Widely recognized as the national sport in the United States, baseball is a popular bat-and-ball game in North and South America, the Caribbean and East Asia. As it is a professional sport in North America for over a century, however, the world’s top teams play in Major League Baseball (MLB), an organization that includes 30 teams from the United States and Canada. Due to the athletic skills of the players and the nature of the game, which is full of twists and turns, betting on MLB events has become a fun and profitable hobby for thousands of baseball fans in North America.
But before plunging into the world of betting on MLB events, we need to understand why baseball is so popular today and where it came from. Its roots could be traced back to the XVIII century and even earlier in England where it was played without any formal rules as a version of even older bat-and-ball games. It was later brought by immigrants to North America where it went through various changes and eventually evolved into the modern game of baseball we know today.
By the late XIX century, professional and semi-professional leagues and clubs had already emerged and only a few decades later, the Golden Age of Baseball began. It was dominated by players such as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb, Hank Greenberg, and Gabby Hartnett, whose names have achieved a legendary status nowadays. In 1903, Major League Baseball was established and teams from the National League and the American League started playing against each other. The sport and the organization continued to evolve and today, MLB offers baseball fanatics exciting events nearly all year round.
Betting on MLB Events
Betting on MLB events is available around the world and punters from various countries can place their wagers online just like with every other professional sport. Until recently, sports betting was illegal in almost all states in the U.S. and only Nevada offered legal parley (multiple events) and single-event betting. In May 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States lift the federal ban on sports wagers and allowed states to pass their own legislation regarding sports betting. Several states have already launched sports betting services and more states are expected to do the same.
After this move, betting on MLB events will likely become in the coming months and years even more popular both online and in casinos and betting shops. Whether in the United States or in any other country around the world, however, punters should know some basic aspects of wagering on MLB events before they register an account and start betting online.
The Importance of Statistics
There are several reasons why betting on baseball is so popular and one of them is certainly America’s love for this sport. But another very important thing to consider is that unlike some sports, baseball can be carefully dissected and analyzed statistically. Moreover, there are tons of archives full of information that dates back to the beginning of the last century and today, with the emergence of technologies, the statistical analysis of the game has become even more accessible. In fact, the analysis has become more important than ever – it is used for forging playing strategies against the rival team and for understanding the teams and the individual players.
Players, especially for those who bet online, can benefit greatly from attentive data analysis. Data analysis is used for more calculated predictions of the outcome of a game. Nowadays, experts collect data such as straightforwardness of fielders’ routes to the ball, speed, rotation and movement velocity of pitches, etc. Moreover, a good many fans have started analysing various aspects of the game. For example, some target one inning, whereas others monitor the entire game. Some even focus on minor details such as hitting strategies.
Understanding the Odds
One of the most important but often overlooked things in sports betting is the odds. It is the odds that determine whether a bet has some value or not and the fundamental principle is that the more unlikely a certain occurrence is, the higher the odds for it will be. Odds are, in fact, a representation of probability and an integral part of betting. In other words, if you choose to bet on your favourite team and it is victorious, you will win. But the amount of money you win depends on the odds. When choosing what bet to place, punters should always look at the odds – they show whether is bet is worth making or not.
If your team is expected to lose and is, therefore, the underdog, the odds will be higher and you will win more in case it miraculously wins. Betting on the favourite, on the other hand, generally offers lower odds and there are usually additional conditions such as winning by a specific number of runs. Odds can be displayed in three different ways – when there are two numbers separated by a slash (10/1), this is a fraction. It shows you how much you can win based on the amount you have wagered and in this case, for example, if you bet $1, you will win $10.
Number odds are considered even simpler – these represent positive numbers which illustrate total payouts, including the initial bet placed per unit. For example, a successful bet at 2.50 odds would pay out $2,50 for every $1 you bet – a profit of $1,50. Number odds are widely popular in Europe and North America. The other format odds can be displayed in is the American or Moneyline odds – they can be either positive or negative numbers, with the favourite always represented with the negative number, while the underdog comes with the positive number.
