Major League Baseball (MLB) is one of the sports you can really clean up if you know what you’re doing. Not only is there tons of action with many games per day, the stats side of the game of baseball is legendary, giving bettors who know how to bet on baseball a solid advantage.
Moreover, betting MLB is one of the only options during the summer, so you’re normally not distracted by a bunch of other games, you can concentrate on your baseball betting.
Here are a few ideas to keep in mind as you discover and/or refine your knowledge of how to bet MLB:
How to Bet MLB, By the Numbers
From a technical standpoint, the first few times you throw down cash on an MLB game, the lines can seem a bit confusing.
First you have the “money line” bet, which is a straight up bet on that team to win. These lines are “priced” according to the odds of that team winning, so you will see lines such as -150 for the favorite or +130 for the underdog. If you’re betting on the favorite, then, you’ll need to stack $150 to win $100. If you’re betting the dog, you’ll win $130 for every $100 you bet.
Many MLB bettors choose to bet in $100 denominations because it makes these kinds of calculations easy.
In addition to the money line bet, you have the “run line” bet, which is similar to a point spread. So the run line could be set, for example, at +2.5 for a heavy underdog. In MLB betting, this means that the underdog needs to lose by no more than 3 runs in order for you to win your bet.
Note, though, that the run line also has a “price” put on it; for instance, that +2.5 bet may pay out at +110, meaning that for every $100 you bet on the dog +2.5, you collect $110 in winnings.
This complicates matters slightly, but is definitely not rocket science. You can do it, we know you can.
Pitchers Touch the Ball Every Single Play
One reasons why betting MLB is so potentially lucrative is that the fate of your bet is so largely in the hands of one man: the pitcher for the team on which you are betting. Unlike football or basketball, which are quintessential team games, baseball has one player that is much more important than any other player (at least if you’re betting), and that is the pitcher.
If you bet on an MLB workhorse in his prime the likes of Nolan Ryan, Curt Schilling, Greg Maddox, or Cliff Lee, you will always have a good chance to win your bet because guys like these, when they’re on their game, are virtually unhittable.
Of course, the lines for MLB games reflect the importance of the pitchers that are on the mound that day. If you are betting on a Nolan Ryan in his prime, you can expect to pay for the privilege, and you may be facing a -200 line, meaning you’ll need to risk $200 to win $100.
While this may seem like a high price to pay, it may also be a wonderful bet because the best pitchers in MLB are incredibly, incredibly good, especially when they’re in their prime. Bets on the best pitchers in MLB are often more similar to investing than to gambling:
You may not double your money, but at least you own a valuable asset.
Popular Alternative Bets for MLB: The First 5 Innings and Over/Under
Due to the overriding importance of “ace” pitchers, it has become popular in MLB betting to bet the first five innings of the game. This gives you a chance to bet even more specifically on your pitcher, because major league pitchers usually go at least 5 innings unless they’re getting shelled.
The pricing for a 5 innings bet is the same as with a full game bet, you have two main options either the money line or the run line.
Speaking of starting pitchers getting shelled, you should always consider the possibility that an ace pitcher will have a bad day and get hit hard. This possibility demands that you consider the strength of the team’s bullpen, its relief pitchers. Some teams have stud relief pitchers who can salvage a bet for you if your starter is off his game. Other teams have awful bullpens.
One other popular bet in MLB, also based on the primacy of pitching, is the over/under. This is an appealing bet when two aces are facing off against each other. Many times these games are low scoring as the aces duel to outdo each other.
In this case, you may not know which ace will triumph, but you may be prepared to bet that neither team is going to be scoring too many runs with that guy on the hill.