How to Bet on Baseball: Best MLB Tips For 2023

June 27, 2023

Baseball is a popular sport for betting in the US, particularly during the summer. Many betting options are available, but here’s a simplified guide to help you understand them.

Once you grasp the basics, you can apply your knowledge to any of the approximately 2,400 MLB games played each season.

Can I Bet Baseball Online for Real Money?

Online betting for real money on baseball is possible, but its legality depends on your location. The legality of baseball betting varies by state, with over 30 states currently allowing legal and regulated sports betting as of 2023. Major League Baseball is widely available for wagering on legal and regulated online sportsbooks. This is particularly significant during the slower summer months when baseball becomes a prominent option for bettors.

To bet on baseball, you must register and deposit funds on a reputable sports betting site.

What is the Baseball Moneyline?

The baseball moneyline is a famous MLB wager where you select the team you think will win the game. Baseball’s parity allows for upsets, so underdogs can often perform well in moneyline betting. Betting solely on favorites is not a winning strategy, as overcoming the odds requires a high win rate. For example, consistently betting on teams at -110 odds would need a 52.38%-win rate to break even. It’s essential to consider factors like starting pitchers and platooning when betting on baseball moneylines. Paying attention to public data and utilizing all available information can give you an advantage in making informed wagers.

Betting the Runline

The run line is a popular wager in baseball and acts as a point spread. Unlike other sports, the run line in baseball is typically a 1.5-run handicap due to lower scoring. For example, if the Los Angeles Dodgers were favored with a -130 moneyline against the New York Yankees, they might have a run line of -1.5 runs at +190 odds. In more one-sided matchups, the online can be higher, such as 2.5 runs. Sometimes, teams with poor records can still be profitable bets on the run line because they keep games close. In the 2022 season, the Baltimore Orioles had a losing record. Still, they performed well against the run line, finishing above .500. Similarly, in the 2023 season, the Washington Nationals had a straight-up losing record but were successful against the spread.

Online bets can provide opportunities to bet on underdogs or teams that perform better than their overall record suggests.

The Reverse Runline

The reverse run line is a newer variation of the traditional run line bet in baseball. It allows bettors to flip the spreads, with the favorite receiving a +1.5 online and the underdog receiving a -1.5 online. The reverse online comes with a higher-priced premium, depending on the size of the favorite. This can lead to larger payouts if the underdog wins the game by two or more runs. For example, in a 2023 MLB game, the Chicago Cubs may be -160 on the moneyline and +135 to cover the traditional online. However, they would be -300 to win the game or stay within a run on the reverse run line. On the other hand, the Cincinnati Reds may be +135 on the moneyline and -165 to win or stay within a run, but the price would inflate to +230 for bettors who believe the Reds will win by two or more runs.

The reverse online offers an alternative for bettors looking for different betting opportunities and potentially higher payouts based on their predictions.

Over/Under Betting in Baseball

In baseball, over/under betting, also known as total betting, focuses on the final score of a game rather than the outcome of the game itself. Various factors impact over/under betting, including starting pitching matchups, platoon advantages, and weather conditions. Certain ballparks, such as Coors Field in Denver, score higher due to factors like high elevation. More minor ballparks, like Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, increase the likelihood of home runs.

Based on data from the 2022 season, Great American Ball Park, Coors Field, Fenway Park, Dodger Stadium, and Oracle Park were identified as the top five hitter-friendly stadiums.

Understanding these factors and how they influence scoring can assist bettors in making informed decisions when betting on over/under totals in baseball.

First-Inning Result

Sportsbooks are increasingly promoting betting on the first-inning result to increase their profits. Referred to as YRFIs (Yes/No Run First Inning) or NRFIs (No Run First Inning), bettors can bet on whether either team will score a run in the first inning of a game. This type of bet appeals to hardcore gamblers but carries more risk than betting on the full-game outcome. It is particularly suitable for those who may have yet to have the opportunity to watch the entire game.

Betting on the first-inning result offers baseball enthusiasts a unique and exciting betting option. However, it’s essential to consider the higher level of uncertainty and risk associated with this wager.

First Five Innings Betting

First five innings betting is a popular option in baseball where bettors focus on the outcome of the first five innings of a game. 

It allows them to avoid the impact of bullpens on their wagers. The available markets are similar to full-game betting but with different odds and totals. 

This betting method provides a more focused and bullpen-independent approach for those who prefer it.

Baseball Parlays

Baseball parlays are a popular form of gambling due to the abundance of options for combining multiple legs. 

With as many as 15 games and numerous markets each day, the possibilities are vast. Parlays can be multi-game or same-game, offering the potential for larger payouts. However, they also come with increased risk, as all legs must win for the bet to succeed. 

Overall, baseball parlays provide an exciting way for bettors to explore various betting options and maximize their winnings.

Multi-Game Parlays

Multi-game parlays in baseball involve combining bets from different games into a single wager, resulting in increasingly longer odds with each added selection. This style of parlay betting offers a more lottery-style experience, but it requires paying attention to multiple games simultaneously. However, it’s important to note that sportsbooks generally have a higher hold percentage on parlay bets than straight bets. As a result, using parlays as a long-term strategy to build a sports betting bankroll may not be advisable.

Multi-game parlays can provide an exciting and potentially lucrative betting experience, but it’s essential to approach them with awareness of the increased odds and potential risks involved.

Same-Game Parlays

Same-game parlays are bets where all the legs come from a single game. They allow you to combine multiple outcomes for a bigger payout. 

While not all sportsbooks offer them, same-game parlays are popular for baseball fans who want a thrilling, single-game betting experience. 

It’s like a lottery-style bet where you predict various game events. However, they can be more challenging to win.

