Betting on MLB – Introduction

Major League Baseball has been around since 1903 when the American League and National League merged to form the league that we recognize today. Many of the member clubs in Major League Baseball existed in some form before that point, as part of the A.L. or N.L. before the merger of the leagues occurred. Read all our IBD offer on MLB Betting.

Today, the American League and National League still exist as the two halves of MLB Betting, with each league having 15 teams to make up the 30 total franchises in MLB.

There are three divisions in the American League and three divisions in the National League, with five teams in each division to hold the 30 teams. Both leagues have an East, Central, and West division, where teams from each league are divided based on their geography. 

MLB Teams in each division play one another far more often than they play the rest of the league throughout their 162 game schedules.

In Major League Baseball, games consist of nine innings, with top and bottom halves of each inning where each team has a turn at-bat. If the game is tied after nine innings, extra innings are played until a winner is declared. 

There are no ties in baseball, meaning there is no limit to the number of extra innings that can be played if each inning concludes without the tie being broken.

Beyond the differences in the teams in each league, there are actual differences in the rules of the game in the American and National Leagues.

In the American League, the eight position players and a designated hitter are a part of the batting order, with pitchers not batting during each game. And in the National League, there is no designated hitter, with pitchers batting in the batting order and typically hitting eighth or ninth.

Overall, Major League Baseball has seen a significant strategic shift over recent years. Teams have emphasized power bats over players who hit for average, as improvements in pitching have made it easier to score via home runs than stringing together extended rallies. Defenses have responded with increased shifts to better defend pull hitters and make it more difficult for hitters to get on base.

Baseball may be the most high-variance of the major sports in America. One lousy pitch can dramatically change the direction of a game, or one missed pitch by a hitter can squander even the most enticing of scoring chances for an offense.

MLB Picks

The most common types of MLB picks are single-game bets. Moneyline wagers are the easiest of these bets to understand, as they require bettors to simply predict which team is going to win a Major League Baseball game. 

Totals wagers consist of bettors predicting whether the number of runs scored in a game will go over or under the total set by a sportsbook.

Runline bets are similar to point spread wagers in other sports, only with one notable difference. 

In sports like basketball and football, point spreads can vary depending on the perceived gap in talent between one team and their opponent. But in baseball, runline bets are set at 1.5 runs, with the difference being the odds on each side of the 1.5 run line instead of the number of runs being laid or taken on either side.

The other form of single-game wagering popular in Major League Baseball is prop betting. Bettors can wager on props related to single-player performance, such as whether a player will get a hit or hit a home run throughout a game. 

They can also wager on props about the games as a whole, such as whether or not a run will be scored in the first inning or if a game will go to extra innings.

Aside from single-game betting, bettors can also wager on futures bets in Major League Baseball. It is possible to wager on predictions about what will happen throughout an entire season with futures betting. 

Here, bettors can wager on a team’s performance throughout the year, such as which team will win the World Series, their league’s pennant, or their division.

Bettors can also get money down on which individual players will win the awards that are up for grabs each season. Most sportsbooks carry betting odds on which players will win the MVP award in each league and the Cy Young award for the best pitcher in each league. 

Bettors can even get down on full-season statistical leaders, such as which player will end the season with the most hits or home runs when the year is done.

MLB Betting Odds

MLB Betting Odds are set up the same as in other sports, as bettors have to understand the different numbers for the odds they are trying to bet on. 

Betting Odds with a minus sign next to them indicate the amount that a bettor needs to wager to win $100, while odds with a plus sign signify the amount a bettor would win if they put $100 on that market. For example, -110 odds mean bettors have to wager $110 to win $100, while +110 odds mean a $100 bet would yield $110 in profit.

Major League Baseball odds can vary from sportsbook to sportsbook in almost every market. While over/under wagers will be somewhere in the neighborhood of -110 odds on each side at most sportsbooks, markets like moneylines, run lines, and futures can all have different odds depending on where a bettor looks. 

This can significantly impact how profitable a bettor is over time.

For example, let’s say that a team is a -150 favorite to win a MLB Betting game on the Moneyline at one sportsbook. At another sportsbook, that same team might be a -130 favorite. Betting on that team at -150 would require a $150 bet to win $100, while that same team at -130 odds would only require a $130 bet to win $100, requiring an investment of $20 less to take the more favorable line.

Because odds can differ from one sportsbook to another, it is recommended that bettors utilize multiple sportsbooks. This allows them to compare betting odds and use the bet at whichever bookmaker is offering the best odds on the wager they want to place.

Doing so can make small differences in the short term, which can make a big difference in the long run.

MLB Betting Stats

Major League Baseball is a sport that offers more statistics than any other, with everything from how well hitters and batters are performing at the macro-level to the specifics behind those performances accessible to bettors. 

