Home > Guide to Baseball Betting

Guide to Baseball Betting

Baseball Players
Before you start betting on baseball, it’s important to make sure you’ve got all the bases covered.

This baseball betting hub page will make sure you do exactly that. We’ve gone to bat for you by covering all of the important things you need to know before wagering on Major League Baseball. This page is also filled with links to some of our best in-depth baseball betting content in case you’re interested in learning more.

Not reading through this page before you bet on baseball would be an error, so don’t drop the ball. Grab yourself some peanuts and crackerjacks, and let’s get started!


What Makes a Good Baseball Betting Site?

There are a lot of things that you should take into account when deciding which is the best baseball betting site to join. Fortunately for you, our years of experience in the online gambling industry have made us extremely familiar with all of the top sites out there, and many people rely on our recommendations when it comes to which online sportsbooks to play at.

But how do we decide which betting sites are the best for baseball betting? Here are some of the things we focus on the most when making our rankings:

Safety

This is the #1 thing to look at for any betting site, regardless of the sport. It doesn’t do you any good to deposit money at an online sportsbook and place bets if you don’t have confidence that you’ll get paid if you win. No betting site gets our stamp of approval unless they’ve got a long and proven history of paying out winning customers.

Odds

The odds that betting sites offer in baseball vary more than any other sport. Unlike basketball or football, where -110 odds on point spreads are pretty much standard across the industry, the vigorish (commission) on baseball moneyline odds fluctuates greatly from site to site. For baseball betting, we only recommend sites that use dimeline pricing (10 cents difference between favorites and underdogs) or better.

Convenience

Whether it’s depositing and withdrawing money or simply trying to input a bet, the easier it is for you, the better. Betting sites that have strong mobile platforms, player-friendly banking options, and excellent customer service are rewarded in our sportsbook rankings.

Variety

As you’ll read later in this article, there are tons of different ways to bet on baseball. In order to make our recommended list, betting sites need to offer the full complement of options, whether it’s on tonight’s games or on full-season futures.

RANK GAMBLING SITE BONUS PRODUCT OFFERS REVIEW VISIT
1 Bovada Logo $250
Football
Basketball
Soccer
Racing
READ REVIEW VISIT NOW
2 BetOnline Logo $2500
Football
Basketball
Soccer
Racing
READ REVIEW VISIT NOW
3 Bookmaker.ag Logo $300
Football
Basketball
Soccer
Racing
READ REVIEW VISIT NOW
4 5Dimes Logo N/A
Football
Basketball
Soccer
Racing
READ REVIEW VISIT NOW
5 Nitrogen Sports N/A
Football
Basketball
Soccer
Racing
READ REVIEW VISIT NOW

Why Bet on Baseball?

Wow, where to begin answering this question? There are just so many reasons to bet on baseball, assuming you’re a sports fan who also likes to wager on games (why else would you be reading this article, right?).

Here are just a few of the benefits of betting on baseball.

1. It Makes Watching Games More Fun

If you’re a fan of the Simpsons, you might recall the episode where Homer stopped drinking beer, then went to a Springfield Isotopes minor league ballgame and observed, “I never realized how boring this game really is.”

Although die-hard baseball enthusiasts embrace the strategy of the sport, there’s no denying that baseball games can get a bit dull at times. Even Major League Baseball itself has acknowledged this issue, implementing numerous rule changes over the past few seasons in an effort to keep the game moving. There is now a restriction on how many times a manager, pitching coach, or even catcher can visit the pitcher on the mound, MLB is close to adopting a 30-second pitch clock, and it’s even possible that we’ll see a limit on the number of relievers used in a game in the near future.

Fortunately, even the most boring of baseball games is a lot easier to sit through when you’ve got a wager on the outcome. Just like every pitch in a postseason game feels more significant because there’s so much on the line, you’ll feel the same when you’ve got a moneyline or Over/Under bet hanging in the balance. And if you want to elevate the importance of every pitch just a little bit more, MLB live betting allows you to wager on the outcome of each inning or even the next at-bat!

