It’s sometimes hard not to fall asleep watching a baseball game at home while sinking into the cushions of a comfy couch.
But what if you wanted to spice up your baseball experience.
You could head down to your local sportsbook to make a prop bet. Or you can use an online sportsbook to place a moneyline bet on the Yankees to give the Red Sox a good ol’ beatdown.
Placing a baseball wager is a great way to add excitement to watching a baseball game, especially in June when your favorite team might be long out of the race or your team is trapped in the midst of the dog days of summer.
Or perhaps you’re watching the world series but don’t really have a dog in the fight? You may enjoy placing a moneyline bet, so you can cheer for whoever plays against the Cardinals. Who wouldn’t want to see the Cards humiliated on sports biggest stage?
Over-under bets are another great bet to get your juices flowing. If you know a big ace is pitching for a mediocre team, like Corey Kluber pitching for the Rangers, you might get a good bet in by taking the under and hoping the ace can lead his team to a victory.
If you’ve never made a baseball bet before, or if you’re not really sure of the difference between a moneyline bet and an over/under, here are some explanations that might help.
Prop Yourself up With Prop Bets
If you just want to look at one specific part of a ballgame, or if you want to have a good laugh, you can try out a prop bet for size.
Prop bets are specialty bets based on an event that can happen in a baseball game. There’s a ludicrous amount of possibilities in every game, from triple plays to catcher’s interference to a 6-5-4-2-3-1 double play rundown, and prop bets run the gamut of options.
Sportsbooks will offer prop bets like these:
Total Hits+Runs+RBIs by Khris Davis (OAK):
- Over 2.5 Hits+Runs+RBIs (+110)
- Under 2.5 Hits+Runs+RBIs (-125)
They offer these bets based on their own subjective analysis of how likely Khris Davis is to have a big night at the dish.
Prop bets are great because you can make a bet on any specific player you may like. If you’re pulling for Khris Davis, or maybe if you want to see the opposing pitcher get crushed, you’ll have a lot more fun watching every second of Davis’ at-bats.
Davis had a down year last year on his way to a .220 batting average. He hit only 23 dingers after hitting 40 or more in the 3 seasons before 2019. Even though he had a down year last year, he’s still a power threat playing on a competitive Oakland team.
While season totals are important, they don’t help as much for individual game prop bets. The baseball season is long at 162 games and even the best hitters will go 0 for 4 at the plate on certain nights.
It’s really hard to predict a single game outcome so prop bets should mostly be made for fun or if you have a really good feeling about a particular player. Be careful with your bankroll and save it for other bet types or just bet small amounts on prop bets to enhance your watching experience.
Look Ahead With Futures Wagers
Even with all the uncertainty that baseball presents over the course of one game, let alone a whole season, futures wagers are available year-round and let you try peering into the crystal ball of the baseball season.
Futures odds are continually given on online sportsbooks and can be made about almost any event in a baseball season.
An example futures bet you can make is which player will hit the first home run of the 2020 season.
The odds for 3 players are given below:
- Mike Trout – +800
- Pete Alonso – +850
- Joey Gallo – +1000
While some may expect Trout to have the best odds to hit the first home run, there are other factors at play than just being the best in the game, which he is.
While Mike Trout is a phenomenal player, the face of baseball, and has already cemented a Hall of Fame case before turning 30, he’s not the most prolific home run hitter in the game.
That’s not to say he’s not a great power hitter. He is. But Trout is more of a complete package than just a pure power hitter as he plays a competent defensive center field, has a career 0.419 OBP, and has stolen 30 bases or more in three separate seasons.
Many players throughout the league knock out home runs at a higher rate and you’d be surprised at who may be expected to hit a home run before him in the regular season.
Pete Alonso had a 13.1 PA/HR in his fantastic 2019 rookie season where he took the league by storm and earned the nickname, “Polar Bear” for his efforts.
Alonso wasn’t the only player to beat Trout on a stat basis as Christian Yellich had 13.2 PA/HR in his fantastic 2019 season that was tragically cut short by a foul ball to the knee.
Both players barely edged out Trout, as Trout had a PA/HR rate of 13.3, just behind the two. Miguel Sano however, had the best rate of the 4 players of 12.9 PA/HR. Miguel Sano may not be quite the overall player that Trout is, but he definitely hits home runs at a furious clip.
Considering the wager is only who will hit the first home run of the 2019 season, and not who’s the most complete player, Sano is the better bet here. He hits home runs on a more consistent basis than Trout, and although it’s a long shot, either way, Sano has a better PA/HR rate.
This is a bet that’s fun to make, but it’s not one I would bet a big chunk of my bankroll on due to how many players could easily hit the first home run out of nowhere.
Cash in With Moneyline Bets
Ok, so next let’s talk about moneyline bets. They’re the most obvious bet you can make and probably the one every layman thinks of first when they think of sports betting. Moneyline bets are just bets on who you think is gonna win.
There’s a little more nuance to it though, as books will sometimes favor one team over the other.
Some moneyline bets have equal juice on both sides and give the same payout if either team wins. It’s usually because the teams are pretty evenly matched.
Even juice for both sides happens more often than not in baseball. With odds being more or less even, you just need to bet on the team you think will win without worrying about odds. Evaluate the pitchers’ tendencies for each team and their fly ball rates.
Some popular teams like the Red Sox or Yankees will have high juice pretty often because the Yankees always get lots of bets placed on them at the books.
When odds start approaching +200 or +300 for a team like the Yankees or Red Sox, it’s hardly worth it to bet on them at all. You’ll only get a $100 payout if you put down $300 and it’s not accurate to say the Yankees are that much of a mortal lock to win any game.
Make a Beeline to Runline Wagers
Run lines are a great way to get a little more out of betting on a prohibitive favorite like the Yankees.
Run lines will let you even the odds on a heavy favorite by changing the bet’s terms. Instead of simply wagering on them to win, now you’ll bet that the Yankees will win by 2 runs. The run line will be set at 1.5, and if the Yankees lose or only win by one run, you’ll still lose the bet.
If you’re frustrated because you want to bet on the Yankees but the books have them as such heavy favorites that it’s not worth it to you, making a run line bet instead is a way to get more money back.
What kind of wagers do you make when betting on baseball? Let us know in the comments.