In many ways, Baseball is an ideal sport for betting on. The structure of most baseball leagues is quite unique as there are games played almost every day. Take for example the MLB, where there are a total of 2,430 games played across a duration of 6 months, in which teams face each other in series which last for several days and are played in the same ballpark. Teams will play one midweek series and one weekend series per week, which gives punters plenty of statistical information to go on and opens the doors to many betting opportunities. Should you want to bet on other leagues, you will find no shortage of excellent games in the South Korean KBO League, Japanese Nippon Professional Baseball, or the Chinese Professional Baseball League.
General Baseball Betting Tips
The following points are notes on baseball betting, and the best part? You will not need to do any research at all.
Know Your Options
It probably goes without saying that the more bets you know, the more you have to take advantage of. There is no formula that will guarantee success every time, but if you experiment with different types of bets then you may find that you have more luck with certain types of bets ahead of others. For example, if you have more success with total bets, then why risk your money on runlines?
Find the Best Prices
There is no rule against making bets at numerous bookmakers. Whilst you may want to keep it simple and just pick a reputable book, it does not harm to look elsewhere to check what prices are being offered for the same bets. If you register accounts at a handful of bookmakers, then you can take advantage of any difference in the odds on a bet. It may bring only a few cents, but consider how much you may make in the long run – especially if you are betting on hundreds of games in a season.
It is understandable if you do not want the extra hassle of registering at different bookmakers. In this case, you can still check out what is being offered at other bookmakers. If your bet has shorter odds at other bookmakers, then you are getting a good price at your bookmaker. If the odds are longer, then the other bookmakers value your bet as having a greater risk. You may want to think twice about placing that bet.
Be Wary of Offers and Parlays
In high-profile games, there may be a number of special combos with increased odds. They may combine markets such as moneylines, totals, props, or even player markets. Usually, these combos will have at least 2 but preferably 3 or 4 selections and extremely long odds. The first thing you should do is check what the original odds were. The bookmaker may display the original price but sometimes they do not. The next is to check whether you want to bet on all the selections in the combo. There may be 2 that are plausible, but if the third seems a bit of a stretch, then you should avoid the bet. Remember, not betting is always better than placing a risky bet.
The bet may look great on paper, and you can always take the bookmaker up on its offer and try it. However, if you really think it looks good you can always recreate the bet using a parlay, and then see how the odds would change if you altered some of the selections. As a general rule, it is better to avoid parlays as they come with a far bigger risk than single bets. But parlays do increase the odds, so if you want to use them, keep the parlays small (with up to 3 bets) and do not take big risks on any of the bets.
Advanced Betting Tips
Doing your own research may sound like a tired cliche, but it can help when placing baseball bets. Whilst you can gauge the probability of a bet winning by the odds, there are always other aspects that you can factor in.
Be Cautious of Runlines on Home Favourites
In a game where the home team is the favourite to win, the runline may be -1.5 or larger. A runline of -1.5 requires the home team to beat their opponents by 2 runs or more. Whilst there is a good chance of that happening, there is also a danger that the home team will win the game before batting the bottom of the ninth.
As the home team pitches first, they will always bat in the “bottom” slot, that is, after the visitors have batted. In the ninth, and last, innings of the game, if the home team is ahead at the end of the top of the ninth (the last batting inning for the visitors), then the home team does not need to bat in the bottom of the ninth. This means they will not need to extend their margin of victory – which can hurt the chances of your runline bet winning. At -1.5 you probably have less to worry about. If the runline is -2.5 or higher, then the top of the ninth will be a nailbiter.
Check Stats on the Starting Pitcher
The starting pitcher plays 5 or 6 overs in a game on average. They have practically the same importance in baseball as quarterbacks do in American football. When checking any game, if you want to do some research then you should start with the pitchers. Check which pitchers teams have started with and how well they curb their opposition from collecting runs early on. Teams rarely make large changes in their teams across a series. This means that if you start betting on the third or fourth day you will have plenty of information to rely on. Though baseball may have a different structure and gameplay from other sports, athletes can still be superstitious. Winning streaks and losing streaks are a thing and can affect a pitcher's game. Also, look out for injuries and pitchers who are returning from injuries.
