How to Bet on Baseball Online: Everything You Need to Know
Baseball is one of the biggest sports in the US, attracting fans and bettors from all across the country. Although most just stick to betting on who they think will win, there is so much more to it – and when you know how to bet on baseball – all the strategies and intricacies, then it can get next-level exciting.
How to Bet on Baseball in 2023
Betting on baseball has so many different facets. Whether you are looking to bet on your favourite team in Major League Baseball or Minor League Baseball, the different bets and options are endless. You could bet on Mike Trout to be the highest scorer or the New York Yankees to win the World Series, there’s something for everyone.
Here are the best baseball betting sites offering a whole host of possibilities:
Baseball Betting Explained: Baseball Betting Lines
So, once the baseball betting site has been chosen, you need to start betting. However, there will be so many options that it’s essential to know what each one is and what is the best choice for you. Here are the main types of baseball bets to choose from:
- Live Bets
- Proposition Bets
- Run Line
- 5 Innings
Moneyline: Bet on the Winning Team
The most popular baseball wager is betting on which team you think will win the game.
Bookies calculate the implied probability of winning for each team to set each of their odds. To make this calculation, they take into account factors such as the starting pitchers, weather conditions, home/away splits, team vs. team matchups, and more.
You can find moneyline odds in either American, decimal, or fractional format. Baseball odds are typically shown in the American format, in a value of hundreds. When you see a negative number next to a team’s name, it means they’re the favorite. On the other hand, if you see a positive number next to a team’s name, it means they’re the underdog.
Favorties are the most probable winners, so betting on them is the least risky choice. That’s why when you bet on a favorite, you need to invest more to win less. The opposite is true for the underdogs: as they are the most probable losers, betting on them is always the riskier option. So, you may wonder what happens if the game ends in a tie. In this case, you’ll get back the same amount you wagered without making a profit or loss.
- Example: Pittsburgh Pirates (+170) vs. New York Yankees (-210)
Now, let’s look at this example. If the Pirates go up against the Yankees, you can bet on either team winning the game. The Yankees are the favorites. So, to win $100, you have to bet 210 dollars. Conversely, if you bet $100 on the Pirates and they win, you’ll earn 170 dollars. Basically, when a team is a favorite, you have to bet the odd value to make $100. When a team is an underdog, you must wager $100 to win the odd value in dollars.
If the Yankees have odds of -300, instead of -210, that means the bookie thinks they are even more likely to win. On the other hand, if the Pirates show odds of +300, instead of +170, they have even fewer chances of winning, according to the oddsmakers. However, note that if you bet on the Pirates and they do manage to win, you can receive a much better payout than if you bet on the Yankees and they win.
Live Bets: Odds Change by the Minute
Live betting is a way to place bets on a game after it has started. This allows you to gain some insight into the form of the teams and players and the current state of the game. For example, you can place a bet on the next strikeout or run, among other things. If you time your bet well, you can get the best value odds.
Baseball is particularly suitable for live betting because the game’s pace is not that fast and any team is capable of winning throughout the entire game. This means you can take your time to consider factors such as the pitcher’s alertness and the umpire’s calling zone. Ultimately, this enables you to make smarter bets, while adding excitement to every moment of a game.
MLB live betting is an excellent option for those who are risk-averse because it allows for more precise control over the odds. With some research and good timing, live betting on MLB can be a fun and profitable experience. And since baseball is a game of stats, sportsbooks offer dozens of live betting lines for each baseball game.
For instance, you can bet on the outcome of every at-bat, or on the team to first reach a certain number of runs, or on the total number of pitches thrown in a half-inning, among many other MLB live betting lines. And what’s more: you can even combine two, three, or more bets into an exciting MLB in-game parlay!
And here’s an expert baseball bettor’s tip: if you’re a newbie to the thrilling world of MLB live betting, game lines like the moneyline, run line, and totals might be your best option, as they tend to be less risky. That’s simply because they include the entire game, versus a single inning.
Proposition Bets: Betting on Performance and Events
Proposition or prop bets give baseball bettors a chance to wager on markets that are not necessarily dependant on the game’s outcome. MLB prop bets are typically divided into two main categories: player props, and team props.
- MLB Player Props
As the name suggests, player props allow you to bet on the performance of players, regardless of the end result. Some popular examples of player props in baseball include betting on how many total hits a player gets or on how many strikeouts a pitcher will allow.
Sportsbooks offer an almost endless array of MLB player prop bets, particularly during the MLB playoffs, when player statistics become crucial. Seasonal performance awards are also an extremely popular market, including awards like the MLB MVP, MLB Rookie of the Year and Cy Young.
