How to Bet On Major League Baseball

Baseball is among the most popular games in the USA and Canada and the organization administering it is Major League Baseball (MLB).

There are 4 professional sports leagues in the USA and Canada, the MLB is the oldest of the 4 – the other 3 being the National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League (NHL).

The MLB has two leagues under it – the American League (AL) with 15 teams in it and the National League (NL) with another 15 teams in it, making for a total of 30 teams. There is also Minor League Baseball that MLB looks after.

Betting on the different aspects of play in the MLB is legalized. You can place bets at the venue with bookmakers or online with online sports books including well known names like OddsShark and others. In this blog we take a look at the basics of betting on the MLB – how to bet on baseball, the kinds of bets available, the importance of analyzing variables and constants in a baseball game and the impact they can likely have on the outcome of a game, and more.

The Basics of Betting on the MLB

Anyone who knows how the game of baseball is played will have a basic idea of how the bets are placed in this game. The league doesn’t matter because the game will remain the same: what matters is the different factors in the game and how they work out for you when it comes to placing a wager. Here is a quick recap: the two teams that play against each other have 9 players each and bat and field in turns for a total of 9 innings. Each innings has 3 ‘out’ decisions for a team. A player who is batting must strike the ball and try and score the maximum runs he can by running through the four bases on the field.

Of course the best scenario for anyone betting on the MLB is to be able to have an edge over the bookmaker. This is not easy, but theoretically doable. The bets themselves are basically 3 types:

  • Money Line
  • Run Line
  • Totals

Money Line Betting

There are 2 major factors to consider if you are looking to try your hand at Money Line betting. These factors are the defense and offence. One of the things you must consider in your assumptions and analysis is determining who the first pitcher will be. This is critical because the starting pitcher is the guy who sets the whole train of events in motion and knowing his identity and related data is therefore crucial for anyone looking to bet on the MLB.

There are different bits of data to look out for when it comes to pitching data in general and, particularly, the first pitcher. You need to evaluate thoroughly how effective the first pitcher is.The critical bits of data about the first pitcher and pitching overall to check on include:

  • The total number of innings pitched (IP)
  • The number of Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched (WHIP)
  • The number of Wins above Replacement Player (WARP)
  • The Earned Runs Average (ERA)

The second factor to consider, as mentioned above, is offence. When we talk offence the reference is usually to the hitters; you need to take stock of the hitters in the side and how good they are. Specifics include performance in previous games, overall average, and more. Some of the important data to consider include, among others:

  • Isolated Power (ISO)
  • The weighted On-Base Average (wOBA)
  • The Plate Appearance (PA) data
  • The On- Base Percentage (OBP)

This type of bet is good if you are starting out and are quite new to betting on the MLB. If you are already slightly conversant with betting here another option to consider is Run Line Betting.

Run Line Betting

This kind of bet has a better value proposition but is also slightly more complex than the standard Money Line betting that we discussed earlier. You need a higher degree of knowledge and understanding of the game to be able to use this bet option. Either of the parties in the game on who the bets are being placed have to cover a 1.5 handicap; only then can a bet that has been placed on them stand a chance of winning.

Run Line betting allows for the use of strategy to maximize play and win opportunities. The strategy that is devised gives you an idea of whether the bet is worth placing, in line with market value. How is this achieved? By translating the odds of winning into a percentage of probability using the formula listed below:

Probability percentage = (Risk/Return)*100

The number that you get usually has built into it the commission that the bookmaker charges. However, if you are smart you can also work out a number that leaves out this commission and pitch aggressively on the winning probability. Different organizations have their own calculations and formulas for calculating the winning odds and also determining it in reality. You can check out the different online portals, like Pinnacle, for instance, to work out the equation for this calculation.

Totals Bet

Every sport that allows betting has the totals bet, and this is true of baseball and the MLB as well. Here this bet is essentially a wager on whether the total points that a team scores in the course of a game is lower or higher than the base estimate that the bookmaker has made for the game. In some ways this bet requires you to work as you do for Money Line betting, especially when it comes to analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the teams’ defense and offense.

Along with analyzing the strengths and weaknesses is the need to factor in a number of other elements while strategizing on your totals bet. This includes general factors that can impact the number of runs a team scores, including:

  • The size of the field: The size of the field has a definite impact on the number of runs a team can score. Some stadiums are known for high scoring games, while others are known for average or low-scoring games. A classic example of a ground that generally yields high scores is Chase Field, home ground to the Arizona Diamondbacks. And if you are looking for a low scoring ground you do not have to go beyond AT&T Park, which is home to the San Francisco Giants.
  • The temperature and humidity: The temperature and humidity have a definite impact on how a game plays out. At a ground where the humidity is high scores could be possibly low because the ball struggles to travel owing to the higher thickness of humid air. In contrast, the situation is different when it comes to high temperature; the ball travels faster and therefore further as the high temperature causes air to thin down.
  • The wind speed: The wind will always have a say in a game. It can help or hurt a team, depending on the direction from which it is blowing. A strong wind in the same direction as the batter helps the ball travel faster and further, while a strong wind blowing in the opposite direction to the batter will make scoring difficult.

To Conclude

Betting in MLB is prevalent and very widespread, with a large number of sports books catering to enthusiasts not just from the USA and Canada but across the world. Strategy plays a big role in this bet as well because of the number of outs that a team has to pile on the runs. If you make the right analyses and are spot on with your calculations while taking into account the different factors listed above, you may be in for a good time scoring some good wins of your own.

Author Milica is a keen sports enthusiast , she often contributes to as well as other sites. Milica enjoys betting on varies events such as sports and others.