A last note about starting pitchers: pay attention to the third innings. Usually, at that point in the game, the pitcher starts to get tired and the batters start to become more confident as they are more familiar with the deliveries. If you are live betting, then you may want to look for Over bets on total runs in the innings.
Keep an Eye on the Bullpen
Whilst the starting pitcher will define the early course of a game, it is finished by another pitcher. If you are not betting on the first 5 overs, then you should consider researching the bullpen. Check out which pitchers the coach pulls in after the starting pitcher wears out. Then, you can check how either team fared in their last games, specifically when they made the most runs. Some teams may lean more towards taking an early lead and retaining it. Others may be sluggish to start but quickly pick up points after the first few innings are made, and they can adjust their tactics.
Check the Weather on the Day
If you want to go into extreme detail with your research then you can also factor in the weather. Forget rain, storms, or hail as the game will be postponed. You have to check the temperature and wind conditions. On a really sunny day when it is really hot and there is no wind, the pitcher tires quickly. Batters less so, as they watch from or retire to the bench once their batting session is over.
However, if it is windy, then this can benefit the pitcher. Those pitches, which fly at around 90 miles per hour, can become extremely unpredictable for batters if there is an extra force on the ball that may change its trajectory. If the wind blows towards the home plate, batters will struggle to hit home runs. Wind that blows outwards will help batters, as long as they can get a sweet strike on the ball. Of course, when it is windy then the temperature will be cooler and the pitcher will not tire out so fast.
Analyse Season by Months
How a team plays can be affected by what stage of the season a game is played in. In April, most bookmakers are still adjusting their lines and there are larger variables in the market. Whilst the results of the previous season can be a good way to gauge how strong a team is, you can learn more from the preseason games. Here, coaches will be preparing their teams for the regular season and therefore there may be a greater variety in their picks for the starting roster. However, it is also a perfect time to get their key players warmed up for what is about to come.
A month or so into the season, the books start adjusting their lines and the discrepancies between different books start to close. You can still find some excellent prices during this time of the season, just keep an eye on what is happening during the season and look for teams that have gotten off to a bad start but show signs of improving.
By the time September comes in, the majority of the games are played. The final positions of the teams are more or less set. You can expect coaches to call on younger players to feed them experience. Key players may be rested, in anticipation of the postseason games.
Divisional Game or Not – Know the Difference
There are always favourites and underdogs going into a game, but the gap may not be as large as you think. The more two teams play against each other, the more the playing field evens out. This is because the teams have more time to adjust to how the other plays. Meeting more times during a season will benefit the underdog.
Teams play 19 games against each of their 4 divisional opponents. They play 6 or 7 games against each of the 10 teams outside their division (in the same league) and play 4 games against each of the 5 teams from a division in the other league.
After playing 19 games against a single opponent, it is hard to pitchers to keep trying to surprise batters. Even from the first innings, batters may be more confident. So always check for whether the game is a divisional, interdivisional, or interleague fixture. Interdivisional suits the underdog the best. Interdivisional and interleague games are more beneficial for the favourites. However, in the early stages of the season, it will not make much of a difference. In the first month or two even divisional games will still be relatively unknown territory. From the middle of the season onwards, divisional games can become more unpredictable and favour the underdogs.
Betting on baseball is best when you know the teams and have watched a lot of games. You will have a natural edge if you follow MLB or any other baseball league. The points above are extra considerations or food for thought. In any case, it is never bad to do your homework.
Hopefully, you will have a better idea of where to concentrate your research and how to place well-informed bets. However, you should always be prepared for the fact that a game of baseball can go any number of ways. Be sure to always bet within your budget and never chase your losses. Most importantly, enjoy the game!
Lloyd is passionate about online gambling, he lives and breathes blackjack and other table games, and he enjoys sports betting.