Here, the odds are based on a wager of $100, not $1. For instance, you see odds for the New York Yankees are +150 and this means that a winning $100 bet would return $150 plus the initial stake of $100 (a total of $250). But if you see -150 odds, this means that a bet on this team would cost $150 to win $100, plus the initial $100. The even-money wager is simply expressed as +100. This format can be found on sports betting sites targeting punters from the United States but most well-established sportsbooks allow their customers to choose the format of the odds.
Considering the Pitchers
Often, punters need to specify the starting pitcher along with their bets when wagering on baseball. Most online sportsbooks would offer you three choices, namely listed pitchers, one pitcher or action. In order for your bet to be valid (or to have action, as it is also called), both scheduled pitchers will need to start the game, while some sportsbooks will deem your bet valid if you specify only one of the pitchers.
In these two cases, your bet may be cancelled if the designated pitcher does not start the game or is changed with another one. All baseball fans know that pitchers are no regular players and this is why even odds change if the pitcher is replaced mid-game or even before the start of the game. The third choice is “action” and in the unlikely event that a pitcher is replaced, your bet will not be cancelled. However, the odds would be different and may not be worth it. Still, such scenario will not happen often.
Bets to Make on MLB Events
Most sports betting sites offer a wide variety of bets and they are quite universal, at least for most sports. There are some differences when betting on baseball, however, and below we will mention the most popular types of bets when it comes to this sport and how they stand out from the rest.
This is the simplest and easiest to understand bet type in sports betting as a whole. But it is available only in certain sports such as baseball and involves simply picking the winning team. In many other sports, this basic bet is the point spread, which requires you to predict not only the winning team but also by how much points the team would win. There are rarely point spreads in baseball and instead, punters only need to choose the team that would win straight up. This bet is usually accompanied by odds in American format.
The runline is a particular moneyline which is equal to the point spread in other sports and is always set at +1.5 or -1.5 (the positive number is always added to the underdog). The numbers show what number will be added or removed from a teams’ total score upon the ending of the game. To illustrate this, let us suppose we have team A and team B. If team A is -1.5, then 1.5 will be removed from its final score. Conversely, should team B be +1.5, then 1.5 will be affixed to its final score.
If you bet on team A, they will need to win by 2 runs in order for you to win. But if you bet on team B, you can win if they win outright or lose by no less than 1 run. The line’s price will be represented as an American-format odds.
With betting on totals, punters can wager on the total number of runs that would be scored by both teams in the game. This betting line of a specific number of runs is established by the oddsmakers and you bet either Over (O) or Under (U) this number. Once again, you will have a favourite and an underdog. For example, the bets are – team A/O 7.0/-130 and team B/U 7.0/+110. In this case, the Over bet is favoured and it requires a wager of $130 to return $100 in winnings.
Often, this type of bet is called Grand Salami in the United States and is most commonly used in baseball and hockey.
Along with traditional types of bets such as moneylines, runlines and totals, most sportsbooks also offer punters proposition bets, also known as props. Often considered fun bets for casual punters, they are based on the occurrence of some event during a game. This event, however, usually does not influence the final outcome of the game and is usually a very specific one. For example, you can bet on whether a team would get a home run in the second inning or whether the hitter would get three strikes in the third inning.
Will the Chicago White Sox really lose the most games in baseball and will the Red Sox win the World Series? The options here are endless and each sports betting site would have its own props. While many bettors seem to overlook these types of bets, they could be extremely rewarding for those who are super fans of one particular team or a particular player and know everything about them.
Parlay bets allow sports betting fans to combine two or three separate bets into one in order to receive an extra payout. In order to win, however, all bets within the parlay must win, which means that punters should be perfect. The risk with this type of bet is higher, but so is the potential profit.
There are different kinds of parlay bets, depending on the sportsbook, and one of the more common ones is the Round Robin. This is a combination of two parlays – for instance, one three-team parlay and two, two-team parlays.
Future bets are a common type of bets which allow punters to bet on a team’s chances of winning the World Series, their league or division. Futures are available all year long and can be placed months before the actual final takes place. Punters can place these bets during the offseason, the regular season, the pennant races and the postseason. The odds are dynamic and change with the team’s scores and current performance, players’ injuries, and many more.
