How to Bet on Baseball and Win More Often – Complete Guide to MLB Betting

how to bet on baseball

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Last Updated: April 15, 2023

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Baseball is one of the three most popular sports in the US and, as such, is responsible for a large part of the betting volume in the country.

In addition to being one of the favorite pastimes for Americans, baseball can also be a very lucrative investment for sports bettors.

So, let’s take a look at how betting on MLB looks and how to bet on baseball and win.

Baseball Moneyline Betting

If you are coming from betting on football or basketball, you might be surprised that most betting on MLB games is done on the money line market and not on the spread.

There are two main takeaways when it comes to baseball money line betting.

The first is that, unlike for the spread market, the odds are not even. This means that the payouts vary significantly based on whether you are betting on the favorite or the underdog.

The second is that in the MLB, any team can win on any given night since there is a high level of parity in the league. Teams tend to switch starting pitchers, so it is important to have all the relevant information before you place a bet.

betting on baseball

While it may look like a good idea to bet on the favorites, as most amateur bettors usually do, all of the above means that betting on the underdogs might make more sense.

This is probably the most important thing that you want to look for when betting on the money line in baseball.

Runline Betting

Another baseball market similar to the money line is the run line. In practice, the run line market is baseball’s form of the spread and allows punters to place handicap bets.

Usually, the default spread is -1.5 on the favorite, which means that if you place a bet on the team that is the favorite, they have to win with two runs difference or more for your bet to be a winning one.

If you, on the other hand, place a run line bet on the underdog, you will win if the team wins or loses with one run difference.

On some occasions, the run line might go as high as 2.5. This will depend on how big of an advantage the favorite team has in the eyes of the bookmakers.

If you follow the MLB closely, you might notice that some teams perform very well against the run line but not so much against the money line. In practice this means that in most games they lose, they cover the run line.

Because of this, the run line can be a very profitable market.

How to Bet on Baseball: Totals Betting

Just like with other sports, the totals or the over/under market in baseball is used to predict whether the score of the game will add up to more or less than the total that the bookmaker has predicted.

In the MLB the default total for the spread is 8.5 runs, but the bookmakers will sometimes offer 7.5 or 10.5 depending on the game and the circumstances.

Betting on the total is completely different from betting on the money line or the run line since it depends on different factors that impact this part of the game.

Pitching matchups and weather, for example, have the biggest influence on the total number of runs, but other factors can contribute as well..

Baseball First-Inning Betting

One of the markets that have gained popularity when it comes to betting on baseball in the last decade is the first-inning market.

The main thing that the bettors are predicting with this market is the number of runs in the first inning. More specifically, you bet on whether a run will happen in the first inning of the game.

betting on mlb

Since this market takes into account only one part of a baseball game, the variance for this bet type can be high even for profitable punters.

If you are new to betting on baseball, our advice would be to stay away from this market or use it only when looking for a fun bet.

First Five Inning Betting

If you really want to know the result of your bet as soon as possible, but you also want to minimize the variance, betting on the first five innings market might be your best option.

Of course, the odds for the first five innings win will vary significantly from those for the whole game.

More specifically, the odds for the win will be higher on the favorite and lower on the underdog than the odds for the full-time money line. The same goes for the spread (usually the margin for the spread is 0.5) and for the totals.

Seasoned bettors use the first five-inning market if they are confident that the team they are betting on has a good starting pitcher and a mediocre or bad bullpen backing him.

How to Bet on Baseball & Win More Often

Now that you are familiar with some of the most popular baseball betting markets, it is time to learn some of the approaches that seasoned baseball bettors use to make money betting on baseball.

Stay Away From Favorites

One of the first things that you will want to implement is avoiding betting on big favorites. The general public (read amateur bettors) loves betting on favorites since they are not familiar with the concept of value.

For this reason, online bookmakers tend to cut down on the odds for favorites far more to take advantage of the public money.

As a result, the odds for the big favorites in baseball (like in most other popular sports) are usually much lower than they should be based on the strength of the teams.

how to bet on baseball and win

If you have a big bankroll and you are no stranger to variance, the one thing that you can do to take advantage of this is to bet on the underdogs.

However, this is a strategy that requires a lot of money and, what is even more important, a lot of discipline, so if you are a newbie bettor, have patience.

Keep Track of the Divisional Underdogs

If you are going for the strategy of betting on the underdogs, be aware that not all underdogs are created equal.

As a matter of fact, your best strategy when betting on the underdogs in the MLB would be to look for the ones that are playing against their division rivals.

Underdogs who are from the same division as the favorite tend to perform much better than those playing a favorite from another division.

The biggest reason for this is that teams know each other well, which levels the playing field quite a bit.

In addition to this, you should also look to bet on underdogs who are playing on the road, and for games that have a higher predicted total than usual.

The home field usually creates an additional advantage in the eyes of the public so the odds for the favorite will be even lower, and games that have a lot of runs tend to be more unpredictable, which favors the underdog.

How to Bet on Baseball: Keep an Eye on the Forecast

Baseball is probably one of the sports that are most affected by the weather. You should always have this in mind if you are looking to make some money on the MLB.

While all weather conditions have some impact on the game, the one thing that has the biggest impact on baseball games is the wind.

Historically, around 55% of MLB games that have been played under wind blowing 5 mph have finished in under.

This means that you should be looking to bet the under if you find information that there could be some wind of at least 5mph during the game.

Go Odds Shopping

If there is one strategy that can immediately boost your ROI (return on investment) without you needing to increase your percentage of winning bets, it is odds shopping.

Odds shopping is a term used in sports betting to describe a strategy in which bettors look across multiple sites to find the best available odds before placing a bet.

how to bet on mlb

So our advice would be to always have accounts on multiple betting sites and do some research before placing a bet.

There is no easier way of increasing your returns on baseball betting than placing bets at the best available betting odds every time.

Volume Is Important

When it comes to betting on sports, you should always bet only on games that you feel very confident about. However, when it comes to MLB, you should be taking every bit of profit you can get.

The reason why you should be volume betting on the MLB is that there are a lot of games available. If you ROI is low, the only way to make some real money is to increase the number of wagers.

Final Thoughts on Baseball Betting

Baseball betting is quite complex, but we hope we have made things easier to understand. The important thing is to realize that each of these tips will give you a solid foundation, but you will have to work on developing your own betting style.

The most important aspect of betting, and the one that unfortunately we can’t teach you, is experience.

The more time you spend involved with baseball betting, the better you will become at exploiting every little mistake that the bookmakers make!

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