Because of that, bettors should always look at as much statistical information as possible to take full advantage of what is available before placing their bets. These statistics are beneficial when evaluating and predicting the outcomes of MLB matchups.

First, bettors will always want to check to see how each member of a batting order has performed historically against the pitching staff they are slated to face. This applies to both the expected starting pitcher and the bullpen to understand which part of a game a batting order may succeed in and which part of a game it may be slowed down in. 

When doing this, it is essential to keep the importance of sample sizes in mind, as a batter going 3-3 against a pitcher may look good but not mean much given the small sample size involved.

Sports Bettors will also want to evaluate which parts of the field a hitter is the best at hitting the ball to. Different ballparks have different dimensions, making it easier for batters to hit the ball out depending on where they are. 

Looking at spray charts to find out if a batter’s strengths match up with the idiosyncrasies of each ballpark could help bettors figure out the best avenues to attack both full-game and prop betting markets.

There are, of course, plenty of other ways to use statistics to bet on Major League Baseball. No matter how bettors use the information at their disposal, they should track their performance when relying on specific data. This can help bettors realize which pieces of information are truly useful to placing winning bets over a large sample size and which parts of information are less valuable.

MLB Betting Trends

Betting Trends are used across the world of sports betting to justify making different picks, but the effectiveness of relying on trends is hotly debated.

There are sample size concerns associated with trends and concerns about how impactful trends are when rosters change across the world of sports from year to year. In baseball, betting trends are challenging to justify using, given the high variance of the game of baseball itself.

For example, let’s say that a team is 10-2 over its last 12 games. This sounds great and may convince some bettors to decide to back that team in its next game. But there are several things to consider surrounding that trend that could impact the likelihood of the next game going in that team’s favor.

It is possible that a team had a run of good luck against the pitching rotations of their opponents, facing back-end rotation pitchers instead of number one starters. Or that team could have faced a string of teams at the bottom of the standings, inflating their win total over a small sample size while they might not be as good as their recent record suggests. All of this is to say that contextualizing trends is extremely important when attempting to use them to place bets on Major League Baseball. 

Variance also has to be considered when analyzing Major League Baseball trends. A player with a career batting average of .200 could have a 4-4 day at the plate in one game, helping his team get a win thanks to a massive outlier of a day that can’t be relied on to happen again consistently.

Looking into the games that are a part of an MLB betting trend to see how many of those outliers exist is essential to giving each trend the context necessary to use them properly.

How to Bet on Baseball

The most important thing to remember to bet on MLB is that underdogs are not something to fear in this sport. 

In basketball and football, favored teams are considered more likely to beat their opponents. But in baseball, games truly can go either way in many cases, as even the worst teams in MLB win around 40 percent of the time, and the best teams lose around 40 percent of the time.

Because of that, bettors shouldn’t be afraid to wager on underdogs, even when it seems like there is a considerable mismatch between the two teams on paper. 

Bettors shouldn’t blindly bet on underdogs, of course, and should pick their spots when backing teams that aren’t favored. But taking advantage of the gaps between perception and reality when looking at each team in Major League Baseball can certainly be a profitable strategy.

Bettors also must manage their bankrolls effectively when wagering on MLB games. In a sport as unpredictable as Major League Baseball, betting too much on each game can be costly when a losing streak comes around for a bettor. Bettors should pick a set amount to put on each baseball bet they place, as a small percentage of their bankroll, to level out the highs and lows of betting on baseball.

MLB Frequently Asked Questions

MLB betting is currently legal in several states, with many states allowing a combination of in-person and online sports gambling. Bettors should check the laws in their individual state to make sure they can wager on MLB and any other sport.

Where bettors can get involved with baseball betting depends on the laws in the state they are in. Different states have different sportsbooks that they can use, though these vary based on the laws and licensing agreements that are in place.

The best MLB betting site can vary greatly depending on the needs of each bettor. Some bettors care more about which sites have the best odds, while others are more concerned with bonuses or user experience. This depends entirely on personal preference.

The key to winning MLB bets is to handicap each game thoroughly using all of the statistics and metrics available to bettors before each game. An open mind is also required, as subconscious bias for or against one side can be detrimental to a bettor.

The runline in MLB betting is the equivalent of the point spread market for baseball. The favorite has a run and a half taken off of their score at the end of a game, while the underdog has a run and a half added if that is the side a bettor chooses to take.

The over/under is a market where bettors can wager on whether they think the combined score of a game will be greater than or less than the projected score set by bookmakers before the start of a game.

Each team plays 162 regular-season games during a regular Major League Baseball season. There is also the possibility of the playoffs for each team, consisting of the Wild Card game in each league along with a best-of-seven game series the rest of the way.

Major League Baseball season occurs from late March through October and occasionally into November if the World Series takes long enough.

Yes, it is possible to place an in-play wager on Major League Baseball. Most sportsbooks offer live bets on baseball games, with updated odds after each at-bat throughout all nine innings.

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