Baseball is regarded as one of the most popular sports betting markets. Since there are thousands of matches to bet on during the season, it’s a great opportunity to make money.
If you’re interested in learning about how to bet on baseball, you’ve come to the right place.
Keep reading for the complete guide to baseball betting.
How To Bet On Baseball
First of all, you need to learn how the sport is played.
Standard baseball matches have two teams of 9 players competing against each other. The teams are split between offense and defense:
- The offensive team bats
- The defensive team fields
Each team bats and fields for nine innings, of which there are three ‘outs’ per team.
During each inning, the teams compete to score the most runs.
A run is scored when a hitter successfully makes it around the four bases.
Basic Baseball Betting
There are three types of betting on baseball:
- Money Line Betting
- Run Line Betting
- Total Betting
Money Line Baseball Betting
Money Line baseball betting is picking the winner of a match in regular time. If the match is tied at the end of regular time, you lose the bet.
It pays particular attention to the offense and defense.
In terms of offense, ie the hitters, you should investigate the batting line up. There are several statistics that help determine if a team has a good offense, mainly through:
PA – Plate Appearances
This is the number of completed batting appearances.
AB – At Bat
A hitter is credited with an ‘at bat’ only if that plate appearance does not receive any of the following:
- Receiving a base on balls (BB)
- Being hit by a pitch (HBP).
- Hitting a sacrifice fly or a sacrifice bunt (also known as sacrifice hit).
- Awarded first base due to interference or obstruction, usually by the catcher.
- Replaced by another hitter before his at bat is completed, in which case the plate appearance and any related statistics go to the pinch hitter.
wOBA – weighted On-Base Average
This measure a player’s overall offensive contributions per plate appearance.
OBP – On-Base Percentage
This is the number of hits plus base on balls plus hit by pitch, divided by, the number of at bats plus walks plus hit by pitch plus sacrifice flies, ie
BA – Batting Average
This is the number of hits divided by at bat, ie
ISO – Isolated Power
This is the hitter’s ability to hit for extra bases, calculated by subtracting their batting average from their slugging percentage.
In terms of defense, you need to be aware of any changes to the starting pitcher.
Like the offense, there are certain stats to be aware of such as:
IP – Innings Pitched
This is the number of outs a team gets, while a pitcher is pitching, divided by 3.
WHIP – Walks Plus Hits per Innings Pitched
This is the average number of walks and hits allowed by the pitcher per inning.
ER – Earned Runs
This is the number of runs that did not occur because of errors or passed balls.
ERA – Earned Run Average
This is the total number of earned runs multiplied by 9, divided by innings pitched, ie
WAR – Wins Above Replacement
This is the number of additional wins his team has achieved above the number of expected team wins if that player were substituted with a replacement-level player.
Run Line Baseball Betting
If you decide to bet on the Run Line, you are going to need more advanced knowledge of baseball. But with this comes the potential for higher value.
Run Line baseball betting is the MLB equivalent of NFL 1.5 point spread betting. It is a handicap that that either the home team or away team must cover for a bet to win.
The Run Line betting strategy assess if there is any value from making a bet. This is decided by converting the Run Line odds into a percentage chance of winning.
The formula for this is as follows:
Percentage Chance of Winning = (Risk/Return) * 100
However, this formula has a slight catch: it includes the bookmaker’s margin.
To see if there is value, we need a formula that removes this margin. Let’s run through an example to calculate it.
Here is a screenshot of the latest odds:
Let’s go with Red Sox @ Astros and focus on as if we were betting on Boston to win on the Run Line.
First, subtract the odds from one another and dividing this number by the number of potential outcomes. In this case, it’s either win or lose, so:
(-180-160) / 2 = -340/2 = -170
We now apply the this to the previous percentage chance of winning formula to suggest how likely it is that Boston on the Run Line will win:
Percentage Chance of Winning = (170/270) * 100 = 63%.
Fair Probability Percentage
The ‘Fair Probability Percentage‘ is another way to see if there is value in a bet. To calculate this, we need the implied probability of all outcomes:
Implied Probability = (1/Decimal Odds) * 100%
So, for Boston, the implied probability of the winning on the Run Line is:
Implied Probability = (1/1.55) * 100% = 64.52%
We now must calculate the implied probability of all outcomes to get the required margin:
63% +64.52% = 127.52% = 27.52% Margin
We can now calculate the Fair Probability Percentage:
Fair Probability Percentage = Implied Probability * (100 – Margin)
So, the Fair Probability Percentage for the Boston Red Sox to win on the Run Line is:
64.52% * (100 – 27.52%) = 64.34%
Totals Baseball Betting
Totals baseball betting refers to betting on the total number of runs scored in a game. The bookmakers will set a line and you bet on if there will be over or under this number.
Both teams have 27 outs to score as many runs as possible.
The statistics we mentioned earlier when betting on the Money Line in baseball are also useful for Totals betting.
Other Baseball Betting Factors
Since baseball is an outdoor sport, it is subject to the weather. The result of a match may be determined by the day’s conditions.
For starters, when there is high humidity, the air is lighter, enabling the pitcher to throw the ball faster and further. On the other hand, in low humidity, the air is denser, making it more difficult for the ball to travel.
Wind speed can also be a factor for more obvious reasons. The stronger the wind, the more the ball’s direction is affected. For example, wind that favours the direction of the hitters will make the ball go further.
The size of the stadium can be a deciding factor when betting on baseball matches. Larger stadiums will have larger fields, meaning a greater surface area for the pitching team to cover but less chance of conceding a home run.
There is also the home-field advantage to consider. It’s well known that sports teams perform better at home.
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