Updated: June 2019

How to Bet on Baseball

3 June 2019

With thousands of games played every year, Baseball is a sport which provides plenty of opportunity for bettors to make a profit. Especially those clever punters who adopt an analytical approach and only bet when they are confident of making a profit.

Baseball – The Basics

Basically, Baseball is a game played with a bat and ball. Two teams play in a game, with each taking turns to bat and field.

When fielding, one player known as a pitcher will throw the ball and the player on the batting team will attempt to hit it. If they succeed in hitting the ball and keeping it within bounds, the player becomes a runner and attempts to get to the safety of a base. A run is scored when a runner manages to safely make it back “home”.

If a player on the batting team makes it to say first base, they can then attempt to run further during a teammates turn batting. The job of the pitcher and the fielding team is to get a player on the batting team out.

Teams take turns to bat, with three outs constituting an over and a switch from batting to fielding for a team. A game usually lasts for nine overs apiece, with the winner being the team with the most runs at the end of the game. If the scores are tied, extra innings will be played until there is a clear winner.

Baseball Betting Markets

There are three main betting markets in Baseball, with alternative lines available from some bookmakers as well as futures or outright betting markets. Those three main markets are:

Moneyline

The moneyline is similar to a match result market, with bookmakers offering odds on who will win a game. For example:

In a game between the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians, the Indians are betting favourites at moneyline odds of -200 and the White Sox are the underdog at a price of +163.

This means that bettors would have to place $200 on Cleveland Indians to win $100 profit, while betting $100 on Chicago White Sox would pay a profit of $163.

Run Line

The run line is a handicap betting market, with the spread usually set at 1.5.

Using the game mentioned above, we can see how the run line market works.

At a handicap of (-1.5) the Cleveland Indians are priced at -120, with the Chicago White Sox at +100 with a +1.5 handicap. This means that for the purposes of the bet, Chicago White Sox start 1.5 runs ahead.

If you bet Cleveland Indians, it would cost you $120 to win a profit of $100 and you would need them to win by two cor more runs in order to win your bet. Backing Chicago White Sox would cost $100 to make a profit of $100 but they have the advantage of starting 1.5 runs ahead. This means that if they win or lose by just a run, they return you a winning bet.

There are alternative run lines available from some bookmakers, with markets such as a reverse handicap where the + and – are changed around and the odds adjusted accordingly. There are also alternative spreads available, with 2.5 or 3.5 being an option for some games.

Run Totals

The run totals betting market is the same as an over/under market in other sports, where bettors place a bet on whether there will be over or under a set amount of runs scored.

For example, using the same game as above between the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians, we see that the odds are +105 for under 8.5 runs in total and -120 for over 8.5 runs. This means a bet of $100 would return a profit of $105 on under, and $120 would return a profit of $100 on over.

There are alternative totals available to bet on with some bookmakers, offering totals from between 6.5 up to 10.5.

Another way of betting on run totals, and only available at certain bookmakers, is each team over or under a set total. For example, Chicago White Sox to score over/under 4.5 runs. The totals on this usually vary from anything between 1.5 and 5.5 with the odds altered to reflect the probability of the team scoring higher or lower that number of runs.

How to Bet on Baseball

Many sports bettors believe Baseball to be the easiest sport to make a regular profit from, although it remains one of the least bet on sports in the world. In order to help you improve your chances of a profit, here are a few tips to follow.

Get Ahead With Research

Research will not only teach you about the sport but it will help to give you an edge when it comes to placing bets. You can study historical trends, recent form of teams, and other information.

Initial research will give you a head start but you need to ensure you remain analytical and stay up to date with whatever statistical information is available, as well as keeping an eye on player injuries etc.

All of this will enable you to make better decisions when it comes to placing a bet which has the best chance of returning you a profit.

Back the Underdog

Baseball is one of those sports where regularly backing the underdog can return you a decent profit. Even if you win around 40% of your bets, if they are on a plus-money favourite you are still likely to have gained a small profit.

At the end of the day, you only lose your stake money if you lose your bet but you gain a tidy profit if you win. Whereas betting on the minus-money favourites can cost you a lot in stake money and a couple of losses will have you chasing money.

For example, lets say you placed a bet of $100 on only teams priced at +150. If you won four out of ten bets, you would still break even. If you only backed teams at +160, you would have made a $40 profit after the ten matches if you won 40% of the time.

Underdogs do win regularly in Baseball and the clever bettor will make sure they have their money on them when they do.

Know Pitcher Statistics

The pitcher is perhaps the most important player on the field in determining the chances of a team winning, as well as how many runs will be scored.

Researching and studying pitcher statistics will help you make better decisions when it comes to betting. And do not just stick to information related to the starting pitchers. Knowing the bullpen is key to making a profit here.

When studying pitcher stats, make sure to note down the number of innings pitched, runs conceded, and other useful information.

Ball Park and Weather Influence

Some ball parks will historically play host to high or low scoring games, which is information every intelligent bettor should know. By finding out historical trends related to different ball parks, we can make more informed decisions on what bets to place.

For example, if a ball park generally plays host to low scoring games, we probably won’t bet on there being a high number of runs in the totals market.

Weather plays a big part in Baseball too, especially if it’s windy. Get to know what impact, if any, different weather conditions have on games and change your betting strategy accordingly.

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