How to Bet on Major League Baseball
22 May 2019
Major League Baseball provides sports bettors with an overwhelming amount of chances to make a profit. With 2,500 matches played in a regular season, the potential to find a winning formula is great.
But, some people wouldn’t even know where to start when it come to betting on MLB. Most people, especially those from countries where Baseball isn’t a popular sport, may struggle to even understand what is going on in a match let alone how to make a profit from it.
Here, our guide to betting on MLB will aim to make it easier for beginners and provide a few tips for those who already like a flutter on Major League Baseball.
Major League Baseball – An Introduction
Founded in 1903, Major League Baseball is the oldest of the four main professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada.
A total of thirty teams start a regular season, split into two. Fifteen teams play in the National League and the other fifteen play in the American League. The NL and AL existed before the MLB, but merged together in 1903 to create the foundations of what Major League Baseball is today.
Each of the two leagues is split into three for a regular season, with five teams in each of the East, West, and Central divisions in their league.
All teams play 162 games each during a regular season, which usually runs from April until October. Each team will have a schedule consisting of two, three or four match series against the other teams. They play nineteen games against the other four teams in their division, six or seven games against the other then teams from their league, a series of matches against a division from the other league, and extra matches against an interleague rival.
At the end of a regular season, five teams from each league will receive a play off spot. This is achieved by a team either winning their division or by earning a wild card.
The two wild card teams from each league first compete against each other in a wild card game, a one-off match to determine which team joins the three divisional winners in the divisional series matches.
The play-offs then move on to the divisional series, with two best-of-five series in each league. The winners of these then move on to the championship series, a best-of-seven series between the top two teams in each league.
The winners of the championship series, known as the pennant winners, then move on to the World Series. This is a best-of-seven series between the two league champions to determine an overall MLB winner for that season.
Betting on MLB
The main betting markets available for the MLB are similar or the same to those available for the other major sporting leagues in the US and Canada.
Moneyline Betting Market
The Moneyline betting market is the same as a match result in other sports. The punter is betting on who will win the game, with the bookmaker providing set odds for each team to do so.
Totals Betting Market
The totals market in Major League Baseball is akin to an Over/Under market in other sports. The bookmaker gives set odds on either Over or Under a specified number of runs will be scored, and the punter bets on the outcome they think most likely to happen.
This market can sometimes be offered one of two ways, dependant on the bookmaker. It may either be an Over/Under market on a total number of runs to be scored overall in a match or it may give you the opportunity to bet Over/Under each team to score a certain number of runs.
Runline Betting Market
The runline betting market is a handicap market, similar to that of a points spread in other American sporting leagues.
This market will offer either a plus or minus a certain number of runs, and that team starts with that handicap for the purposes of this betting market. So, a team starting on -1.5 would have to win by two runs to win the bet. Whereas a team starting on +1.5 could lose the match overall but still win the bet if they only lost by one point.
The runline +/- number is variable, dependant on bookmaker, and the odds will reflect this and could be extremely low for some games.
Futures Betting Markets
These markets are for those bettors who like to bet on future outcomes and hope for a big pay-off at the end of the season. Futures markets available include:
• World Series Champions
• AL or NL League Champions
• Divisional Winners
• Player with most Home Runs
• Best Pitcher
How to Bet on MLB
Betting on Major League Baseball isn’t easy if you do not properly understand the sport, or you are new to it. But, there are a few tips to help you maximise your profit making potential.
Learn About MLB
The first thing you must do when betting on any new sport or league is to learn all you can about it. Read up on the history, how it works, rules and regulations, and study statistics from previous seasons.
This will give you all the knowledge you require to be able to at least make informed betting decisions. We recommend learning all you can, and then trying to learn some more.
Look for Value
Even the best teams in MLB lose games. In fact, the favourite loses about 40% of the time during the regular season. So, this gives a lot of opportunity for bettors to find value bets.
Our advice would be to ignore extremely short priced favourites, and check head to head records to see if the underdog in a particular game has a good record against their opponents.
Study the Pitchers
The Pitcher on a baseball team is perhaps the most vital position and one that has a major impact on the outcome of a game.
But, with the starting pitcher generally pitching around six or fewer overs, it’s vital to study up on the reserve pitchers too. Having this information can increase the potential of you finding good value bets.
Study Strengths and Weaknesses
If you bet on other team sports then studying statistics should be nothing new to you. Use the same methods before betting on the MLB to help you make the most informed betting decisions.
Study the pitchers, batters, fielders, home form, away form, number of runs a team usually scores or concedes, and any other information which enables you to recognise strengths and weaknesses.
Keep a regularly updated list of strengths and weaknesses for each team, and compare them before betting on a game. Knowledge is the key to betting success when it comes to betting on MLB.