2. There Are Games Every Day

If you like to bet on sports and haven’t tried betting on baseball yet, you’re missing out on a ton of potential action. That’s because Major League Baseball teams play twice as many regular-season games (162) as NHL or NBA teams and 10 times as many games as NFL squads.

Not only are there up to 16 games to wager on almost every day throughout the baseball season (occasionally, there’s even more than that if any teams are playing doubleheaders), but those games are also spread throughout the day. In an effort to make it easier for teams to travel from city to city, MLB often schedules several afternoon games on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and there aren’t many better ways to get through an afternoon in the office than by following your baseball bets. Weekends also usually feature 12 solid hours of baseball betting action on Saturdays and Sundays, highlighted by Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN.

3. It’s the Only Major Sport in Season Over the Summer

Fall, winter, and spring are like an all-you-can-eat buffet for sports gamblers. Football dominates weekends from September to February, and basketball and hockey action helps get us through the long, cold winter.

Summer, by comparison, can be a bit of a famine. There are the occasional big events, such as the Triple Crown horse races, golf and tennis majors, auto races, and international soccer tournaments. However, almost all of those events take place over weekends, leaving bettors hungry for betting action during the hot summer months.

Don’t get us wrong; summer’s a great time to get active, be outside, and enjoy time with your friends and family. But even if we’re not sitting down in front of the television throughout those July and August afternoons, it’s nice to have some betting action to track on our phones throughout the day or when we sit down on the couch at night. With a regular season that starts as early as March and runs through October, Major League Baseball is the perfect candidate to fill that void.

4. You Can Actually Win Money!

Here’s the best part about betting on baseball: it’s the easiest sport for gamblers to make money on!

That’s the popular theory, at least. Whether that’s actually true or not, there’s no doubt that if you are willing to put in a little time, research, and effort, you can turn a profit betting on the diamond. Oddsmakers aren’t quite as sharp or focused over the summer as they are when the sports betting season is in full swing, and some people believe the sportsbooks actually don’t mind losing a bit of money on baseball because it will keep bettors coming back when football season kicks off.

The biggest key to baseball betting is to focus on the starting pitchers. With so many stats and analytics in baseball, it’s pretty easy to see which pitchers are in top form and which ones are likely to get lit up. We’ll get more into this and other baseball betting strategies in the next section of this article.

Types of Baseball Bets

With nine positions on the baseball field, we found it only fitting that there are nine common ways to bet on baseball as well.

1. Moneyline

The moneyline is the most popular and simplest way to bet on baseball. When you bet the moneyline, you’re simply wagering on which team will win the game, and nothing else matters.

The more likely a team is to win the game, the bigger they will be favored on the moneyline. Favorites are indicated with a (-) sign in front of their odds, and the number that follows the minus sign will tell you how much you must risk to win $100. Underdogs have a (+) sign in front of their odds, with the number that follows reflecting the amount of money you would win on a $100 wager.

Moneylines in baseball betting are typically under -200/+200 because of the parity of the sport. However, there will be occasions where huge pitching mismatches lead to moneylines of -300 or higher, in which case you’ll probably want to look for other ways to bet the game.

2. Over/Under

There’s probably no more fun way to bet on baseball than Over/Under.

You’re probably already familiar with totals from betting on other sports. But just in case you aren’t, it’s when you wager on how many points (in this case, runs) will be scored in a particular match. The oddsmaker will post a total for each game, and you bet on whether the number of points scored in the game will be more (Over) or less (Under) than that total.

Totals in baseball are usually between 7 and 10 and are heavily based on the starting pitching matchup. However, wind and weather can also have a huge impact on the Over/Under for a game, and the high altitude of Denver’s Coors Field (where balls travel further) means that totals for Colorado Rockies home games can be as high as 12 or 13.

3. Run Line

The run line is baseball’s version of the point spread, which oddsmakers and bettors use to level the playing field between two unevenly-matched teams. Since most baseball games are decided by 2 runs or less, the run line is almost always set at 1.5 runs, requiring the favorite to win by more than 1 run in order to “cover.”