Baseball Prop Bets

Baseball offers a wide range of prop bets, making it one of the sports with the most extensive prop betting options. These bets cover various aspects of the game, including individual player performances and game outcomes.

Batter Props

For batters, prop bets typically revolve around statistical achievements such as hits, home runs, RBIs, stolen bases, runs scored, and combined runs scored plus runs batted in. These bets allow bettors to predict whether a player will reach a particular milestone or exceed a specific statistical threshold.

Pitcher Props

Pitcher props are more limited due to the nature of the position, with a focus primarily on strikeouts. Bettors can place over/under bets on the number of strikeouts a pitcher will achieve in a game. Other common pitching prop bets include over/under on total outs recorded, hits, walks, and earned runs allowed.

Game Props

Betting sites offer a variety of game props for baseball. These include options like over/under bets on team totals for both sides in a game. 

There are also more detailed props available, such as: 

  • How many runs will score on the first scoring play?
  • The inning of the game’s first run
  • The game’s last score
  • The game’s final winning margin

Correct Score

Correct score bets in baseball offer long odds and are challenging to predict due to the wide range of outcomes in the sport. It is not a recommended betting strategy for long-term success and is primarily used for entertainment. This betting type is available before a game starts, sometimes in live betting.

Daily Props

Daily props are a less popular but valuable betting market that involves predicting outcomes for an entire day’s slate of games in a sports league. Unlike individual game betting, daily props require a bettor to analyze and understand multiple games to make informed bets.

  • Will there be a no-hitter: Betting on whether there will be a game in the league where no hits are allowed by either team’s pitchers on a given day.
  • Daily total runs: Betting on whether the total number of runs scored in all the games played in the league on a given day will be over or under a specified number.
  • Highest-scoring game: Betting on which game in the day’s slate will have the highest total number of runs scored by both teams combined.
  • Highest-scoring team: Betting on which team will score the most runs among all the teams playing on that day.
  • Any team over X+ runs: Betting on whether any team playing on the given day will score more than a specific number of runs.

MLB Futures

MLB futures are popular for those who prefer long-term bets over individual games. These bets predict outcomes determined at the end of the baseball season, such as the World Series champion or individual player awards.

The odds for MLB futures change yearly due to trades, free agency, and team performance. These bets allow you to support your favorite team or player and add excitement to the season, even though the outcome may not be known for several months.

Team Features

Team futures are a popular type of MLB futures betting due to the wide range of gambling options available. These bets focus on predicting outcomes related to specific teams throughout the season. Here are some of the most popular team futures:

  • League Winner: Betting on a team to win the American League or National League pennant.
  • Division Winner: Betting on a team to win its division.
  • Regular Season Wins: Wagering on whether a team will exceed or fall short of its projected number of wins.
  • Best Record: Betting on a team with the best win/loss record in the regular season.
  • To Make the Playoffs: Betting on a team to qualify for the postseason.
  • Division Straight Forecast: Betting on the exact order of finish for two or more teams within a division.
  • Regular Season Win Streak: Wagering on which team will have the longest consecutive win streak during the regular season.
  • Winning State: Placing a bet on one of the MLB teams from a specific state to win the World Series.

Player Awards

Player awards futures in MLB focus on individual achievements and differ from team awards futures. Predicting award winners can be challenging due to the high variance in the sport.

There are three major types of player awards futures commonly found at sportsbooks:

  1. MVP: Betting on a player to win the Most Valuable Player Award in the league. These bets are usually divided into the American League and National League categories and often come with long odds.
  2. Cy Young: Betting on a pitcher to win the Cy Young Award, given to the top pitcher in the American League and the National League.
  3. Rookie of the Year: Betting on a player to be recognized as the best rookie-eligible player in their respective league.

Live In-Game Wagering

Live in-game wagering is a popular option for bettors who want to participate in betting after a game has started. It offers alternative wagers that may only be available after the game begins. 

Live lines can shift significantly based on the game’s early flow. This strategy allows bettors to back favorites who fall behind early or take advantage of boosted live run lines for underdogs if the favorite establishes a large lead. Live betting options are extensive and provide additional value for knowledgeable bettors who can interpret and capitalize on odds shifts.

How to Win MLB Bets

To enhance your chances of winning MLB bets, consider the following strategies. 

First, avoid solely relying on favorites, as the volatility of baseball can lead to unexpected outcomes. Instead, focus on divisional underdogs who benefit from the familiarity among teams within the same division. 

Another approach is to fade the public, as public bettors often favor favorites and overs, while sharp bettors lean towards underdogs and under. By going against popular public picks, you can take advantage of potential market inefficiencies. 

Additionally, pay attention to weather conditions, particularly wind direction, which can significantly impact the outcome of outdoor games and influence run-scoring opportunities. 

Utilizing these strategies and analyzing relevant data can help you make more best decisions when placing MLB bets.

How to Bet on the World Series

To bet on the World Series, you can place futures bets on the pennant and World Series winners throughout the regular season. All regulated sportsbooks provide World Series betting markets with various wagering options, including unique prop bets introduced annually. 

This pinnacle event of U.S. baseball generates significant betting activity in October and offers bettors a wide range of opportunities.

MLB Draft

The MLB Draft, held during the middle of the MLB season, attracts significant attention from bettors. Prop bets dominate the betting market for the draft, allowing bettors to wager on various aspects, such as predicting the first, second, and third overall picks. 

Additionally, some operators offer betting options that compare two draft prospects and provide odds on which player will be drafted first among the pair.

College Baseball Betting

College baseball betting has gained popularity as a viable alternative to MLB betting. With numerous Division I teams, there are ample betting opportunities throughout the college baseball season.

Regarding principles and wager types, college baseball betting aligns closely with MLB betting. If bettors are familiar with MLB betting, they can easily apply their knowledge and strategies to college baseball betting, making it an enticing option to explore.

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