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Baseball Betting

By John Mayer

Major League Baseball is the oldest significant American sport, with the first professional team dating back to 1869. In the modern era, 30 teams compete in 162 games apiece from April to October, with the ultimate goal being to reach the World Series and win the Commissioner's Trophy.

Since teams average around 30 games per month, there are plenty of opportunities for the baseball betting enthusiast to get their fix. This article is dedicated to those who bet on the MLB, and it's my intention to provide some helpful information that should improve your overall experience.

Most Popular Forms of Baseball Wagers

Baseball bets come in all shapes and sizes, although the exact variety depends on the sportsbook that you're using. Some books like to concentrate on traditional wagers, while others enjoy branching out into more exotic territory.

Assuming you've done the smart thing and opened accounts with multiple sportsbooks, here are some of the wagering opportunities you're most likely to encounter:

  • Parlays:
    This type of wager requires the bettor to risk money on two or more MLB teams. In order to receive a payout, each of the customer's prediction must be accurate. While parlays are harder to hit, they offer more substantial payouts.
  • Prop Bets:
    The prop bet attempts to predict something that will happen during a game. This could be the number of strikeouts thrown by a relief pitcher, or it could be the number of times a specific batter goes yard.
  • Point Spread:
    The bettor must pick the winner of the contest, but they must account for the fact that additional runs will be added to the underdog's final score and subtracted from the favorite.
  • Run Lines:
    The same concept as the point spread, with the numbers being fixed at +1.5 for underdogs and -1.5 for favorites.
  • Totals:
    Also known as the Over/Under, this wager commonly deals with the final score of the game. The bettor must predict whether the total number of runs scored by both teams is going to be higher (over) or lower (under) than the number provided by the oddsmaker.
  • Money Line:
    This type of wager is usually written in the following manner: Texas Rangers -225 vs Milwaukee Brewers +200. The team with the negative number is the favorite, and the gambler has to wager the listed amount in order to win $100. The team with the positive sign is the underdog, and a $100 bet delivers the amount shown ($200 in this example).
  • First Five:
    Instead of taking all nine innings into account, this form of wager concentrates on the initial five.

How to Succeed at Baseball Betting

There's no absolute formula for becoming a successful baseball bettor, but most professionals have a number of habits in common. The most predictable of these is an in-depth knowledge of the sport, from the players and their statistics to the particular quirks of various ballparks.

Whether you're betting on baseball or some other sport, it's also important to shop around for the best lines. This is why you should open accounts at multiple sportsbooks, because you never know when a site is going to offer odds that deviate from their competitors.

Rookie gamblers have a tendency to overdo it when they start making wagers. Instead of betting only on games where they feel they have a clear edge, they throw money at every competition for the day. This behavior should be avoided at all costs, or else your bankroll will soon be decimated.

I also suggest staying away from parlay bets. Sure, the huge payouts are appealing, but even longtime bettors are going to have a tough time getting them right. While an eventual win might cancel out all the losses that came before, that kind of logic is getting a bit too close to the flawed Martingale System for my taste.


While baseball betting is impossible to master, it still provides bettors with an opportunity to enhance their bankroll and watch some MLB action in the process. Since the league has the highest season attendance of any sport on the planet, you can be confident that online books are going to offer an endless variety of wagers.

Some gamblers insist that baseball is one of the easy athletic competitions to bet on, while others have disputed this opinion. In either case, almost all experienced bettors agree that MLB is a better proposition for the customer than the NFL, which is something to consider when it's time to place your bet.

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