How to Bet on Baseball for Beginners

Excited Man Pointing to a Baseball Glove Filled With Money

Betting on America’s favorite pastime is one of the most challenging types of sports gambling. But it can also be the most gratifying and profitable if done correctly.

Unlike betting on other kinds of sports, betting on baseball can be challenging due to several variables that contribute to the unpredictability of the sport.

Placing smart wagers on baseball games requires diligence and copious amounts of research. While baseball provides more betting opportunities than other sports like football due to the more extended season, it also fluctuates daily.

If you’re new to gambling and want to dive into baseball, here are some tips to help you get started.

Understanding the Basics

When you log in to your sports betting site of choice, you’ll most likely notice a difference in the way baseball lines are listed. In baseball, bettors must place a wager on the moneyline for either the favorite or underdog.

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While other sports feature a spread of a specified amount, sportsbooks use run lines of -1.5 for the favorite and +1.5 for the underdog. Simply put, there is no variance in the spread when betting on baseball.

Each book places odds on the run line for both the favorite and the underdog, and it is up to the bettor to decide which side to bet on. At first, the thought of a spread that doesn’t move might seem strange if you’re new to gambling on baseball, especially if you’re used to betting on other sports. If you don’t feel comfortable betting on the spread, you can always bet on the moneyline and the over/under to get a feel for the process.

Betting on the Moneyline and Over/Under

Thankfully for new baseball bettors, placing a wager on the moneyline or over/under is just like any other sport. Many gamblers prefer to bet on either one of these instead of betting on the spread due to the familiarity. If you fall into this category at the outset of your time betting on baseball, don’t fret.

MLB Player After a Swing at Bat

New bettors who classify themselves as baseball fanatics may find the most comfort in betting the over/under. Much of the research you will do before placing a wager will give you an indication of the potential number of runs scored in your matchup. This information can be inferred from inspecting lineups and pitching matchups and trends, which we will discuss later.

The moneyline also adds appeal because it provides you the opportunity of heightened risk and profitability if you wager on a significant underdog. While it might go without saying, it’s worth mentioning that new bettors should be wary when betting on underdogs due to the bet’s high-risk-high-reward nature.

Researching Baseball Wagers

Betting on baseball can be challenging for new gamblers. Baseball is my favorite sport, so when I first got into sports gambling, I started with baseball.

Due to a lack of research and discipline, I lost most of my wagers in the first few weeks from making bad bets. Betting on baseball requires diligence daily if you’re serious about making money.

In the age of the internet, there are virtually no excuses for refusing to vet your bets correctly. Most of the major sports websites offer bettors a surplus of information about each potential matchup you’re planning to bet on. It’s up to you to take advantage of this information to place a smart and informed bet that could lead to a win.

When doing this initial research, you need to focus on a few specific things like pitching, lineups, weather, and trends. Some of these (like weather) are easier to understand than others (pitching trends), but I will break some of them down in the following points.

It All Comes Down to Pitching

Many pundits and handicappers will tell you that the pitching matchup is one of the most important aspects of handicapping baseball. While the quality of an appearance for a starting pitcher can vary from start to start, predicting a pitcher’s performance is not overly complicated compared to other factors contributing to the outcome.

MLB Nationals Pitcher Mid-Throw

The listed starting pitchers come into play for almost every type of bet in baseball. For example, if one team’s ace is on the mound against another team’s fifth starter, the odds of the ace winning on face value should be high. Obviously, the strength of each team’s lineups come into play when betting, but the pitching matchup provides a sort of barometer when deciding who you should bet on.

Starting pitchers also factor in when deciding to bet the over/under. If two teams each have their best pitcher on the mound, you might feel comfortable betting the under. But if the opposite is true, you could consider betting the over. Before anything else, pay attention to the pitching staff because it will provide you with a reliable indication of the types of bets that should be made.

Focusing on Trends

Under normal circumstances, the baseball season is a 162-game marathon. In 2020, though, the season is just 60 games long, so trends will be harder to pick up and track. Statistics play a crucial role in every type of sports betting, and luckily for baseball bettors, the sport might feature the most in-depth statistical analysis and sabermetrics.

When scouting a matchup, you can quickly discover how a pitcher has pitched recently or how a team’s lineup is faring. Additionally, you can look at how a certain player fares against a team or pitcher and other contributing factors.

This is a good starting point, but be mindful that baseball players are prone to start or break out of slumps at the drop of a hat.

The statistics you have access to are the same ones used by the oddsmakers at the sportsbooks you frequent, so take advantage of them. Not all baseball statistics are the same, and understanding which stats to focus on can be challenging. Which statistics you should focus on will be discussed in a later post due to the convoluted nature of sabermetrics and stats.

Wagering on Props and Parlays

Like other sports, bettors can put money on prop bets and parlays when betting on baseball online. Prop bets can range from wagering on the number of innings a particular pitcher will pitch or how many hits a batter will collect in a matchup. Oddsmakers will set the odds on each of these prop bets to entice gamblers.

Prop bets are undoubtedly fun to bet on and can combine a fan’s love of specific teams and players with the potential to make money. However, most prop bets are typically risky and should be avoided at the beginning of your gambling journey.

Two NCAA Baseball Players Celebrating

Parlays, or the combination of multiple bets, are one of the most exhilarating types of bets to place. Parlays can include a variety of bets, including wagers on the moneyline, over/under, and even props.

But to hit on a parlay, each bet must win, making it another high-risk-high-reward wager. Like betting on props, opt to avoid parlays until you feel more comfortable with your betting system.

Don’t Blow Your Bankroll

This tip is one of the most basic rules to follow, but it’s also overlooked by sports gamblers who are starting their betting careers. Budgeting your sports betting bankroll is vital to your success and enables you to gamble longer. Many new gamblers tend to blow their entire roll on one single bet, thinking it’s the fastest way to make money.

Don’t be that type of gambler.

I struggled with this when I first started betting and regret not starting out at gambling with a disciplined approach. By placing smaller bets and managing your bankroll, you could avoid financial distress and gain a feel for the types of bets that work for you.

With enough practice, you should improve. But you can’t continue to learn if you lose all your money on one wager. Before you begin betting on baseball online, set an amount you’re comfortable losing in a given week. And if you somehow blow through that money, call it a week and hit the reset button next time round.

Conclusion

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by this influx of information, don’t be. Gambling on baseball is incredibly fun, albeit challenging for beginners. However, once you get into a routine and establish a system that works for you, you’ll feel like a savvy sports bettor in no time at all.

By following the tips above, you will be ahead of the curve and prepared to start placing smart wagers. Remember to properly research each bet before you place it, and focus on the critical information while wading through the fluff.

Finally, be smart about your bankroll to make sure you can keep betting throughout the entire baseball season.