MLB Betting Tips

How To Bet On Major League Baseball

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Major League Baseball (MLB) offers more betting opportunities per season than any of the other major sports leagues. At online betting sites, such as Bookmaker.eu, there are multiple betting options for each of the regular season’s 2,430 games.

These options include who will win the game, how many runs will be scored, will the total number of Runs+Hits+Errors be over or under the posted total, and a plethora of prop bets.

In this article, we’ll address and explain the most common baseball betting options, including some tips for each, then conclude with advanced strategy for finding baseball prop bets that carry positive expectation

Most common baseball bets.

The three most common baseball betting options are called:

  1. Moneyline bets
  2. Runline bets
  3. Total betting

If you're completely new to sports betting, I'd highly recommend reading my article on how to bet on sports online first.

1) Betting on the moneyline in baseball.

The moneyline is a betting option on which team will win the game straight up. To show an example, we’ll use the sports betting line example of Rays +108 / Yankees -102. In this game the Rays are the underdog, and we can tell this because their moneyline has a plus symbol. What this bet states is that every $100 risked on the Rays stands to win $108.

Of course you can bet in any increment; so, to calculate how much you stand to win on a certain stake, convert the +108 to a decimal of 1.08 and multiply that by your stake. Likewise, to see how much stake is required to reach a certain win, divide your desired win amount by 1.08.

When betting the favorite, in this case Yankees -102, the terms and math are similar yet reversed. This bet states in order to win $100 you’ll need to risk $102. Again convert the -102 to a decimal of 1.02. This time, to determine how much a stake stands to win, divide that stake by 1.02. To calculate how much you’ll need to stake to reach a desired win amount, multiply the desired win amount by 1.02.

If this is at all confusing, don’t worry too much, at online betting sites such as Bookmaker.eu there is a bet review screen where you can see the risk and win amounts prior to confirming the bet. After a little while of betting moneylines, you’ll quickly get the hang of it.

A tip: Over the course of the past 10 baseball seasons, teams that are underdogs at home have fared the best. In fact, if you had shopped several betting sites for the best price just prior to game time and always bet on the best line, you would have profited at around 2% ROI by simply betting all the home dogs at the best price. While there is no guarantee that this trend will continue, and in fact it more likely won’t than will, there is still reason to believe when gambling, home underdogs remain the best blind bet.

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2) Betting on the run line in baseball.

An alternative to betting the moneyline is betting the run line. For example: Rays +1.5 -195 / Yankees -1.5 +175. The same concept as far as the pricing applies here, meaning for Rays you’ll need to risk $195 to win $100, and for the Yankees $100 risked wins $175.

You can also convert to decimals of 1.95 and 1.75 and do the same math we gave when explaining moneylines. The difference between these bets and moneyline bets is that there is a run line (point spread) involved. In this example, if the Yankees win by one run, those betting the Rays still win, as Rays were +1.5 runs; in order for Yankee bettors to win, the Yankees must win by more than 1.5 runs.

A tip: Home teams win by one run far more often than road teams. The reason why is simple: when leading after 8.5 innings the home team doesn’t bat. When they do bat, as soon as they take the lead the game is over. Runlines also have more juice than standard moneyline bets; therefore, it probably makes sense to bet the moneyline more often than the runline, and to only consider runlines when you can bet the road team +1.5 at a good price.

3) Baseball total bets.

The final of the three most popular ways baseball is bet is total bets. This is a bet on whether the total number of runs by both teams combined will be over or under the posted total.

This bet is fairly straight forward; however, to give a tip: totals end in an odd number far more often than an even number. This is because all tied scores equal an even number and no major league baseball game will ever end in a tie.

4) Additional betting option: Runs+Hits+Errors.

A forth betting option increasing in popularity is Runs+Hits+Errors. We won’t comment on this one other than to say that this is a prop bet which really experienced bettors end up making the most money on, and as a result most sites keep the betting limits rather low.

If you’re planning on becoming a baseball betting guru using strategy more advanced than this article covers, this is a good place to focus on when it comes to baseball prop betting.

The Most Profitable Baseball Bets.

If you’re a recreational bettor, we already mentioned that betting mostly home underdogs on the moneyline is the way to go. For anyone considering a mathematical approach to betting baseball, the best place to start is with baseball prop bets.

For example, let’s say there is a prop bet on Cliff Lee strike outs tonight and the options are over 7.5 -130 and under 7.5 +100.

As you dive into baseball betting, this will be a much easier prop to solve than judging accuracies of baseball moneylines. Here, you’ll probably start by looking up Cliff Lee’s average strike outs per game. From there, you might look at how often batters on the opposing team strike out. Next, you might examine stats about previous times he pitched to batters that he’ll face in this game, any relevant stadium stats (is it a dome, does he pitch different in a dome?)

You’ll probably also look for how many days it was since he last pitched, any news about him being on a pitch count tonight, is his team’s closer available for action tonight, what’s the shape of their bullpen.

It’s quite possible that at the end of this analysis, you’ll have done more research about this single prop bet than anyone else has including the odds maker that created the line. That’s something impossible to say about capping a full baseball game on the moneyline, but for a low exposure prop bet it might very well be the case.

Working out whether or not a MLB bet is +EV.

Let’s say after all your research you came up with an average of 8.13 strike outs for this game. How do you go about calculating whether or not this is +EV (see sports betting expected value)?

The first step is to calculate the Cumulative Poisson for 7 strike outs.

Now I realize this might have just come off as French or some other language you don’t speak. If you’re not familiar with Poisson distribution, Google the topic, and prepare to read some boring stuff. We’ll explain how you can use this without the need to even understand it.

Using Poisson distribution in MLB betting.

Excel, the spread sheet program by Microsoft, offers a poisson function as part of its standard formulas. The formula is POISSON(x, mu, cumulative).

  • Replace x with the number we are solving for (7)
  • Replace mu with the mean (8.13)
  • For cumulative enter true of false. Here we enter true, as false would solve only for the probability of seven exact, while we want the probability of 7 and under (0-7).

The exact data you’ll need to enter in an excel spreadsheet field is =POISSON(7,8.13,TRUE).

When you do, that cell will display the number 0.434967. This tells us that if 8.13 is the true mean then there is a 43.50% chance of 7 or less and therefore a 56.50% chance of 8 or more.

Now let’s check the math on how often -130 needs to win in on average to break even. $130 staked returns $230 (stake + $100 win), so the math is 130/230 = 56.52%. A bet on over 7.5 -130 is very close to neutral EV, leaning 1/50th of a percent on the negative side. Here we can conclude as the prop was presented that the over bet is close to an even money coin flip, where the under is a horrible bet.

In this given example, things didn’t work out. If you examine enough props and get good at statistics, there will be ones that do. Again, our point here is that the game straight up (moneyline) is an efficient market with millions of dollars being spent on both sides, and if any price is off, the market adjusts quickly. With prop bets, the odds maker that created the betting line likely had 10, 50, 100 or maybe even more lines to create that day and might not be factoring all data. Also, a large bet from fan biased is more likely to shift the line, creating value on the other side than is the case for moneyline bets.

Final thoughts on MLB betting.

If you’re going to bet baseball as a professional, our top advice is to start with baseball props. If you’re a recreational player looking to get a little action down on games, you can get started at www.Bookmaker.eu. Here, when signing up with bonus code FRESH, your first deposit will be matched with a 15% free play bonus.

That’s enough to offset the house edge in any baseball bet you’re looking to make. We wish you the best of luck!.

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