmaker will set a total for the baseball game. Punters can bet on whether or not the total number of runs scored by both teams will exceed the number set by the bookmaker – this is betting on the Over market. Then again, bets can be placed on the Under market when you predict the teams will score fewer runs in the course of the game. All nine innings need to be played if you wish your Over/Under bet to count. If the game is canceled due to bad weather conditions, your bet would be graded as “no action” – you won’t lose or win anything, your stake will simply be returned to you.
Future bets are suitable for enthusiastic sports fans who follow each baseball game closely. In fact, it is advisable to follow each single game that is played throughout the season. Why? Because with futures, you’re practically wagering on the final outcome of the next World Series championship. You’re betting on the season’s winner.
As you can imagine, such predictions are rather difficult to make – it would be best if you’ve watched all games from the previous season. This will help you to better evaluate the teams’ performance.
Future bets can also be placed on which team you think would win the division or its league’s pennant. Please note, such bets are always placed before the season even starts. Many factors can influence the outcome of the finals – some players may sustain serious injuries or the season’s final game might be played in bad weather conditions. You never know what will happen in the next months. In addition, the odds for future bets are constantly adjusted as the season heads towards its end. Future bets on the Season Wins market can be placed. These resemble the Over/Under totals but you are expected to predict the overall number of runs a team will score throughout the entire season.
Proposition bets, on the other hand, are based on statistics and are usually referred to as “Props”. These are difficult to predict, as you are basically betting on one specific occurrence. For example, you might opt to bet on the Los Angeles Dodgers scoring a home run in the first or the second inning.
Another option is to bet on which team’s hitter would get three strikes in the second inning, for instance. As you can see, the number of options is practically unlimited here. However, as this type of bet is much more specific, it would be more difficult to make a correct prediction. Some of the most popular proposition bets, placed on baseball games, include what player will hit the greatest number of home runs, and what the hitting rate of a specific team would be. The odds for props are usually presented as those for the moneyline.
Parlays are especially popular among seasoned baseball punters. Parlays are often referred to as “accumulators” as they consist of multiple selections. Those with two selections are called Doubles, while those with three – Trebles. The number of selections can often reach to up to 12. Keep in mind, parlays are not especially suitable for beginners as inexperienced punters would hardly be able to predict the outcome of more than two games. If one of your selections loses, you will lose the entire parlay.
On the other hand, parlays can be rather profitable. If the outcome of all selections is predicted correctly, the odds will be multiplied and you will generate greater profits. Parlay bets can be placed on the run line or on the Over/Under total. A combination of the two is also possible.
In-Play markets are more suitable for inexperienced punters. As was said at the beginning, some web-based bookmakers offer a Live Betting feature. This allows for bets to be placed while a given game is still in progress. As you are practically watching as the game unfolds, it would be easier for you to make a correct prediction. What’s so great about In-Play betting is that bets can be placed on almost all markets – Over/Under, Moneylines, Run Lines and so on.
Factors to Consider Before Placing a Baseball Bet
There are several key factors you need to take into consideration if you wish to place a winning bet. Many punters share the opinion baseball is a rather difficult sport to bet on – it is harder to generate substantial profits. Many things might influence the final outcome of a baseball game. These include pitchers, left-handed players, the field on which the game is played, the weather conditions and the teams’ form.
The Pitchers’ Impact
Baseball pitchers are said to greatly influence the odds and the betting line. This can be explained by the fact, they are the only players who participate actively in every play. Generally, it is assumed starting pitchers have a greater impact on how the odds are set. As was said mentioned above, each team consists of nine players and two of them are pitchers. To a great extent they are the ones who control the final outcome of the baseball game. That’s why before you back a team, you should first read the statistics of its pitchers. Most bookmakers tend to publish such information on their websites. If you’ve registered at one that doesn’t, you can check the statistics provided by specialized websites. Please note, some pitchers tend to perform better against certain opponents as well.
Left-Handed versus Right-Handed Players
Another important factor to take into account is whether or not a team consists predominantly of left-handed or right-handed players. So why is this so important? If a baseball team’s batting line-up is dominated by left-handed players, they will perform better against left-handed pitchers. The opposite, of course, is valid for right-handed batters and pitchers. A left-handed pitcher throws the ball at a different angle. This fact alone, can significantly confuse the opponents’ right-handed batter. The opposite applies to right-handed pitchers who play against left-handed batters.
The weather conditions also play a substantial role in baseball games. Naturally, if players are in a great form and are good enough at what they do, they might be able to overcome poor weather conditions. But then again, this is not necessarily true in all cases. Wind itself and the direction it blows in have a crucial impact on the game. Of course, this varies from one player to another. Pitchers, in particular, are especially influenced by windy conditions. Some pitchers use the wind to their advantage, while others consider it a major setback.
Air density and air temperature also impact the game. Air density largely depends on the altitude of the field at which the game is played. The higher the altitude, the lower the density. Low density allows for the ball to travel at a greater speed as there is less oxygen in the air. Humidity is yet another factor to consider. If the ball absorbs more moisture, it would not only become slightly heavier than it usually is, but will also bounce off the bat at a slower speed. The ball will fly slower and won’t travel as far as it normally would.
