How to Bet on Baseball – Baseball Betting Tips & Strategy

Baseball betting is popular with casual fans and serious sports bettors alike. Here we break down how to bet on baseball, looking at the most popular types of bets and our top tips for maximizing profits.

Betonline baseball betting

How Does Baseball Betting Work?

Baseball betting is one of the easiest sports betting markets to understand, which makes it a great option for beginners.

The most popular bet type is wagering on the outright winner (the moneyline) but you can also bet on the number of runs scored and individual player performance.

Betting is available on a number of different baseball leagues, such as Major League Baseball (MLB), NCAA College Baseball, Japan NPB, and plenty more.

We’ll be doing a general overview of baseball betting here. If you’re interested to learn how to bet on MLB, we’d recommend reading our in-depth guide that includes specific tips and strategies.

Understanding the Odds

When you visit a sportsbook to bet on baseball, you will see the odds presented with a plus (+) or a minus (-) number. The team with the plus sign is the underdog and the team with the minus sign is the favorite.

By displaying the odds in this way, it makes it easy to calculate potential payouts. The positive (+) odds show you what you would win with a $100 wager. The negative (-) odds show you what you would need to wager to win $100.

baseball betting - NPB odds

So, as an example, if you bet $100 on the Hanshin Tigers priced at +150 and won, your bet would return $250 (profit of $150).

Types of Baseball Bets

Here’s a look at some of the most popular ways to bet on baseball.

Moneyline

The moneyline is the simplest and most popular baseball bet as the only variable to understand is the number tied to the two teams playing. This is when you bet on the team you think will win.

baseball betting popular bet types

Over/Under (Total)

In an over/under bet (also known as totals) you decide whether the total number of runs scored in a game by both teams will be over (O) or under (U) a number set by the sportsbook.

The over/under number will have odds attached (known as the juice/vig), based on the implied probability of the score going over or under the set number.

The keys to developing an opinion on the total in a given baseball game include weather, starting pitching and any momentum — positive or negative — a team may be sustaining.

Run Line

The run line takes the same format as the point spread in sports such as football and basketball. In baseball, the run line is usually set at 1.5 lines.

When making your baseball betting picks, you’ll see a set of numbers such as this:

  • Dodgers -1.5, +120
  • Giants +1.5, -140

When betting on the favored Dodgers, you can decide to handicap the outcome by deciding the Dodgers can win by two or more runs. With that allowance, you receive more favorable odds (+120, meaning a $100 wager returns $220, or a $120 profit).

Conversely, when betting on the Giants +1.5 runs, you would yield -140 odds (to win $100, you must risk $140). In this scenario, the Giants could lose by one run and their backers would still win the +1.5 bet.

Parlays

Betting parlays is where you combine different picks in the same bet and all bets (legs) need to come through in order for the parlay bet to be successful. The payouts are much larger, but so are the risks.

An example of a parlay would be to take three favorites together.

  • Dodgers -130 over the Giants
  • Yankees -125 over the Red Sox
  • Mariners -108 over the Angels

Taken as one bet (all three legs must win), this would return odds of +513 (bet $100 to win $513).

A same-game parlay (SGP) involves multiple wagers within a single game. This is a popular option offered at online sportsbooks and you’ll find many options to consider within a given game.

First Five Innings

A more unique baseball betting option is the first five innings option, also known as F5 betting. As its name implies, this is when you choose outcomes based on the first five innings of a given game.

Teams are assigned odds similarly offered for a full-game wager. You could place a bet on the Dodgers at -120 to lead the Giants after the first five innings. If they do lead, the bet is a winner. If the teams are tied after five innings, the bet is considered a push and the wager is refunded.

The upside to a first five innings wager is that the wager more strongly supports faith – or a lack thereof – in the starting pitchers. Obviously, the longer a game goes, the more likely it is that the relief pitchers will be needed.

In a first five innings bet, the starting pitcher’s impact will be felt much more strongly when compared with a full-game wager. In fact, the starting pitcher is frequently still in the game during the fifth inning so there is much less of a variable to consider.

Live Betting

This option involves deciding on the wager while the game is in progress. Most sportsbooks offer numerous live betting options – similar to those offered on the pregame menu – that include winning team, game total, and individual performances.

Prop Bets

Prop bets offer one of the most entertaining ways to bet on baseball. This is usually when you bet on an individual player performance (singles, doubles, triples and home runs, etc) or team’s performance. Prop bets bring a wide variety of outcomes and odds to consider.

Wagering on a player who is on a hot streak is always entertaining, especially if the wager is on that player collecting multiple hits during a game, or hitting a home run.

Most individual player home run props offer odds of 3-1 or better, and there is usually a market to wager on how many total home runs a team will hit.

Other more obscure prop bets include the total number of runs scored in all a given day’s scheduled games combined. That number for a full slate of games is usually approaching 100 runs.

Popular, too, is how many strikeouts a starting pitcher will record, how many stolen bases a player will record, and how many runs will be scored during one selected inning.

The latter wager is popular for first-inning bets, which has an outcome decided very early in the game for those less patient sports bettors.

How to Place a Baseball Bet – Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Create an account

    If you haven’t already got an account, you’ll need to sign up to BetOnline and verify your account.
    Create an account
  2. Find the baseball betting markets

    After claiming a welcome bonus, navigate the sportsbook to find the “Baseball” section.
    Find the baseball betting markets
  3. Choose a game to bet on

    Find a wager in the “Baseball” field you’re interested in pursuing. We’ll use “South Korea KBO” as a point of reference.
    Choose a game to bet on
  4. Place your bet

    Click the odds to add the bet to your betslip, enter your stake amount, and place your bet.

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Baseball Betting Tips & Strategies

Now you have a handle on baseball betting rules, it’s time to look at how to find an edge with your wagers. Here are a few tips to help you with your baseball betting strategy.

1. Shop for the best lines

If you want to find the best value, you need to put in the time to shop around. Why would you bet on Dodgers at +115 when it’s being offered at +125 on a different sportsbook? It’s the same concept as going shopping for a popular item. Do your research to find the best MLB sportsbooks offering the most competitive prices.

2. Manage your money and avoid exotic bets

Exotic bets such as parlays and teasers are fun to play because they have larger payouts. But they are also historically bad bets to make. There are too many swings and misses to make these bets work, so target the top-value single-game wagers instead.

3. Target underdogs

Betting on baseball as a daily exercise requires discipline, and betting the underdog can serve to produce a winning return on investment. It’s a long season. Most teams win 60 games and lose 60, leaving only 42 games of uncertainty. You can see the value of successful wagers on the underdogs, given each underdog is a plus-money risk (bet $100 to win back more than the original risk).

4. Follow the line movement and capitalize on reverse momentum

When a moneyline opens with -150 on a team and then slides down toward -140 or below, it’s a sign that the “smart” money is backing the other team. It’s always more comfortable to side with the smart money so, even though a large majority of the tickets may be on the favorite, more money is coming in late on the underdog.

5. Check the weather

Always consider the weather, as it can positively or negatively impact a team and therefore your betting. A great example is betting on the Chicago Cubs when they are playing home games. Wrigley Field is infamous for its dramatic wind conditions.

When the wind is “blowing out” toward the outfield walls, the number of runs expected to be scored increases. When the wind is “blowing in” toward the batter, the scoring is expected to decrease when measured against the norm.

FAQs

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Jay Dieffenbach
Sports Betting Expert

Jay is a Sports Betting Writer at Techopedia.com, and has been working in US sports for more than 20 years. He's worked for Daily Racing Form, the Arizona Republic, The Athletic and FanDuel among other sports and gambling positions.