How to Bet on Baseball
What You Need to Know
- Baseball is seen by many fans as the idea sport for betting as in this sport statistics and form really do matter
- Before you put any money down, however, you need to be sure you know the game inside-out, plus you know how bets such as the Money Line and Run Line work
- The best way to bet on baseball is to go online and open a sports betting account.
- Remember that even the best teams lose around a third of their matches, so be wary of putting big money on the favourites
- Accumulator bets, or Parlays as they are also known, are great ways to lengthen the odds on offer and so boost your possible winnings
- You should also remember that the baseball season is especially long, so don't rush into making bets you're not confident with
- Be aware that, like with all other types of betting, having a flutter on baseball can potentially become addictive, so be sure to always bet responsibly
Betting on Baseball
If you're not an expert sports gambler, trying to turn a profit from betting on baseball can be a daunting prospect. For starters, few European sports fans have a good understanding of the rules of the game. What's more, the betting markets on offer appear to be much more complicated than those on offer for other sports, with terms like 'The Run Line' and 'The Game Line' commonly used.
However, if you're serious about trying to make money from betting on sports, you should definitely put aside any reservations, do your homework and learn how to put money on baseball. According to many gambling experts, baseball is one of the easiest of the major sports in which to make a profit, not least as it's a game where form and statistics really matter.
Understanding the Odds
Before you put any money on a baseball match, it's worth making sure you know how odds work. The odds (also known as the price) indicate how the bookmakers think an event will happen. The odds also determine how much you will win if your prediction is correct. On the majority of UK sports betting sites the odds will be expressed as fractions. Or they could be expressed as decimal points or even in the American style. In all cases, however, you should be able to change the settings to suit you.
Here's what each of these mean:
1) Fractional Odds
On UK-based sports betting sites, the default setting for displaying the odds will be as fractions. Odds displayed this way show you how much you will win on a bet compared to how much you put on. The first number of the fraction indicates how much you will win if you place the amount of money shown in the second number of the fraction.
So, if the odds for Team A winning a particular match are 2/1, this means if you bet £1, you will receive £2 in winnings (and you will get your original stake back on top of this). This works on a ratio basis. So, if you are extra confident and place £7 at odds of 2/1, you will receive £14 in winnings. Or, if you place £10 at odds of 2/1, your winnings will be £10, plus your initial stake.
2) Decimal Odds
Since the majority of sports fans are used to seeing odds displayed as fractions, getting your head around decimal odds may seem daunting. But, don't worry! This system is equally straightforward once you've got the hang of it.
The way it works is that you just need to multiply your stake by the decimal shown and this is how much you will receive in winnings, including your returned stake.
So, if you put £1 down on odds of 3.00, you will win £3.00, including your initial stake, if your prediction comes true. And again, this works on a ratio basis. So, if you put down £15 at the same odds of 3.00, you will win £45, including your original stake.
A Further Note About Odds
Some online bookmakers will also display odds in the 'American' style, especially for baseball. While some US sports betting fans prefer this system, to avoid any unnecessary confusion, you should switch the odds to either the fractional or decimal system.
If you're still confused about the odds on offer, then click on the bet you want to make and type in the amount you want to bet. With most online bookmakers, you will then be shown how much your stake will return and, using this information, you can decide whether or not you want to go ahead with the bet
Popular Types of Bet
1) Money Lines
Before you put down any money on a baseball match, you will need to know what a Money Line is and how it works. Quite simply, it's a straightforward bet on one team to beat another.
In a Money Line bet, you only need to correctly guess the outcome of a match in order to win. That is, if you back the right team, it doesn't matter if they win by a single run or by 10. For this type of bet, you will always see each team given a number, with this number indicating whether the bookies consider them to be the favourite or the underdog. The Money Line may be given in fractional odds, it could be given decimal odds or it could be given as a number relative to 100.
Here we can see the Money Line odds offered by Bet365 for the Tigers against the Orioles. As you can see, the Tigers are slight favourites at 100/109. This means that you will need to bet £109 to win £100 (or £54.50 to win £50, and so on). Meanwhile, the Orioles are 100/101 to win outright. Again, it doesn't matter how large or small the winning margin; so long as you have backed the right team you will win at the initial odds.
