Baseball Betting Guide

Beginners Guide to Baseball Betting

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With a large following in North America, South America and Eastern Asia, baseball is one of the world's most popular sports among bettors. In addition to its worldwide coverage, baseball betting also derives popularity from the fact that it's one of the more beatable wagers. Major League Baseball's parity from first to worst gives underdogs a more favorable chance to win, which allows bettors to get some excellent value.

Of course, becoming profitable with baseball wagering takes some work and it all starts with understanding the basics. And the better grasp you have on the fundamentals, the more chances you'll have at winning money. This being said, let's cover signing up at an online sportsbook, common wagering lines, and baseball betting strategy.

Finding and signing up at an Online Sportsbook

Assuming you're looking to do your baseball wagering online, the first step to placing bets is finding a good sportsbook. There are plenty of quality options available, but you should do some research and read reviews to discover the reputable sites.

When you find a prospective site, take time to look at the baseball lines they're offering. Pretty much all online sportsbooks will offer the basic lines; but it's also nice to have some prop bets and other options. Also be sure to check out the promotions because these are your ticket to earning bonus cash outside of bets.

Upon deciding on a sportsbook, you need to fill out an account and make a deposit. With the account, you merely need to enter your name, address, account username, password and phone number. When making a deposit, you'll have a variety of different banking options, which will possibly include Visa, Master Card, DirectCash, Quick Cash, NETeller and Moneybookers. Keep in mind that the banking methods can vary greatly, depending upon where you sign up.

Reading Betting Lines

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Once you're prepared to begin making wagers, you may run into a little confusion regarding betting lines - especially if you're totally new to sports wagering. But most people should develop a pretty good understanding of how lines work after reviewing the most common ones.

Many sportsbooks around the world deal with the moneyline, which attaches odds to the favorite and underdog. Both teams involved merely need to win the game, though bettors stand to win different amounts based on the team they choose. Here's a moneyline example:

L.A. Dodgers  -120
Arizona Diamondbacks  +110

The Dodgers are the favorites here because people must wager $120 to win $100 in profit. As for the underdog Diamondbacks, a successful $100 bet would result in a $110 profit. Moneylines always deal with numbers of 100 or more because it simplifies things for bettors. Of course, you could just as easily say that a winning $10 bet on Arizona would result in an $11 profit.

The Run Line

Sometimes you'll see the moneyline used along with a run line. The run line is basically a point spread that teams have to cover before the moneyline takes effect. In most cases, the run line is set at 1.5 runs, although 2.5 runs are also used when there's a big mismatch. Here you can see what a moneyline looks like:

L.A. Dodgers  -1.5  +120
Arizona Diamondbacks  +1.5  -125

Now the Dodgers must win by 2 runs or more for a wager on them to be successful. However, it's also worth mentioning that bettors are now wagering $100 to earn a $120 profit. The underdog Diamondbacks need to lose by one run or win the game for a winning bet. Because Arizona is being spotted 1.5 runs, bettors now have to wager $125 to win $100.

Decimal Odds

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Many European, Canadian and Australian sportsbooks use decimal odds instead of the moneyline. With decimal odds, an even money bet starts at 2.0, and odds shift from here. You can see how this works below:

Cleveland Indians  2.20
Detroit Tigers 1.85

The Tigers are the favorites here and bettors would be wagering $1 to win $0.85 in profit ($1.85 total). A bet on the underdog Indians would see people wagering $1 to earn $1.20 in profit ($2.20 total).

Fractional Odds

British sportsbooks often deal in fractional odds, which, as the name implies, involve fractions. The first number in a line with fractional odds is how much players stand to win, while the second number is the amount bettors have to wager. You can take a look at an example below:

Texas Rangers  9/8
L.A. Angels  5/6

With the Rangers, you'd be betting $8 to win $9 in profit. As for the underdog Angels, you'd be wagering $6 to earn a $5 profit.

Baseball Betting Strategy

The world of baseball betting strategy is pretty extensive and takes a while to truly master. However, there are some basic, general tips that will help new bettors get off to a quick start. That said, here's a look at some of this strategy.

Tip #1 - Develop a Bankroll Management Plan First

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Before placing a single bet online, it's definitely a good idea to develop a solid bankroll management plan. First off, you need to decide how much money you can comfortably afford to bet on baseball. This amount will vary from person to person, but for our purposes, let's say that you have $400 to work with.

From here you'd divide your bankroll into units. Many people like to only wager 1-2% of their bankroll on any single game. Using this model, you could divide your bankroll into 80 units of $5 each. Then you could bet between $5 and $10 per game, depending upon how much research you've put into each one.

Tip #2 - Research what the Public won't

As many bettors know, oddsmakers create lines based on public perception and what will balance action on both sides of the line - not based on whom they think will win a game. So it's your job to go above and beyond what the public is willing to research to gain an advantage.

In other words, go beyond basic stats like team batting average, starting pitching ERA's and team fielding percentage. Some of the other stats you need to focus on include key hitter vs. pitcher matchups, team performances in day vs. night and field vs. turf situations, pitchers' WHIP, key bullpen pitchers, and team vs. team histories.

Tip #3 - Look for Favorable Underdog Situations

One of the most common pieces of baseball betting advice is to wager on underdogs. The reasoning is league parity since there's normally only a 40-game gap from the best to worst MLB team. Sure this is still a pretty big difference, but not when comparing win percentages to other major sports.

A quick and obvious way to find decent underdogs includes looking for situations where a staff ace is pitching for a dog. Also look for underdogs that are coming off shutout losses because they're likely to bounce back from such a terrible performance. Finally, you can bet against heavy favorites with a moenyline of -150 or higher due to the value that you'll be getting from the big underdog.

Above anything, remember that becoming a successful bettor isn't something that happens overnight. The most profitable bettors spend hours every week studying matchups and strategy. But the hard work is definitely worth the effort when you're able to earn big profits through MLB betting!