Temperature influences the players, as well. The hotter the weather is, the more sweat the players will shed. As you can imagine, if your palms and fingers are sweaty, this will affect your grip on the ball. Lower temperatures also affect the game – if the pitcher’s fingers are numb from the cold, his grip won’t be as firm as it usually is. The sun and clouds, on the other hand, might affect the players’ visibility. It’s hard to catch a ball when the sun is shining right in your eyes. This will greatly affect the batters’ depth perception and they might fail to hit the ball.
Whether or not the game is played in the evening (night) or in broad daylight is also of significant importance. Typically, more runs are scored during the day as players have a better visibility. This is especially important if you’re betting on the Over/Under markets.
The field on which the game is played is important as well. If a team plays at its home field, this means the players won’t have to travel from one city to another. This will slightly tip the scales in the Home team’s favor. Long-distance travel may prove to be quite tiring for the Away team. In addition, the latter wouldn’t be familiar with the baseball park’s configuration and would require some time to “acclimatize” to the new field. If the team has played a game the previous night and had to catch a flight early next morning, the players may not perform as good as they usually do due to exhaustion. Their Home opponents, on the contrary, would have received sufficient rest and would perform better.
Recent injuries may affect the players’ performance for the worse. Shoulder injuries, in particular, are widespread among baseball players. Pitchers, however, are more affected by those and sustain them more often as they are the ones throwing the ball. They aim to generate a greater velocity. If a pitcher had recently suffered a shoulder injury, the pain will cause them to throw the ball at lower velocity. The same is valid for pitchers who have sustained elbow injuries.
Knee injuries are more common among baserunners and also have a negative impact on their performance. This type of injury is predominantly caused by sudden twists in the knee joints, as well as by sudden changes in speed and the direction you’re running in. A player with a recent knee injury won’t be able to round all bases as fast. This might result in you placing a losing bet.
Baseball Betting Tips
If you consider carefully the aforementioned factors, your chances of placing a winning bet will increase. That being said, it’s also important to note some good advice can always be of great help for inexperienced punters.
Naturally, it would be a good idea to register with accounts at several bookmakers. This will enable you to compare the odds on offer. Remember there is no need to settle for lower odds. Why do it, when you can place your bets at a web-based bookmaker which offers more competitive odds? Better odds are equal to greater profits.
Please note that if the odds for the team you wish to back are set at less than 1.8, there’s no point in placing a bet at all. Even if your team wins, your profits would be laughable. It’s also worth mentioning the odds for the sure winners are always lower than those set for the underdogs. This is only natural – the latter’s chances of winning the game are much smaller. But sometimes it is much better to place a risky bet on the underdog and collect more substantial winnings. This strategy is called Betting Against the Public.
The type of bet you place also plays a certain role and calls for employing different strategies. If both competing teams are equally good, both will score more. In such cases it would be better to place a bet on the Over market. As baseball games consist of an odd number of innings, i.e. nine, a tie is out of the question. If the current result is 4 to 4, both teams will be driven to score more.
Inexperienced punters are frequently advised to bet on the Moneylines. Again, experts recommend to back the underdogs as you will generate more profits, if they win. The plus-money odds will work in your favor. If you bet on the underdog at +120 moneyline, you will win $120 if you place a $100 bet. If the moneyline for the favorites is -140, you will have to bet $140 to generate net profit of only $100. Those of you, who frequently back the favorites at -200 odds for example, and win 50% or 60% of the time, will actually lose money in the long run.
As bookmakers need to profit too, they charge winners with a commission. This commission is often referred to as “the vig” or “the juice”. The commission represents the difference between the size of your wager and that of your winnings. The standard juice is set at -110 (you risk $110 to win $100). It’s advisable to do a little research and look for a bookmaker with reduced juice. Some web-based betting providers offer reduced commissions on baseball bets, depending on which day of the week it is.
Remember pitchers are some of the most important players in a game of baseball. The moneylines are set depending on the starting pitchers. If the scheduled pitcher you’ve bet on can’t appear in the game for one reason or another, your wager will be declared void and the sum you’ve put on stake will be returned to you. That’s why it is advisable to bet on this game as “action”. This way, even if one of the starting pitchers fails to appear on the field, your bet will remain active. Bear in mind, if an unscheduled pitcher plays, your payout may be different than the one indicated by the odds, the bookmaker originally posted.
If you’re willing to test your luck and knowledge on accumulators, but are new to baseball betting, consider placing a Double accumulator, which combines only two selections. There’s no need to risk losing your money with three or more selections – chances are you won’t be able to predict correctly the outcome of more than two baseball games.
Keeping track of teams’ hitting and pitching streaks can also prove to be helpful, especially when you’re betting on the In-Play markets. If a team is experiencing a longer line of losing streaks, this may influence the public’s opinion. Most punters would opt for betting against this team. However, you never know in which direction the wind will blow. Use the stats and your intuition to evaluate the team’s chances of breaking out of their losing streak. If such possibility exists, back the team on one the In-Play markets, their odds would be more profitable.
Finally, the last advice is to always bet on the team with the strongest bullpen. This term is frequently used to refer to relief pitchers, who enter the game after the team’s starting pitcher has sustained an injury or has been removed due to ineffectiveness. When both teams’ bullpens are equally good, you must resort to statistics. Study the teams’ number of streaks in previous games and evaluate the advantage of the home team. This will increase your chances of placing a winning bet.