2) Run Lines
The Run Line in baseball is the equivalent to the Point Spread in American football. Here you back a team to win or lose be a certain number of runs. Run Lines are almost always set at -1.5 or +1.5, with the odds given accordingly.
Let's go back to the odds offered for the match between the Tigers and the Orioles. Here, you can see the Run Line. As you can see the Run Line for the Tigers is -1.5 and this is offered at odds of 6/4. Meanwhile, the Orioles are at 10/17 with a Run Line of +1.5.
What does this mean? Well, it just means that either team has to 'cover' their handicap for a bet to pay out. So, let's say you put £60 on the Tigers here. If they win by three runs, they would easily 'cover' their handicap of -1.5 and so you would be a winner and walk away with £100, including your original stake. If, however, the Tigers won by just a single run, they would not have covered the -1/5 handicap, so, even though the Tigers did win the match, you will not have won your bet.
Similarly, if you backed the Orioles with the above Run Line bet, they don't have to win the match for you to win your bet. All they need to do is lose by a single run, then their +1.5 advantage would make them a Run Line winner. If, however, they lose by two or more runs, they would be losers even when the handicap is added to their final score.
3) Game Totals
One other very popular type of bet made on baseball is what is know as a Games Total bet. Here you simply bet on the number of runs you think will be scored. In almost all cases, this will be a simple under/over bet. That is, the bookie will give you a number of runs and you can put money on one team scoring under or over this total. Alternatively, you can bet on the number of runs both teams will score between them.
This type of bet will almost always include any extra innings that might be played, though do make sure this is the case before you put any money down.
4) Futures Markets
A Futures bet is where you bet on an event happening in the future. In the case of baseball betting, this usually involves putting money on a team to win the World Series. As with every type of sports bet, the more likely it is a team will win, the shorter the odds that will be offered and the less money you stand to win.
In most cases, the odds for Outright Winner markets will be given in fractions, making it easy to see who are the favourites and who are the long shots. Here we can see the odds offered ahead of the 2014 MLB season. As you can see, the Tigers are the favourites to win the World Series:
As well as betting on the outright World Series winners, another popular type of Futures bet is to put money on a team to win their regional division. Again, the odds will usually be given in fractions, as you can see with the below example:
5) Accumulators or 'Parlays'
To lengthen the odds, and so boost your possible winnings, you can bet on an Accumulator, otherwise known in US betting language as a Parlay. Here, you bet on the results of more than one match. The more matches you bet on, the longer the odds will be. However, if even just one of the results doesn't go your way, you will lose the wager.
Hints and Tips for Betting on Baseball
- Knowledge is key to making a good bet and nowhere is this more true than with baseball. The game is a statistician's dream, with savvy punters often able to correctly predict the outcome of specific matches and even how likely it will be for a certain player to make a certain base. This means you need to do your homework, especially if you are new to the world of baseball.
- As a rule, many savvy gamblers steer clear of backing favourites, especially teams that the bookies have down as firm favourites. In most cases, the rewards do not outweigh the risks.
- Remember that baseball is unlike many other sports. A curious fact is that even the best teams tend to lose around 40 per cent of their matches.
- Plus, always remember that the baseball season is long, so make your bets accordingly. Don't just make a few big gambles at the start of the season but save them for when you really fancy your chances.
A Note on Responsible Betting
All types of gambling can become addictive, including sports betting. So, if you want to try and make a bit of money on baseball, be sure to always stay in control of your bets and never gamble with any money you genuinely can't afford to lose.
Important Information on Gambling
You must be 18+ to gamble and use the offers and betting odds featured
Every new gambling account offer has "Terms & Conditions" that will apply - make sure you read these before opening an account.
See www.gambleaware.org for help and advice on problem gambling.
Please gamble responsibly.
Further Sports Betting Reading
Baseball isn't the only sport that's great for having a bet on. We offer a range of guides designed to help you get started betting on a number of other sports:
- This Guide to Betting on Cricket will help you get off to a winning start betting on one of the world's most popular sports
- F1 is the most glamorous sport on the planet. Learn How to Bet on F1 and make races even more exciting
- Or join million of other punters and learn how to Make a Bet on a Horse
Further Baseball Betting Reading
- A good knowledge of baseball is essential if you’re going to make a smart bet. Follow MLB News for all the latest updates: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/