How to bet on baseball

“America’s greatest pastime” is what you always hear about baseball. Well, it’s about to get even better now that it’s (finally) becoming legal to make sports bets. America has caught up with the rest of the world, as far as sports betting is concerned, but how do you make a smart bet on baseball? Here is your quick introduction to how to bet on baseball.

Find information about reading American odds here.

Betting on baseball guide

Photo credit: Herkie on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-SA

Reading baseball odds

There are 3 different ways to represent betting odds, decimal, fractional, and the most popular way in the US, American odds. Baseball, being American’s favorite sports (or maybe that’s football), uses American odds. We’ll break them down for you here. Some American odds for a baseball game that you might see look like:

Phillies+180
Yankees-130

Positive odds are the winnings you’d get if you bet $100. Negative odds are what you need to bet get $100.

In our hypothetical odds example, if you put $100 down on the Phillies, your return would be $180 if they did indeed win. Alternatively, if you bet $130 on the Yankees, $100 is what you’d get if they win this particular matchup. The bookies think the Yankees will win against the Phillies, therefore, you’re getting less in return (in this odds example, anyway). Always remember that smart in betting aren’t always about going for the biggest odds difference, it’s about making smart, consistent, winning bets over time.

So, considering that point in the above example odds, the bookies have the Phillies slated to lose and so you’d stand to get a bigger payout if they win. However, only bet on the Phillies if you have good evidence that the bookies have gotten it wrong. Otherwise, take the ‘safer’ bet of betting on the Yankees.

Betting isn’t always about betting big and winning big; it’s just about winning. And sometimes that means the ‘safe’ bet is the best bet.

Baseball point spread betting

Pointspread bets in baseball are slightly more difficult to wrap your head around. We’re going to use our last example of the Phillies vs the Yankees. For point spread bets on baseball, you must factor the difference between the teams’ final scores. Let’s say that the Yankees have a point spread of -4 because they’re already predicted to win, at least that’s what the bookies think.

Phillies+180
Yankees-130-4

In this point spread wager, if you want to bet on the Yankees, they would need to beat the Phillies by more than 4 points for you to have a winning wager. Although, if you went with the Phillies in this scenario, you’ll win as long as the Phillies are within 4 points of the Yankees; the Phillies don’t even have to win, just be within the point spread. If the spread is exactly -4 with the Yankees winning, bets are usually considered null and you’ll get them back.

Point spreading in baseball adds a lot of complexity but if you’re smart, you can find great odds and huge payouts. For instance, perhaps a team is resting its best pitcher against a team with a lot of heavy hitters and you expect a big point difference. It would be good to shop around at various bookmakers to find the best odds on a baseball point spread bet.

Baseball over/under bets

One last popular type of baseball betting is called the over/under bet, it’s pretty straightforward. For over/under betting, you wager on the total points in a contest. It doesn’t matter who wins or loses.

Let’s say both teams in a contest have homerun hitters and pitchers that throw right down the pipe. From your research, you think both teams are looking sharp and that this will be a high scoring game. You can look for baseball odds that say this game will have at least 14 points when you consider the final score of both teams. If you make this bet, you’ll win if the final score is at least 14 points. If the homerun hitters have an off game and the score ends up being 14 or less, you’ll lose the wager.

It’s important to mention that different bookies might favor different types of odds. Before you sign up at an online sportsbook, do some research about which games they cover and the kinds of odds that are available. Don’t be hasty making a decision, you’re going to be putting your money there after all.

Bet on baseball at online sportsbooks

There are a variety of bettings options for baseball fans. The Supreme Court ruling that eliminated the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) changed the landscape of online sports betting across America. Read our State Overviews to check on the legality of sports wagering where you live. We’re updating that part of this website constantly as we get new information. Check back often.

MLB online betting

Baseball is going to be near the top of any American bookmaker’s odds, of course. And good odds for MLB games (especially during playoffs) are going to be attracting a lot of baseball fans to make bets. It’s pretty likely that every online bookie will have a spot for betting on the MLB.

The World Series is going to be a huge sports betting attraction too. Maybe you can place bets on who you think will win the World Series even before the playoffs start for truly great odds, but perhaps it’s better to play it smarter and at least wait for the tournament to start. You never know which start player might get an injury!

Bet on college baseball

Betting on college baseball will likely have a home at online sports betting sites too. However, once baseball betting is up and running, we expect college sports betting to be more localized. That means from whichever state you call home, you’ll probably be able to bet on your state college’s baseball team. Depending on the rules that your state adopts, the betting industry might be required to pay universities a fee of their betting revenue. You’d actually be able to spport (indirectly support, I should say) college baseball teams with sports bets.

Some bookies might even specialize in college sports betting. There are people that watch college sports almost exclusively and such a sports betting site would be ideal for them. Since online sports betting is rolling out at different paces in various states, we’ll update this “How to Bet on Baseball” guide when we get new information to share.

Fantasy Baseball online betting

In the Fantasy sports world, football is king. However, fantasy baseball still has its place. Services like DraftKings and FanDuel specialize in fantasy sports and have an excellent player management system. If you want to place real money fantasy sports bets on baseball, try out sites with a fantasy-focus.