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MLB Betting - Everything You Need to Know

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All you need for your MLB betting - Odds, Picks, News & Insights

Despite the strong competition posed by other sports leagues, particularly the NFL and NBA, Major League Baseball (MLB) continues to serve up exciting seasons for fans around the world - and, in turn, compelling betting opportunities. Of course, it helps that some of MLB’s most iconic teams are perennially in the hunt for the playoffs, from the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics.

Likewise, the league’s star power remains strong. That starts with the unique Shohei Ohtani (a pitcher and hitter) and extends to other prolific batters like Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Mike Trout, Jose Abreu and Alex Bregman. Beyond the home run mashers, it is generally the pitchers who attract most of the spotlight. In today’s game, the group of elite aces includes Jacob deGrom, Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander.

The baseball season, which gets underway in late March, is a betting dream in the sense that each team has 162 games crammed into six months – and that means a packed nightly schedule from coast to coast to evaluate. Looking to get in on the betting action? Let us walk you through the options.

MLB Betting Markets

Moneyline

Like with most sports, this is the simplest and most easily understood betting option. You simply have to decide which team will win. That pick is complicated by a wide range of factors, including the fact that starting pitchers change on a game-by-game basis, bullpens (replacing those starters) can swing the outcome and it is tough to predict when batters are going to heat up. Games continue until we get a winner, so you might have to sweat out some extra innings. You can expect to see the usual moneyline approach of a favourite and an underdog, but the parity and unpredictability across the league means that there are rarely heavy favourites or big underdogs. For example, the playoff-bound Tampa Bay Rays might be -150 favourites against a middling opponent, who could be slotted as a +130 underdog.

Spread betting / Run Line betting

With MLB spread betting, often referred to as Run Line Betting, we get into the margin of victory. Oddsmakers review the strengths and weaknesses of the two teams (particularly the pitchers) and determine a line. For example, the Red Sox might be favoured by 1.5 runs against the Toronto Blue Jays, with odds of -100 on either side of that line. In that case, if you bet on Boston, you would need them to win by two runs. If you are picking Toronto, even a one-run loss would bring home that bet.

As mentioned under the Moneyline section, the unpredictability of teams from one night to the next usually translates to a narrow run line/spread, with 1.5 very common. If you choose an alternative run line (e.g. 2.5, 3.5), the odds will shift accordingly.

First five innings

This category largely takes the bullpen out of the equation and pits the starting pitchers against each other, since both will usually last around five innings (though that is less certain in the playoffs). You can bet on who will be winning at that point in the same way as full game betting. Every year, we get a few teams with a talented starting rotation but a leaky bullpen, so keep an eye on those trends.

MLB totals

You will also find a betting line for total number of runs scored in a game, with that over/under sitting at odds of -100, as well as a long list of alternative lines. This is a tricky category, though, with the possibility of tight pitching battles at one end of the spectrum that end in a 1-0 or 2-1 scoreline, then the potential for a 10-9 thriller if the hitters are in a rhythm. The total runs line generally lands between 7.5 and 10.5, but the alternative lines often stretch out your options from over/under 5 total runs to over/under 16 total runs.

Home run scorers

Wagering on which players will score a home run is a tough bet to win on as teams have big hitters up and down the line-up, and betting on the first home run hitter is even more precarious (though you will find odds starting at around +600 for the top threats). Picking an anytime home run scorer is likely the way to go if you are intent on taking this path, but there are often more appealing options on the board. Still, there is something fun about cheering for a particular player to crush the ball out of the stadium. You can find various other nightly player performance props, including the number of strikeouts for the starting pitchers.

Futures

You will find an array of MLB “futures” odds at the start of each season, from division winners to World Series champions to regular season win totals. While there will be opportunities during the course of the season to bet on the World Series winner, the odds are obviously more compelling before the season’s first pitch is thrown (e.g. +700 before the first pitch is thrown in April, compared to +500 once the team appears playoff-bound).

When it comes to predicting regular season win totals, remember that even the teams that finish with the best records each year will lose over 50 games and sometimes over 60. It takes a significant effort to reach the 90-win mark.

MLB Parlay bets

While the notion of putting a few strong favourites together for a parlay (aka accumulator) bet is not always as appealing for MLB action as it is in the NFL or NBA (given the ups and down of a baseball season), this is still an option you may wish to consider. For example, you may like the look of the New York Yankees, San Diego Padres and Houston Astros to all win their games - and you could turn that into a single bet where each part of the bet must be successful in order to win (whether you choose moneyline odds, Run Line odds or a combination of both).

