Betting on baseball is occasionally considered as one of the most popular ventures for astute bettors. With hundreds of fixtures being played annually, there is a large sample size to bet on. Yet, despite the huge size of fixtures, not so many people know how to bet on baseball. If you are one such person, it’s important you understand the basics of baseball betting before venturing into it. This ultimate baseball betting guide will take you through the nitty-gritty of baseball betting.
Betting on Baseball
You can only be a successful baseball bettor if you only understand the basic rules. A typical baseball game has two opposing teams with each side having nine players. The teams take turns to bat and field for 9 (nine) innings – with each having three ‘outs’ for both sides. The teams also attempt to score the most runs by rotating the four bases marked on the field.
Betting – The Basics
In baseball betting, there are three possible bets that you can place – Run Line, Money Line and Totals. Run line in baseball is the equivalent of NFL’s Point Spreading. Money line betting is simply supporting which of the two teams will win the game. Totals on the other hand refer to the total number of runs scored in the match.
Let’s look at all these different types of bets in detail.
Money Line betting
Money line betting is the most popular form of betting among bettors. Before placing a money line bet, you need to consider two main factors:
Defense - The Starting Pitcher
With many games in a typical Major League Baseball (MLB) season, it’s important you take note of the squad, more especially how the team has rotated. You need to be aware of the starting pitcher. Although analyzing the team’s bullpen (“relief” or second choice pitchers) is important, it’s ultimately the main pitcher who makes the biggest difference.
While analyzing the starting pitcher, look at stats such as:
- ERA (Earned Run Average)
- WARP (Wins Above Replacement Player)
- WHIP (Walks Plus Hits per Innings Pitched)
- IP (Innings Pitched)
Offence - The Hitters
While you must analyze the effectiveness of each team’s pitchers, you should also do the same for the batters. Like you did for the pitchers, there are several statistics/areas to consider under this. These statistics include:
- ISO (Isolated Power)
- OBP (On-Base Percentage)
- WOBA (weighted On-Base Average)
- PA (Plate Appearances)
Run Line betting
Placing a run line bet gives you better value. However, it requires you to have a deeper understanding of the sport to benefit from it. At the most basic level, if you know the value of 3 points in NFL betting, 1.5 points is basically the same thing when it comes to baseball betting. It is essentially a 1.5-point handicap that each team needs to cover for the bet to win.
Totals Betting In Baseball
Totals betting in baseball isn’t any different from totals betting in any other sport. In baseball, you are basically betting on the total number of runs (points) scored in a game. You’ll have to bet that the total number of runs will be under or over a figure set by the sportsbook. Since each team has 27 outs to score as many runs (points) as possible, totals betting is ideal for strategic betting.
Just like in money line betting, analyzing both teams in terms of defensive and offensive strengths can go a long way to helping you successfully place a totals bet. You should also consider other external factors, which can ultimately lead to a low or high scoring game.
External Factors to Consider Before Betting on Baseball
Besides analyzing the player and team’s performance, you should also analyze the external factors, which affect the player’s performance on the field, as well as how the game is played.
Different stadiums have different dimensions. This directly influences how many runs will be scored at the end of the match. Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chase Field and Coors Field, home of Colorado Rockies, are notorious for high scoring games. On the contrary, Safeco Field – home ground for Seattle Mariners – and San Francisco Giants’ AT&T Park are renowned for low scoring games.
The humidity, temperature and speed of the wind on match day also influence baseball betting. Hot days tend to have thin air, a factor that sees the ball travel faster. On a humid day, the air tends to be thick. This makes it difficult for the ball to travel.
The wind has a bigger influence on baseball. This can work for or against the batters. For example, if the ball is travelling against the wind – where the batter is hitting – the ball won't cover much distance. If the wind is in the same direction as the batter and blows in the same direction as the hit, the ball will cover much distance.
All in all, you must analyze the direction of the wind, especially if you are betting on totals. You can always find the information regarding the wind speed, direction and humidity/temperature on the sportsbook.