This classic bet is often featured in soccer and includes the following possible outcomes – win, draw, or lose. In baseball, this bet is founded on regulation or 8.5 to 9 innings. If the home team is winning after 8.5 or 9 full innings, the 3-way bet is graded with the team that has the most runs scored. Moreover, if the game is tied after 9 full innings, the winning bet is “draw”. Additionally, bets placed on games that finish before 8.5 innings are considered invalid.
Many sportsbooks also offer similar bets on 4 ½ and 5 innings.
How to Choose a Site for MLB Betting?
Once you know the basics of betting on baseball and MLB events, you need to find the best odds on the Internet. With so many sports betting sites, it may be difficult to pick the best sportsbook for you. There are several things every bettor should look for when searching where to wager online. First and foremost, every good online sportsbook should guarantee its customers safety and reliability. There are at least a dozen sites that have been around for years and have an impeccable reputation for fairness, online security, and fast, reliable withdrawal of bettors’ winnings.
Another thing to consider when choosing an online sportsbook is the convenience it offers. If you are registering an account at a more internationally marketed site, you should check if it processes payments in your local currency. A good sports betting site would also accept a wide variety of payment methods such as bank transfer, credit and debit cards, digital wallets and other online payment systems. The betting services and the customer support of good, reputable sportsbooks are available around the clock. In addition, punters need to look for licensed betting operators.
The types of bets we already mentioned are just the beginning – once you register an account with an online sports betting site and start betting, you will see plenty of props to choose from, as well as all events during the season. As MLB is the most popular baseball league to bet on, the odds offered are much better than if you wager on other leagues and divisions. Most of the leading sports betting sites also offer live betting and live broadcast of every game during the season directly on their platform. Some of them come have mobile sites and applications that are just as functional as the original sites and allow you to watch every game from everywhere.
Things to Consider when Betting on MLB Events
Before you start betting on MLB events, you should know that it could be quite different from betting on other sports. The reason for this is the nature of the game of baseball – it is often slower than other sports, with some games continuing for three hours. At the same time, several games are being played every day during the season, which means it could be quite difficult to keep track of them all. The lack of fast-paced action in baseball is the reason why most punters prefer to place bets on faster games such as football, hockey, or American football.
There are, however, many advantages of choosing baseball over all other sports for betting and one of them is the number of games broadcast every day. Remember that each of the 30 teams in MLB plays 162 games during the season. It is true that it is nearly impossible to watch a dozen games every day, but this is exactly what good sports betting sites could do for you. They publish the results, in-game updates, pitcher replacements, while the odds are dynamic and change as the game progresses. With this information, punters can adjust their bets, look for interesting trends and gather important data.
This brings us to the next advantage of betting on Major League Baseball events – the sheer amount of data and statistics available online. They can be very useful for forming a successful betting strategy – once you look at factors such as the performance of starting pitchers and bullpens, head-to-head records and the records of the home team and the away team, you can make fairly faithful predictions about the future performance of the teams. Not to mention the statistics collected for every single player – the number of strikes during the season, average number of strikes per game, injuries, and many more.
Another important thing to consider is betting on underdogs. This could be a very successful strategy although it sounds counterintuitive at first – most people see who the favourite team is and bet on it without thinking of the actual money they could win. In fact, experienced punters know that they can be profitable even if they lose more games than they win. The key is making sure that the return on each bet is larger than the risk. The odds are always higher for the underdog than they are for the favourite, but the truth is that in most cases, betting on the underdog is not a good idea.
There are several situations, however, when you may want to look at the stats and consider betting on the team, generally expected to lose. A good time to back underdogs is at the beginning of the season in April (or late March) when all 30 teams are still in the mix and the oddsmakers are still adjusting to the season’s schedule. It is also a good idea to bet on the underdogs when they have been on the road for at least 7 or 8 games and are now coming home. Statistics show that in most cases, they beat the odds, finally playing where they feel most welcome and manage to dominate and defeat the favourite.
The key when betting on the underdog is to find a bad team that excels in certain situations. This information is widely available, as we already mentioned, so you can easily find certain patterns. For example, you can bet on the underdog if it always does well against right or left-handers, at home, or against particular starters. You will also learn to notice when favourites experience bad weeks – if the good team has struggled over the past week or so, it is likely to do so in the upcoming game. There are many more situations like this, but it is always important to look at the moneyline price as sometimes, the small odds are not worth it.