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There’s a lot of joy in simply watching and enjoying a baseball game, or following your favorite team throughout the course of a 162-game season. There’s also a lot of joy in doing that while you have something on the line. That can include things like season-long fantasy baseball, daily fantasy baseball, and baseball betting. Two of those things have been around for a while and one is a little newer, so it’s important to learn the basics behind how to bet on baseball.
After all, you can’t just throw money on something particular — without knowing exactly what’s going on — and think it’ll all just work out once the final out is recorded. You need a foundation before you build the house when it comes to knowing how to bet on baseball. Before we get into the common baseball betting types, there are two things to keep in mind:
- Sports betting is legal in many places across the United States these days, but not everywhere. This color-coded map from DraftKings shows you where it’s currently legal and where it’s not.
- When you’re ready to make a deposit and place bets, get started with BetUS! When you sign up, you’re eligible for a 125% sign-up bonus (up to $2,500) when using the promo code JOIN125. Join today and put your newfound knowledge to the test.
How to Bet on Baseball: Common Betting Types
The term “moneyline” sounds fancy, but the meaning behind it is straightforward. Essentially, all you’re doing is placing a bet on who you think will win a specific matchup. The thing to keep in mind here is which team is favored to win and which squad is expected to be the underdog because it’ll impact potential winnings.
Here’s an example — in a matchup between the San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies, the Giants are a -165 favorite and the Rockies are +145 underdogs. If you place money on San Francisco to win, you’d have to bet $165 to win $100. If you go against the grain and pick Colorado, you’d only need to throw down $100 to win $145.
Let’s say this Giants-Rockies game is happening at the hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field. Do you think there’s going to be a good ol’ fashioned slugfest in the Mile High City? You can place a wager on it by betting on the total. This is a bet based on the total number of runs scored in a baseball game. You’ll hear this referred to as the over/under, as well.
If that number is set at 10 and you bet the over, San Francisco and Colorado must combine for at least 11 runs for you to win. If you bet the under, no more than nine runs can be scored between both teams.
Once again, “run lines” sounds like a complicated term, but it’s referring to the point spread of any particular game. Let’s keep the hypothetical Giants-Rockies matchup as our example. If San Francisco has +140 odds at +1.5 runs and Colorado has -110 odds at -1.5 runs, you’d need to cough up $110 on Colorado to win $100 if they win their matchup by more than 1.5 runs.
Why bet on just one outcome when you can string multiple outcomes together, right? That’s exactly what a parlay is — an opportunity for bettors to throw money down on more than one scenario. The key to parlays, though, is that each of the outcomes you bet on must come true in order to hit. So, if you bet on the Giants, Mets, and Mariners to all win on a certain night, you won’t win your parlay unless all three of them do.
Parlays have gotten more creative, as well. Do you think Pete Alonso, Mike Trout, and Yordan Alvarez will all hit home runs on Saturday? Well, you can place a parlay bet to see if your spidey senses are indeed tingling.
We mentioned something like this when discussing parlays, but let’s talk about it in more detail. Prop bets allow bettors to make wagers on certain things that can transpire during a game, whether it has something to do with the game itself, or a certain player’s performance.
Will the Giants win by one, two, or three runs? Who will score five runs first? How many home runs will be hit tonight? How many strikeouts will get registered? It can also drill down to specific players. Will Jacob deGrom strike out 10 hitters tonight? Will Vladimir Guerrero Jr. go deep? These are all things you can place a bet on within a game…while you’re waiting to see if you hit on the over/under, moneyline, or run line.
We’ve been talking about in-game/live betting, so how exactly is this different? Odds can shift throughout a game as it transpires. Do you remember when the Mets made a historic comeback against the Phillies on May 5th, 2022 by scoring seven runs in the ninth inning?
If you still had faith the Mets would pull out a victory in the end and placed a bet on it when they were down 7-1, you would’ve ended the night a very happy camper.
We’re technically always placing bets on something that’ll happen in the future, but the purpose of a Futures bet goes a little further out than what will happen that night or the following week. A popular baseball Futures bet that comes out each year is World Series odds, which come out way too early in the offseason on purpose. As things change — teams make acquisitions, injuries take place, and players/teams over- or under-perform — the odds change.
At the time of this writing, the New York Mets have +800 odds of winning the 2022 World Series. If you were to place a $100 bet down on that happening come October, you’d walk away with $800.
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