Run lines are a nice way to limit your risk when you want to bet on a big favorite. Rather than lay -200 or higher on the moneyline, you should be able to get close to even odds on a favorite if you take them on the -1.5 run line instead. Run lines also allow you to support underdogs who you think will keep the game close but aren’t quite sure they’ll pull off the outright victory, since they will cover the +1.5 run line even if they lose the game by 1 run.

4. Team Totals

Whenever you feel strongly about one team’s chances of scoring runs or one pitcher’s chances of dominating the position, team totals are your best friend. When you bet on a team total, you’re strictly betting on how many runs that particular team will score in a game, and how many runs the other team scores doesn’t matter.

Team totals will generally range from 3 to 6 and are dependent on the game’s moneyline and total. The greater a team is favored, the higher their team total will be, especially if the Over/Under on a game is high as well.

5. First 5 Innings

While it’s true that baseball betting odds are based heavily on the starting pitching matchups, there are a lot of other variables that can impact the outcome. A lot of these variables come later in the game, when the starting pitchers are pulled for relievers and when teams start using pinch hitters.

Betting on the first 5 innings allows you to reduce the number of variables as much as possible. You can bet on the moneyline, run line, or total, and some betting sites will allow you to bet on team totals in the first 5 innings as well.

6. Parlays

Parlays are when you combine multiple outcomes onto the same wager. The upside is that you can risk less to win more, but the downside is that you’ll have to get all of your picks on a parlay correct in order to cash your ticket.

Although the use of parlays is generally discouraged by professional bettors, there are occasions in baseball betting when they’re actually a smart option. One is when you want to bet on a couple of big favorites, since parlaying them could allow you to land a plus-money return instead of having to risk a lot to win a little on each of them individually. Another great time to parlay in baseball betting is when two wagers are correlated, such as the moneyline and the Over in the same game.

7. Live Bets

Live betting is when you bet on the game while it is in progress, and the slow pace of baseball and multiple possible outcomes in every inning (or even every at-bat) make it a perfect sport for in-game wagering.

Through live betting, you can bet on the moneyline, Over/Under, run line, and team total at different odds than before the game began, depending on what’s happened in the game so far. You can also wager on which team will win a particular inning or how many runs will be scored in an upcoming frame, or even if a hitter will reach base safely in his next at-bat.

8. Futures

This is when you bet on events that will take place in the future, not just the outcome of tonight’s games.

The most common type of futures betting in Major League Baseball is which team will win the World Series. Most betting sites will offer odds on this throughout the season, updating the odds based on each team’s recent play and place in the standings. Even the biggest favorites to win the World Series will usually pay at least +300 or higher, giving you a chance to cash in on some big payouts.

Other examples of futures bets available in MLB are which team will win the National League or American League pennants, which teams will win their respective divisions, or which players will win the AL or NL MVP or Cy Young Award. Not only can you win some big money betting futures, but they’re also a way to maintain your interest for the entire season.

9. Props

With so many statistical categories measuring player performance, baseball has long been the most popular sport for Rotisserie and fantasy players. Following the explosion of daily fantasy sports sites, online betting sites have added a lot of prop betting options that simulate what you might see on DFS or even in fantasy leagues.

Props offered in baseball betting include Over/Under the amount of hits, runs, RBI, or home runs a player might record in a given game, or whether they’ll collect more hits, runs, or RBI than a particular opponent. The number of strikeouts a pitcher will record in a game is also a popular MLB betting prop.

Baseball Betting Strategy Guides

Now that we have explained each of the nine main ways to bet on baseball, you should be aware that there are various strategies that come with every type of baseball bet. We’ve gone further in-depth in these baseball betting strategy guides. Start with the guide that seems most appropriate for you.

Biggest Names in Baseball

The Top Teams in Baseball

Even though Major League Baseball boasts tremendous parity (13 different organizations have won the World Series since 2000), some franchises always seem to be near the top of the baseball standings year after year.

