The Basic Guide for MLB Sports Betting

Baseball season in America begins and ends with the MLB. It features the best teams and players battle it out nearly every day over a 162-game schedule. Therefore, bettors will have no trouble finding many different betting options for MLB games on sportsbooks. These include betting lines for regular season MLB games, playoffs and the World Series. 

We will explain in this guide in more detail the basics of betting on the MLB. Like every professional sports league, the MLB has defining features and characteristics that influence the way bets are made. In the MLB, things like starting pitchers, a strong bullpen and solid batting order help make the difference between winning and losing bets. 

The Most Common MLB Betting Types

If you happen to be familiar with betting on other professional leagues, making the jump to the MLB can be done with relative comfort. Either way, main bet types for the MLB are composed of three different options. These are the moneyline, the run line and betting the totals. These are far and away the most popular bets for each MLB game. Understanding their basics is key to becoming a consistent player on MLB betting lines. 

The Moneyline Bet

What we have here is the most common bet placed on MLB games. The moneyline is simply a bet on which team will win the game. For the MLB, we do not have to worry about the possibility of a tie game between two teams. Extra innings will be included in the moneyline. As long as the team we bet on wins the game, whether in the ninth inning or the 20th, the bet will be successful. 

The main variable for MLB moneyline betting is that unlike other leagues, MLB teams will play the same opponent three or four times in a row. There are still favored teams as well as underdogs, however over the course of a series there is a good chance the underdog will manage to win one or two of those games. Moneyline bets are therefore not as clear-cut as with other sports. 

Run-Line Betting

The run-line in the MLB is what the spread or handicap is to other leagues. In order to equal out the chances between two mismatched teams, sportsbooks will determine a number fo0r each game that essentially cuts out any advantage the favored team has. Bettors can benefit from the run-line by having more betting options and higher odds on the stronger team. 

The greater the disparity in quality between two teams, the higher the run-line will be. However, run-lines in the MLB generally do not have much variation due to the low scoring nature of baseball as well as the tight competition. As a standard, the run-line is set at 1.5 for most games. To win a run-line bet this means the favored team must win the game by two or more runs, whereas the underdog cannot lose the game by two or more runs.

Totals Betting

Betting on the totals, or over/under, for the MLB brings about the highest amount of variety from the three main betting lines. The standard sportsbook total will be on the final number of combined runs scored by both teams. MLB over/under bets can also be made on only one team’s total runs, total number of home runs, strikeouts, etc. In order to cash a bet on any of these betting lines, we must correctly guess whether the final number will be higher (over) or lower (under) than the sportsbook’s number. 

The numbers given by sportsbooks for total runs in a game are almost always either 3.5, 5.5 or 7.5. This is because they directly correlate with the most common final scores in the MLB.  Therefore, the difference between winning and losing these bets is often just one run. Sportsbooks can also offer alternative lines for the run total, where it’s possible to pick a higher number for better odds. 

Futures Bets on World Series Champs and Player Awards

At the end of each MLB season, there will be a World Series champion as well as multiple individual awards handed out. Futures betting lines are available all year-round and challenge bettors to correctly pick champions, MVP winners, Cy Young recipients and more. Futures bets are not restricted to one team or player, making it possible to select five or more different teams to win the World Series. As a general rule, these bets carry less risk the later into the season they are made, and vice versa. 

Other Possible MLB Betting Lines

While the main betting lines for the MLB have been covered, there will often be more ways to bet on sportsbooks. Two of the more common types are prop bets and parlays. Prop bets are wagers made on any variable that does not affect the game’s final score. Within baseball, common props include individual player statistics like strikeouts, ERA and home runs.

Bet lines in the MLB can also be combined with other games to make a single wager, called a parlay. This is a combination of two or more bet selections that results in one payout, if successful. Betting odds on a parlay increase as more selections are added, but are generally considered riskier than single wagers. 

Important Features of the MLB for Betting

What then, we may ask, defines the way in which we bet on the MLB? The general features surrounding the league can directly correlate to the bets we make. As a standard rule that is rarely upset, teams with better pitching rotations will have a much greater advantage throughout the season all the way to the World Series. Even having just one starting ace changes the way we bet on a certain team. 

Another feature that is unique to the MLB is its schedule of games and how they are played. Only in the MLB will teams continuously play the same opponent three or four times in a row. The number of series played each season between two opponents from the same division is higher than that of other teams. This results in some distinct characteristics in betting on division rivals.  

Main Focus on the Starting Pitchers

The old saying goes that a pitcher is not a ballplayer. For all betting intents and purposes it rings true. Not a single player on the field has more influence in a game than the pitcher does. The success of a team lives and dies on how powerful its starting rotation and bullpen is. When betting on MLB games, checking the starting pitchers for each team is of utmost importance. 

Starting pitchers who are considered among the best among their team’s rotation are referred to as aces. These players can alter main MLB betting lines by themselves. A serious pitching advantage for one team can determine the favorite or underdog for a game. They can also lower run totals and breach the sportsbook’s run line. Knowing the starting pitchers gives bettors a strong sense of what to expect from a game’s main betting lines. 

The Familiarity between Division Rivals

Series between two MLB division rivals are held to a higher standard than other games. These teams are directly competing against each other for playoff spots, making them intense must-win games. Division games also constitute around half of an MLB team’s schedule each season. Therefore, to say these teams know each other well would be an understatement. 

Teams playing their divisional opponents will have a different set of rules for MLB betting. Most notably, this includes moneyline betting and the designation of a favorite and underdog. The games here are much closer than what each team’s record would suggest. Underdogs in a division series have better chances to be victorious and can be a profitable option where they otherwise wouldn’t be. 

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