MLB baseball teams play 162 games per season, plus the playoffs. Add tons of futures and prop bets to that number and you’ve got a sport with more betting opportunities than any other. This gives punters the ability to be more selective about their bets, and to use their bankroll more wisely. Placing bets in size of ½ – 2% of a total bankroll offers more protection from going broke, and allows those smart enough to be able to beat the books to earn consistent, steady wins.
Our favorite online sportsbook for baseball betting is BetOnline and Bovada. Each of these sportsbooks offer various types of betting for every Major League regular season game, plus hundreds of futures and prop bets.
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MLB Baseball Betting
Since online sportsbooks offer so many betting options, punters should be looking for high value bets and comparing them at different sportsbooks. It’s a good idea to have accounts at as many online sportsbooks as possible, then compare odds and get the best value for each bet. This is often the difference between being a winner or loser in baseball betting.
Betonline MLB Baseball Betting
Betonline also offers a huge selection of baseball betting options. They offer all of the standard baseball bets, plus some interesting bets such as first team to score, 2 ½ runlines, and a solid lineup of playoff futures. On a daily basis, they do offer more longshot (high odds) type bets than most. For these types of bets we suggest keeping your bets to a maximum of 1% of your bankroll, and preferably .5%.
Betonline is one of the largest online sportsbooks, with a strong reputation and financial security. Plenty of simple deposit options are available for US and non-US bettors.
Bodog.com MLB Baseball Betting
The Bodog Sportsbook is such a solid sportsbook that everyone should have an account here. Established in 1994, Bodog is the largest online gaming company in the world. They have strong financial security and possibly the best reputation in the industry.
Bodog offers betting on every MLB game, plus NL, AL, and World Series futures bets. They also have bets available for first to score, series winners, alternative runlines, total team runs, and a selection of interesting baseball bets you can’t find at other online sportsbooks.
Credit card deposits can be hit or miss for US bettors, but other deposit options are available as well. If you prefer to deposit with your Visa card, try it first. If it doesn’t work you’ll find a selection of deposit options that include eWalletXpress, bank wire, Rapid Transfer, and Click2Pay. For large deposits we recommend using the bank wire option.
For non-US bettors, Neteller and other simple deposit methods are available as well.
College Baseball Betting
At most online sportsbooks, options for betting on college baseball are limited. Most books only offer betting on big games and the College World Series. Since so few games are televised or followed closely by bookmakers, it’s too difficult for them to generate reliable odds..
Sportsbook.com generally offers more NCAA college baseball bets than other online bookmakers. If this is what you’re interested in, try Sportsbook.com first but don’t expect too much.
Baseball Betting 101
Baseball Money Line Betting
Since it’s too hard to predict runs scored, the most common way to bet on baseball is on money lines (as opposed to point spreads like football or basketball). Since there is no point spread, all that matters is that your team wins. In baseball, the favorite will have a negative money line, while the underdog will usually have a positive money line. Money lines are based on $100 bets.
NY Yankees (-155) = Favorite
Toronto Blue Jays (+135) = Underdog
In games where there’s no clear favorite, the money line may look like this:
Atlanta Braves (-115) = Favorite
Arizona Diamondbacks (-105) = Underdog
In the first example, the NY Yankees at -155 would require a $155 bet to win $100 profit ($255 total return). For the Toronto Blue Jays, a $100 bet would give you a $135 profit ($235 total return).
In the second example, it would require a $115 bet on the Atlanta Braves to get a $100 profit ($215 total return). For the Arizona Diamondbacks, you would need to wager $105 for a $100 profit ($205 total return).
Dime lines are the smart way to go if you plan on betting a lot of games. Dime lines are bets where the house take (also called juice, vigorish or vig) is 10 cents on the dollar.
For example, if the Braves are -125 and the Dodgers are +115, there is a $10 difference (called a dime line) on payout based on a $100 bet. If the Braves were -125 and the Dodgers were +105, that would be a $20 difference (referred to as a 20 cent line), meaning that the house is taking a $20 vig (more money for the house, less for the bettors).
Some online sportsbooks offer more dime lines than others. If you have accounts at multiple sportsbooks you’ll have a better chance of finding them for the games you’re interested in. If you’re going to bet on a lot of games throughout the season, the difference in the vig will add up.
Many online sportsbooks offer run lines as another way to bet on baseball. Run lines are similar to the point spread in football or basketball, but baseball run lines are always set at 1 1/2. This means that the natural underdog can lose the game by one run and still create a winning bet. The odds on favorite would have to win by 2 or more runs to create a winning bet.
Here’s an example which will compare the money line with the run line for the same Yankees/Blue Jays game listed above.
Money Line: Yankees (-155) vs Blue Jays (+135). With this bet, the Yankees are the odds on favorite to win. This is a straight-up bet on who will win the game, no matter what the score is.
Run Line: Yankees -1 1/2 (+130) vs Blue Jays +1 1/2 (-150). On this bet, the Blue Jays are given 1 1/2 runs, meaning that the Yankees have to win by 2 or more runs to cover the run line. If the Yankees outright lose the game or win by just one run, anyone who took the Blue Jays on the run line wins their bet.
If you think the Yankees will win by two or more runs, this could be a good bet for you. The benefit of taking the Yankees on the run line is that you only need to wager $100 to win $130. To take the Blue Jays, you’ll have to wager $150 to win $100.
If Win Bets
If Win bets give bettors the ability to limit losses or leverage wins. If Win bets allow you to select an order of bets based on winning each prior bet. At most online sportsbooks, If Win bets can be placed for 2-7 total games. At most books, the size of bets for games 2-7 are equal to the bet amount of game 1. There are some variations to this however, since each sportsbook has it’s own rules.
Here’s how If Win bets work:
You want to place three baseball bets today, but feel strongest about one game. The game you feel strongest about is a night game, and the other two are both day games. Instead of having to wager on the weaker games first, If Win bets allow you to hold off on the day game bets unless your night game wins.
In this case you would mark the night game as If Win and make it first in the order sequence. If your night game bet is a winner, then the second and third games in your sequence automatically become live – regardless if they won or lost.
If Win bets are not limited to games played on the same day. If you want to, you can make the first game in your If Win bet a game that takes place several days after the second game.
Benefits of Placing If Win Bets
If Win bets allow you to bet on other games only if you win the first bet. This limits your potential to lose more money if the first bet is a loser. If your strongest bet can be placed first (and you win), you can more easily afford to ‘gamble’ on other games you’re less sure about.
Allows bettors to leverage their money. If you only have $50 in your account, you can place a $50 bet on the game you’re most confident with. If your winnings on the first game in your sequence is $120, then you lose the second game, you still have $70 in your account. If you had to place your bets in the order in which the games were played, you would’ve lost the $50 in your account and gone broke.
Other Types of Baseball Bets
Some online sportsbooks also offer various parlays, round robins, reverse bets and teasers. Check with each sportsbook for different betting options and rules.
How the Money Lines are Determined
For the most part, baseball money lines are dependent on the starting pitchers. If the starting pitchers change before game time, the way you’ve placed your bets will determine if they will be live or not.
For example, if you’ve placed your bets as ‘action’ then pitching changes have no effect on your bets. However, you can also place your bets so that they cancel if either (or both) of the scheduled starting pitchers doesn’t make it to the mound. If you’re betting on a game based on the starting pitchers, be sure to place your bets accordingly.