The Major League Baseball (MLB) season is well and truly back and so too are the MLB betting markets. If you one of your wagering goals is to learn how to bet on baseball and win, you've come to the right place. This betting guide will teach you how to read baseball betting lines, understand the terminology that's unique to the world of MLB, the most popular MLB betting markets and much more.
If you want to know how to bet on baseball as a beginner, the first odds you'll need to master in the MLB are the moneyline odds. The moneyline is the most popular market in most major league sports and probably the easiest to grasp too. A moneyline baseball bet requires you to pick a team to win the game outright. Just decide whether the underdog or favorite will win and place your moneyline bet, it really is that simple. Let's take a look at a quick example of an MLB moneyline market to learn how to bet on baseball and win on the moneyline:
New York Yankees -150
Houston Astros +200
The Yankees are the negative number, which means they are the moneyline favorites. The Astros are the positive number, making them the moneyline underdogs. The +200 odds means that if you wagered $100 on Houston, you would win $200, plus your initial stake. The -150 odds require you to wager $150 on New York to win $100.
Now that you have mastered how to read baseball betting lines for the moneyline market, let's take a look at five additional betting markets that are particularly popular with MLB bettors:
Also known as betting against the spread, runline markets are one of the most liquid baseball betting markets across all the major US sportsbooks. It's known as a handicap market, whereby sportsbooks give underdogs a pre-game head start and bettors need to decide whether the favorites are good enough to "cover the spread" and beat the handicap.
Let's provide you with a clear example:
Chicago Cubs +1.5
New York Yankees -1.5
For the Yankees to "cover the spread" they would need to beat the Cubs by at least two runs. For a runline bet on the Cubs to win, the Cubs only need to avoid defeat by two or more runs.
It's worth noting that almost a third of games in the history of the MLB have been decided by only one run.
During the initial stages of the regular MLB season, it takes some teams longer to get into the groove than others. A combination of new-look rosters and coaches finding their feet means that some teams are slower to start. That's why betting on the top half of the game is a useful option in the early season. You're betting on the opening five innings of a game in a moneyline-style format. These type of bets are often labelled as "F5 Bets" with US sportsbooks. You can use F5 bets to bet against notoriously slow starters or teams that have made drastic changes to their roster in the offseason and will take time to find their feet.
Also known as an "MLB Totals" wager, you can also bet on the combined score i.e. the total number of runs scored in a game. Let's say that your chosen sportsbook was offering the chance to bet on Over 8.5 and Under 8.5 runs in an MLB Totals market. It's up to you to decide whether both teams are capable of scoring nine runs between them. If you believe they are incapable of doing so, or the weather conditions will make it difficult to score home runs, you could take the Under 8.5 odds. If both teams are full of big-hitters and the wind is in their favor, you could take the Over 8.5 odds.
If you want to know how to bet on baseball in a more creative fashion then look no further than MLB prop bets. Prob betting gives you a chance to bet on very specific outcomes. It's possible to wager on specific players, such as betting on the number of strikeouts a starting pitcher will rack up in the next game or how many home runs a big-hitter will make. It's a chance for MLB enthusiasts to use their knowledge of player form and team statistics to find value prop bets that can improve your betting returns without having to directly influence the final outcome of a baseball game.
If you prefer to go for small bets with the biggest possible payoffs then parlays are one of the best additions to any baseball betting system. MLB parlays enable you to bundle multiple selections into a single wager. You can combine multiple prop bets or even multiple moneyline bets into one parlay and get a much bigger payout if all of your selections win. Think of a baseball parlay as the high-risk, high-reward addition to your baseball betting strategy.
Now that you've got to grips with the key terminology to help you learn how to bet on baseball, we've put together five baseball betting tips that are the perfect takeaways to help inform your baseball betting system:
It's been more than two-and-a-half years since the Supreme Court's ruling opened the door for US states to regulate and legalize their own sports betting industries. Since then, more than a dozen have legalized betting on sports like baseball, although some states restrict wagers to in-person betting only. Below, we've put together a list of US states where you can bet legally on baseball:
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