A Guide to Online Betting for MLB
Baseball, as the old saying goes, is America’s pastime, and it is also one of the most popular sports among US bettors. The vast majority of baseball betting is, of course, focused on Major League Baseball. As each team in MLB plays 162 games in the regular season, there is no shortage of betting opportunities. Moreover, as MLB’s scheduling means much of the season is played throughout the summer months (when NFL, NBA and NHL are in the offseason), baseball becomes the main focus for sportsbooks, a fact that can help bettors get some excellent MLB betting promotions.
Best Sites for MLB Betting
Every major online sportsbook will offer betting on MLB as standard, but some obviously do it better than others. What does it take to be the best MLB sportsbook? A combination of factors, which includes promotions, betting market coverage, in-play betting and odds quality. Do any online sportsbooks excel in all of those areas? Sure. The likes of BetAmerica, PointsBet, FanDuel and 888sport are among our most recommended choices for MLB betting. Those betting sites cover every MLB game of the season, have lots of markets for each game and offer dedicated in-play betting coverage.
What Makes a Good MLB Bookmaker?
While having the best MLB odds will undoubtedly be a big factor in attracting you to a sportsbook, there are other considerations that are almost as important:
If your online sportsbook doesn’t have MLB betting promos, then you are missing out. PointsBet is a good example of a sportsbook that does great promotions for MLB. These include an MLB Early Payout where your bet will pay out regardless of the final score if your team goes ahead by three or more runs.
MLB Enhanced Odds
Daily odds boosts are now expected by sports bettors, and MLB should be included in this. Essentially, this involves creating a special price above the standard market price. Of course, some bookmakers are a little more generous than others. FanDuel is a good option for MLB enhanced odds. It tends to focus on the biggest game of the day – for example, Red Sox vs Yankees – and boosts several betting lines within that game as well as adding a few special markets with boosted odds.
Betting Market Coverage
Most sportsbooks will cover the basic popular betting markets for an MLB game – moneyline, run line, totals – but the best MLB bookmakers will go well beyond this, with some offering 50+ betting markets on each game. Caesars Sports is a solid option in terms of depth of betting coverage. Each MLB game has at least 50 markets, and we especially like the range of props markets based on individual player performances.
Best MLB Sites for Live Betting
Baseball has always been a sport uniquely suited to in-play betting. As fans of the sport will be well aware, it’s a game of momentum, and in-play bettors can react and capitalize on signs of weakness from a pitcher, hot bats and weary bullpens. As such, you want an MLB sportsbook that offers a full live betting platform. This means having lots of different in-play markets for MLB, but also live score updates, game statistics, commentary and visuals. Live streaming of MLB games isn’t available through online sportsbooks in America yet, but sports streaming is something mooted for the future.
SugarHouse and 888sports are good options for bettors who enjoy wagering in-play, but our overall preference is for FanDuel, which has the complete package in terms of betting markets and the statistical updates. FanDuel has incorporated the visual features you would get with MLB Gameday, meaning you get to follow every pitch and play as it happens.
Types of MLB Sports Bets
As mentioned earlier, many MLB games will have 50+ betting lines. Because of the structure of the MLB season, during which teams play a minimum of 162 games, there isn’t always that type of big-game focus you would get with, for instance, NFL. That sometimes means you do not get the selection of novelty bets that you would associate with football. Instead, MLB is all about the statistical props bets such as highest scoring inning, total runs, total hits etc.
Some of the most popular MLB betting markets are discussed below:
Moneyline – a straight bet on who will win the game, including if the game goes into extra innings.
Run Line – the run line in MLB is the same as the spread in other sports. It’s a wager on a game where one team has a theoretical run advantage and the other has a disadvantage.
Run Totals – a wager on the combined score at the end of the game being over or under a specific total.
In addition, you will see these popular MLB futures betting markets
World Series Winner – a wager on a team going on to win the World Series.
CY Young Award – a wager on the winners of the CY Young Award – the award for best pitcher in the National League and American League.
All-Star Game – a wager on the winner of the annual All-Star Game. This one-off game, played in July, pits the best players from the National League and American League against each other.
Popular MLB Offers
Of America’s Big 4 sports – NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL – baseball is the only one that runs through the summer months. For that reason, bettors can pick up a lot of MLB betting promotions. We run through some of the most popular MLB betting offers below:
Money Back Specials – your stake returned – often as a free bet – if certain events occur during the game. For example, losing wagers could be refunded if a particular player hits a home run.
Parlay Insurance – your wager is refunded in the form of a free bet or bonus cash if one leg in a parlay bet is not successful. For example, if you bet on the Cardinals, Cubs, Twins and Orioles all to win in a parlay, you may receive your refund if one team loses.
Parlay Boost – an extra percentage boost added to your winning MLB parlay bets. Generally, the more legs you have in your parlay bet, the bigger the payout bonus. Resorts Sportsbook, for example, will add up to 60% boost on winning parlays.
Early Payout – a promotion that is meant to remove the disappointment of losing your bet after a late fight back by the opposing team. An early payout promotion will award your winnings if, for example, your selection takes a three-run lead in the MLB game.
MLB Betting Tips and Strategies
The first thing every MLB bettor does before placing a wager on a game is check the starting pitcher for that game. An ace pitcher will usually start one game out of every five, and they can make a huge difference to the team’s chances. Even a poor team can beat a great one if it has the right pitcher on the mound.
It’s also important to remember that the baseball season is not like other sports, and even the best teams will lose around 60 games in the regular season. Critics tend to suggest this means there is a certain amount of randomness to MLB betting, but there are many trends that we can use to predict the outcome of a game. The pitcher, of course, is important, but so is the quality, health and fatigue of the bullpen (the reserve pitchers). The batting line-up is also crucial, so if there are a couple of injuries affecting star players, you might be able to sniff out an upset and get some value in the odds.
Because there are so many games in the MLB season, there isn’t as much focus on each game as a singular event. For that reason, there isn’t a huge amount of betting advice for each game or series found online, certainly not anything comparable to NFL. You can get some decent statistical data through ESPN or MLB.com, and there are also some excellent betting blogs found on 888sport and PointsBet.
The MLB season runs from April through to the World Series – known as the Fall Classic – in late-October/early-November. 30 teams contest the regular season, 15 each in the American League and National League. Four teams from each league qualify for the MLB postseason, which culminates in the World Series – the National League (NLCS) winner vs the American League (ALCS) winner.
MLB is America’s oldest major sports league, with its history stretching all the way back to the 19th century. The most recent winner of the World Series was the Boston Red Sox, who have been the best team of the 21st century (four World Series wins). However, Boston trails its most bitter rival, the New York Yankees, who have the most World Series wins overall (27).
MLB teams face a long and arduous season but one that nevertheless builds in momentum as it approaches the postseason in the early fall. Betting excitement tends to grow alongside it, as games become more important leading up to the World Series. It’s important to choose the right sportsbook for your MLB betting, as it can mean better odds, promos and betting options. Above all, be sure to read our sportsbook reviews carefully before choosing your MLB sportsbook.