Here’s a look at the top five organizations in the game, based on both their past and current success:

The Top Players in Baseball

One of the biggest criticisms of Major League Baseball is that it doesn’t market its superstars very well, compared to other sports.

Just in case you aren’t that familiar with the greatest players currently in the Big Leagues, here are five names that you absolutely need to know:

As mentioned, this list focused only on five of the top current players in Major League Baseball. To learn about the many great players who have taken the field over the years, be sure to check out our Baseball Legends page.

Baseball Legends

Brief History of Baseball

1865 Brooklyn AtlanticsAmerican Civil War general Abner Doubleday is widely credited for creating baseball in 1839, but the origins of the game go back much further than that. In fact, references to the term “baseball” date back to the 18th century in England, and the sport shares a lot of things in common with the British game “rounders.” Cricket, a game that has been played since the 1500s, also shares many similarities with baseball.

No matter how or where the game originated, it has been known as America’s national pastime since the New York Knickerbockers became the first club to play baseball under modern rules in 1845. Within a dozen years, the Knickerbockers were part of a 16-team league in the New York area known as the National Association of Base Ball Players. By 1867, the NABBP featured 400 clubs from across the country, including the Cincinnati Red Stockings and Boston Red Stockings who now compete in Major League Baseball as the Reds and Red Sox.

The NABBP split into two leagues (professional and amateur) shortly after its rapid expansion, and both folded by 1875. The following season, the National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs was formed, which went on to become the National League of Major League Baseball. Another league, the American Association (now the American League), was created in 1901, and the champions of both leagues first started playing each other in the “World Series” two years later.

The National League and American League each featured eight teams until the 1950s, and all 16 franchises were located in the northeastern and midwestern United States. But after the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants moved to the west coast (Los Angeles and San Francisco, respectively) in 1958 and received massive crowd support, both leagues quickly began to expand. The AL grew to 10 teams in 1961, the NL added two more teams in 1962, and Major League Baseball had grown to 24 teams in total by 1969. Two more teams were added in 1977, 1993, and 1998, accounting for the 30-team membership in MLB today.

For a deeper look at the various eras, dynasties, and even scandals in MLB over the years, be sure to check out our History of Baseball page

Is Betting on Baseball Online Safe?

You bet it is! We’ve been betting baseball online for years without any issue, and things are only getting safer following the US Supreme Court’s ruling to legalize sports betting in every state. Now that Americans will soon have the option of betting at local race tracks and casinos, it’s just bad business for online betting sites to look to rip people off.

Not that there aren’t still some shady betting sites out there on the web. All industries have businesses that are just after your money and have no intentions of holding up their end of the bargain, and sports betting is no different. That’s why it’s still critical to do your homework and make sure that whatever betting site you play with is trustworthy and player-friendly.

Don’t forget, we’ve gone through hundreds of online sites to weed out the bad ones and recommend the best. As long as you join one of the sportsbooks we recommend, we’re convinced you’ll have a safe and fun baseball betting experience.

Other Useful Resources

Below are links to various pages containing helpful information about the game of baseball.

Conclusion

By this point, you should feel more than ready to give baseball betting a try. You’ve learned about which betting sites are the best to use, the various benefits of betting on baseball, the various ways you can bet on the sport, and even about the top teams and players currently in the game.

Just make sure to take things slow at the start. As the old saying goes, sports betting is a marathon, not a sprint, and in no sport is that truer than baseball. Any team can beat any other team on any given day, since there’s so much randomness, variance, and luck that goes into determining the outcome of a ballgame.

Begin by making small wagers and track your success over a month or two. At that point, you can start to raise your bet sizes if you feel comfortable and confident about your betting abilities. If things haven’t gone so well, don’t give up. Try to learn from your mistakes and get better every day!

And don’t forget, we’re here to help. We’ve got plenty of baseball betting articles on the site that will help you become a better bettor, and we’ve even got a section that offers free daily betting picks with writeups. Join one of the top baseball betting sites today, and start enjoying the fun of wagering on America’s national pastime!