It’s America’s Pastime. Betting on baseball has been a virtual rite of passage for any punter in the USA and Canada. The Major League Baseball, which you may know simply as the MLB, is the most played sport in the United States. And now, Baseball is becoming a global phenomenon.
With an eleven-month long season and some 2,430 regular season games to wager on, no sport offers more betting opportunities than baseball.
The question thus follows, how to bet on MLB?
Or, more accurately:
How can one place stakes on markets for MLB matches and make profit? Which markets should one opt for? And what strategies should you keep in mind?
Unlike most top-tier leagues, the MLB remains one of the few sports where you can’t really predict how a match will go. When it comes to top-tier leagues, the likely winners tend to be identified early on.
This is because a lot of information, both on players and the teams, tend to give a pretty good picture of the outcomes. For punters, this is bad news.
If the winning team is easy to identify, betting on it will rarely be lucrative. A perfect example of this is the German Bundesliga, which Bayern Munich tends to dominate every year.
When it comes to basketball, even seasoned veterans in the sport can’t easily predict outcomes between teams. In the MLB, even the very best teams will lose around one-in-three of their Regular Season games. The best team can lose to the worst team.
With this level of ambiguity over who will thrive in the MLB, finding value bets will depend on whether your knowledge of the teams is better than that of the bookies and the majority.
Of course, this requires a lot of research and some luck.
This is what makes MLB a massively popular sport that generates enormous revenue for bookies and punters alike.
In this article, we’ll go over the most popular markets available for the MLB, give some tips on which wagers you should opt for, and identify the best bookmakers for the MLB.
MLB: How Does It Work?
MLB sits is the world’s most prestigious baseball league, sitting at the top of the pyramid of baseball leagues in the world. It is the birthplace of iconic teams like the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and the LA Dodgers.
With annually paid attendances of 75 million, it is also the most watched sport on the planet.
30 teams from the US and Canada compete in the MBA.
The teams are split into two 15-team leagues; the American League and the National League. Each league comprises three internal divisions, East, Central and West, with five teams in each of those divisions.
The MLB has three stages:
• The Regular Season
The Regular Season sees teams competing in a typical league format. Every MLB team plays a total of 162 games during the course of the regular season, more than any other professional team sport, including the English Premier League.
Each team plays one home series and one away against the ten other teams in its league. The teams that place at the top of each division become the division champions, and progress to the playoffs.
• The Post Season, Or Playoffs
In the playoffs, the two leagues bring 5 teams (the three division champions, and the strongest runner ups) to the playoffs, for a total of ten teams. The ten teams then compete in a knockout format tournament.
The two winning teams from each league then progress to the League Championship Series games, also known as the League Pennant Series. The Pennant Series is a big deal in MLB, and winning a League Pennant is second only to winning the World Series itself.
The New York Yankees won the American League Pennant a record 40 times from 52 Postseason appearances. The record for the National League is held by the San Francisco Giants with 23 Pennants won.
The winners of the two League Pennant Series clashes go forward to contest the greatest event in MLB – the World Series!
• The World Series
The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB), and it is contested by the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The champion is determined through a best-of-seven playoff and is awarded the Commissioner’s Trophy.
The most popular markets on the MLB
Some bookmakers like Bovada and Paddy Power offer hundreds of markets on MLB fixtures. Here, we’ll go over the four most popular types of markets.
• Outrights / Futures
Outrights are odds given on who will win the competition and take the Commissioner’s Trophy. Outrights are offered before the league start or very early on. MLB is like the Premier League, the FA Cup, and the Champions League all rolled into one competition.
It has no less than nine annual trophies up for grabs, meaning bookies will provide at least nine Outright bets.
• Moneyline Bets
The staple wagers for MLB punters. Wagers on Match Results, known as Moneyline Bets, are stakes placed on who will win a particular game. Because of MLB’s unpredictable nature, these bets work exceptionally well. It is important to know how to read a baseball betting line.
To make reliable wagers, this includes understanding how bookies build margins into their odds, and how you can spot arbitrage opportunities. If this works out well for you, make sure you add bookies who have a ‘winners are welcome’ policy like Pinnacle and Betfair.
These bookies will not restrict your account if you are successful.
• Run Lines
If you have a sound understanding of handicap betting, then run lines should be easy to understand.
Run lines are wagers placed on the difference in scores between two teams in a particular game. As aforementioned, in baseball, a strong team can easily lose to an underdog, so assuming that a team is going to not only do better but surpass the other team by a certain amount of scores is risky.
Do this only if you have done your research and only if you’re confident. Due to the unpredictability of baseball games, run lines are not as popular as NFL line betting or soccer Asian Handicaps.
• Run Totals Over/Under
Whether you’re new or to betting or not, chances are you’ve come across this type of market before. Odds offered on totals allow you to place stakes on the combined number of scores in a game. You can bet on whether there will be MORE runs or LESS runs than the score line.
When it comes to Baseball, it tends to be 7.5.
If you want to learn more about where and how you should bet on over and unders, take a look at this article.
What you must know before you bet on MLB
What makes MBL so unpredictable when compared to other leagues? If we look at the English Premier League, the odds clearly favour Manchester United and Manchester City. If we look at the Bundesliga, we know that Bayern Munich will almost certainly win.
What Makes US Sport Different?
It's unique draft system.
In all four major US sports, the teams that finish rock-bottom in a league or division get the first pick of the draft talent. D
Draft talent refers to athletes leaving college and university for life in the big leagues. The teams at the rock bottom get to sign them for free, allowing them to acquire new talent despite not having the resources or purchasing power of teams like the Yankees.
Since 2000, there have been ten different World Series winners. On the other hand, only four different teams have won the English Premier League and Spain’s La Liga.
Thanks to this system, a team that has performed terribly one year has the potential to dominate in the next. Learning about new additions and changes to teams is indispensable if you want to make the right bets.
Resources You Should Look At When Betting On MLB
Use ESPN or the MLB official site to monitor the daily results and follow the form of teams in the league. You can use these resources to see where a team ranks in its division. If you’re willing to dig deeper, you can learn more about their current form, how well they have performed at home and away, their consistency, best hitters, strongest pitchers etc.
A sickness, dispute between members – these things can affect a team’s performance drastically. Keep an eye open.
This knowledge of the game will go a long way in helping you consistently pick the winning team in MLB.
Bookmakers For Betting On MLB
Their focus on American markets guarantee a plethora of markets that will please any punter who wants to bet on MLB. Their in-play betting platform and customer care service makes them an ideal choice.
Known for their outstanding betting lines, top-class operation, and a fantastic reputation, Pinnacle is a must have sportsbook if you want to be a successful Maltese punter.
Also, Pinnacle has a ‘winners are welcome’ policy, which means that successful punters do not need to fear to be restricted or banned. Pinnacle does not offer flashy sign-up bonuses, but they have the best odds out there.
The family owned company is one of the oldest and largest online gambling and sports betting website.
It boasts over 19 million customers in 200 countries. To newcomers, Bet365 offers a 100% deposit bonus on their first purchase (up to £200). Aside from having the best promotions, they also are leaders when it comes to in-play betting, mobile app, and market opportunities.
We hope that this cleared out any confusions you had over how to bet on MLB. It is not the easiest sport to follow, but it is definitely one of the most fun, engaging, and unpredictable – making it one of the best sports to bet on as a punter.
With a sport like MLB, anybody has a shot at winning.