- MLB Team Props
Team prop bets are wagers on a team’s statistics and accomplishments, in spite of the final outcomes. One of the most popular team prop bets in MLB is what team will be the first to score. You can also bet on whether the game will go to extra innings, if a run will be scores in the first inning, what team will reach a certain number of runs first, the margin of victory, and many other options.
During the regular MLB season, you will also be able to bet on a team’s win total. In these cases you wager on the amount of wins a team will accomplish during the regular season. Bookies will set a win total number, and all you have to do is predict if the Ws of your chosen team will be Over or Under that value.
Runline Bets: Points Spread Bet
This is the equivalent of the point spread – or a handicap wager. If there is one team that is a strong favorite, then there will be a handicap given by the sportsbook. In MLB betting, the run line standard is 1.5, which is comparable to the puckline used in NHL betting.
The run line bet lets you predict the number of runs a team will win or lose by.
Bookmakers use numerous factors and statistics to figure out how much better one team is over the other, to then allocate the run line for each game. Even if there’s an obvious winner, the run line guarantees that bets are still placed on both sides.
Since the majority of baseball betting is goes toward the moneyline, often betting on the favorites doesn’t offer much value. That’s when the runline comes in. The odds tend to be a little better when the favorite team is giving up two runs, and the underdog is getting a two-run handicap.
Any good MLB runline betting strategy must involve handicapping a game in the same manner as we would when placing a moneyline wager. Baseball doesn’t involve a lot of scoring-action, so a 2-run handicap can have a huge impact on your bet.
- Example: Toronto Blue Jays -1.5 (+145) vs. Baltimore Orioles +1.5 (-175)
In this example matchup between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles, the -1.5 next to the Blue Jays means they are the favorite to win by at least 2 runs. The +145 beside that means if you bet $100 on the Blue Jays and they win by 2 or more runs, you’ll get a $145 profit.
On the other hand, the +1.5 next to the Orioles indicates that they are the underdogs, and they can lose by up to 1 run or win the game outright for you to win the bet. The -175 next to that means if you bet $175 on the Orioles and they lose by 1 run or win, you’ll get a $100 profit. Put simply, if you bet on the Blue Jays, they have to win by at least 2 runs for you to win. But if you bet on the Orioles, they can lose by 1 run or win the game outright for you to make a profit.
Totals: Over or Under
When betting on the totals, the objective is not to pick which team you believe will win, but rather to predict whether the total runs will be over higher or lower than the number set by the sportsbook.
For instance, let’s say the sportsbook sets the totals line at 9.5 for a game between the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox. To place your bet, you must decide whether the combined score of both teams will be over or under 9.5 runs. If you bet the over and the final score is 7-5 in favor of the Red Sox, the combined score is 12, which is over 9.5 runs. Therefore, you win the bet.
Similarly, if you bet the under, and the final score is 4-3 in favor of the Cubs, the combined score is 7, which is under 9.5 runs, and you would also win the bet.
The First 5 Innings: Half Time Bets
You can place all the bets explained above on the whole game, or as a 5 innings bet. This means that you will only be betting on the result of half of the game – the first 5 innings. As such, you won’t have to worry about substitutions or bullpens when making your wager.
This type of baseball bet comes in handy when you want to avoid the risk of potential changes or unpredictable factors that might come up as the game progresses.
When you place a first half bet, the outcome of your wager will be determined after the fifth inning, regardless of the game’s final result. What this means is that you will only take into account the performance of the starting pitcher and the offensive team up until the first half comes to an end. The bullpen will have absolutely no impact on the outcome of your bet.
Bullpens are notoriously unpredictable and can often have a decisive impact on the game. A team maybe leading all through the first half, and then the opposing team may switch to a reliever that ends up causing the initially winning team to lose the game. Betting on the first 5 innings is a smart strategy to mitigate the risk of such a scenario!
Baseball Betting Glossary
The best way to understand baseball betting is by understanding some of the main terms. Here are some you need to know:
|Baseball Betting Term||Definition|
|Correct score||Betting on the final score of the baseball game|
|Edge||A betting advantage gained by knowledge or betting odds|
|Exposure||The money the bettor or sportsbook could stand to lose|
|Futures||Betting on the outcome of a future event, such as the winner of the World Series|
|Halftime||Betting on the result of one half of a game (also known as 5-innings in baseball)|
|Juice||The sportsbook’s commission/edge|
|Margin||How much the winner defeats their opponents by|
|Parlay||Multiple bets combined to create one main bet – all legs must win.|
|Teaser||A combination of 2 or more bets. However, unlike Parlays, a bettor can adjust the point spreads.|
|Value||When betting odds represents the true probability of an outcome|
Best Baseball Betting Tips: Baseball Betting Strategy
So many baseball bets – and so much to consider! However, no matter what type of bet you go for, you need to make sure you have a solid baseball betting strategy before your start. With that being said, here are our top baseball betting tips:
Pay Attention to the Weather
Make sure you check out the weather before placing a bet, especially when betting on MLB totals. Factors like temperature and wind can have a big effect on the final outcome of a baseball game.