MLB Live betting

Baseball games can fill a whole afternoon, with plenty of breaks between innings, and that provides ample time to weigh up live betting odds. Given how quickly the scoreline can flip back and forth between the two teams, the in-play odds may not shift dramatically, but you could find attractive odds for a high-powered offense to launch a dramatic comeback. Equally, you have the benefit of getting a glimpse of the two starting pitchers and whether they both look to be on top form.

MLB Betting Strategy

  • It’s a long season: A short memory is critical in MLB life as the games keep coming thick and fast. And even the most talented teams might lose four out of every ten games. With 162 games to figure out a winning formula, do not be overly alarmed by a slow start. Similarly, it is tough to create the same “do or die”feeling in comparison to a four-month NFL regular season, so urgency often comes later in the year.

  • Schedule fatigue is felt league-wide: While betting on the NBA requires careful monitoring of whether one team has endured a more taxing recent schedule, baseball is a day in, day out grind. Teams play almost every day (with occasional days off for rest/travel) so it is rare for one team to be more rested than the other.

  • Check out the pitching matchups: You will usually see the starting pitchers named at least a few days in advance of their upcoming games. Factor that into your decision-making process. If an inexperienced youngster is set to duel with one of the league’s elite aces, that is information you need to know. The odds will usually reflect the pitching matchup, but it is still valuable to look at the starters’ recent performances as part of envisioning how the game will unfold.

  • Beware good pitchers with limited run support: Before leaping to bet on even a top tier starting pitcher, just double check on the health of the batting line-up. A star pitcher can have a big impact but they are still dependent on the hitters delivering run support. Without it, you could have to sit through some excruciating low-scoring losses.

  • Bullpens matter: We see this every October, in particular, with games never safe if the bullpen cannot record outs. Do not judge games by the starting pitcher alone – sometimes the lack of late innings support is costly.

  • Watch for left hander vs. right hander tendencies: Watch for trends here as certain teams/hitters thrive against right-handed pitchers but struggle to deal with lefties, or vice versa. That can have an impact on the betting line.

  • Monitor ballpark trends: Since each stadium is somewhat unique in its design, the potential for high-scoring game varies across the league. Games at Minute Maid Park (Astros), Oriole Park (Baltimore Orioles) and Coors Field (Rockies) tend to deliver a high number of home runs and will typically prompt the highest betting lines for total runs.

  • Divisional games are a wild card: Teams play each of their divisional foes 19 times a year. They know each other inside out, and the batters have a better read on the opposing pitchers. Do not write off the supposedly weaker team in divisional contests, especially if they are playing at home. There is often more parity in these showdowns than the standings would suggest.

  • Interleague action adds a wrinkle: Keep in mind that when American League teams travel to National League teams, the designated hitter role (allowed in the American League) does not apply. Instead pitchers must bat. That can throw visiting teams off balance, giving National League teams an extra edge.

  • Weather can be a determining factor too: While there is largely steady weather across the league during the heart of the schedule, late March, early April and late September can serve up some windy conditions which, in theory, should reduce the chance of home runs and high-scoring games. And, of course, chilly October weather can impact big playoff clashes.

MLB Schedule

No one can claim that the MLB season doesn’t allow players to eventually find their best form. With 162 regular season games packed into the yearly schedule, the league’s Opening Weekend typically falls in late March or early April.

The postseason traditionally runs throughout the month of October, starting with the American League and National League wildcard games (single-game, winner-takes-all showdowns), followed by the Divisional Series (best of five) then the Championship Series (best of seven). That leaves the final two teams - American League champ, National League champ - to contest the World Series.

Where to Find the Best MLB Picks?

Check out our MLB Picks page for the latest tips and predictions as the baseball season winds its way towards a thrilling October finale. We are focused on bringing you the best MLB picks, along with what you need to know before wagering on the action.

MLB Odds comparison and Live odds

Head over to our MLB Odds page for all the available wagering options for upcoming (and live) games on the packed baseball schedule.

MLB Expert Predictions

For more insights and predictions, check out our MLB Predictions page for updates, betting tips and game previews.

Conclusion

The MLB season is a marathon, not a sprint. The league’s jam-packed nightly schedule offers extensive betting opportunities in the regular season before the high stakes postseason cranks up the tension. Along the way, savour all the clutch hits and highlight reel catches.

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