Hot weather, for instance, makes it easier for the ball to travel further because the air is less dense. This can turn an otherwise ordinary flyout into a lethal home run! The heat can also have a negative effect on pitchers, making it harder for them to maintain their focus during the game.
Windy conditions can make it more difficult for hitters to hit a home run, especially if the wind blowing in towards home plate. In these cases, seasoned bettors will typically avoid playing the Over. On the flip, if the wind is blowing out, it can make it easier to hit home runs by increasing the distance the ball travels, and bettors should therefore think twice before betting on the Unders.
Consider the Schedules
MLB teams will play 162 games over 180 days each summer, which means a lot of travel and a lot of playing. A team that has just had a day off may be more rested and fresher for the upcoming game, while a team that played the day before may be more fatigued. Also, a team that has been on a long road trip may also be more tired compared to a team that has been playing at home. This could create a favorable betting opportunity if the tired team is facing a fresh home team. The tired team’s performance may suffer due to fatigue, giving an advantage to the home team.
The Individual Matchups
Baseball is unique in that individual matchups between the pitcher and hitter can often have a significant impact on the outcome of the game. This means that a team with a strong starting pitcher may be more likely to win compared to a team with a weaker pitcher.
Take a game between Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Dodgers are starting their ace pitcher, Clayton Kershaw, who has a strong track record of pitching well. The Diamondbacks are starting a less experienced pitcher who has struggled in previous games. In this case, the Dodgers would likely be considered the favorite to win the game, as they have a stronger starting pitcher.
To handicap the starting pitchers for each team and predict how they match up against each other, you can take look at their past performance statistics, including earned run average (ERA), strikeout rates, and walk rates.
Avoid Betting on a Heavy Favorite
Most recreational baseball bettors will opt to bet on the favorite. Some people don’t even care that they will get practically nothing in return for their bet. Often to capitalize on this, a sportsbook will overprice the favorite team. So, baseball betting sites often offer over-inflated and non-value bets… and don’t pay out a lot. In these cases, a loss can kill your bankroll. That’s why, instead of going for a big favorite, it’s always better to choose value bets that have a better chance of winning.
Know the Umpires
Not studying the umpires is a common mistake in baseball betting. After all, these men have a huge influence on the outcome of the game!
The umpire behind the plate has the power to make the strike zone bigger or smaller: if the zone is big, the pitcher can be more precise with their pitches, leading to a low-scoring game. On the contrary, if the zone is small, the pitcher has to throw more down the middle, giving the hitter an advantage.
Each umpire will have different tendencies: some have a reputation for having a small strike zone, while others will tend to favor a large one. By doing some research and looking at the umpire’s history, you can make more informed betting decisions and potentially increase your chances of winning.
Betting Against the Public
As above, a sportsbook will look to take advantage of popular public opinion and bias. If you understand this, you can use it to your advantage. If you bet against the public, you will get much more value for your money.
If the Yankees are playing the Red Sox, for example, bookies will almost certainly overprice the Yankees, knowing that many fans will bet on them regardless of the odds. Yet, if your research tells you the Red Sox have a better chance of winning than the odds suggest, you can take advantage of the overpriced Yankees by betting against the public. This means betting on the Red Sox to win, even if they are the underdogs.
Manage Your Bankroll
You need to be disciplined when betting on baseball. Don’t get carried away by the promise of big payouts – this will mean nothing if your bet loses. Consider the value of smaller bets and lots of smaller wins rather than chasing that one big win and crippling your budget. Set a budget and stick to it. Read more about bankroll management here.
How to Bet on Baseball and Win
Alright, so you have a strategy and know the different bets. It’s now game time! Here’s how to get started on betting on baseball:
- Take a look at our list of the top baseball betting sites. Read the reviews and check out the bonuses on offer to see which site fits your needs best.
- Once you’ve picked your bookie, register a new account. This usually involves filling out some basic information like your name, email, and address.
- Choose your payment method and make your first deposit! Most sites will have several payment options available. Again, check the reviews to find the bookie that accepts your preferred payment methods.
- Cash in your welcome bonus! Most reputable baseball sportsbooks offer generous bonuses to new users. These can range from matched deposits, to free baseball bets, so be sure to check out what’s on offer.
- Time to start betting! Look through the site’s menu for the different baseball markets available. You’ll quickly find the moneyline, the total number of runs scored, or the run line, among many other betting options.
- Choose your bet type and stake, then confirm your bet. Make sure to double-check your selection before you hit confirm.
- Now all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the action! If your bet wins, you’ll quickly see your winnings added to your account balance.