Beginners Guide to MLB Betting (Baseball Betting)

In recent years, baseball betting has surged in popularity among American sports fans. With a multitude of games to watch and a wealth of betting markets available, it’s a trend that shows no signs of slowing down.

Curious about baseball betting but haven’t tried it before? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. OddsHome is here to help you prepare for this season and beyond with our comprehensive beginner’s guide to baseball betting. From the MLB rulebook to valuable tips and pointers, we’ve got it all covered. After a quick read, you’ll be ready to tackle every betting slip with confidence. Good luck!

Understanding the Rules

Before we dive into the exciting world of baseball betting odds and tips, let’s start by refreshing our knowledge of the rules. Even if you’re a daily viewer of baseball games, revisiting the rulebook from time to time is a smart move. Why, you might ask? Well, while the official MLB rules may be common knowledge, understanding how specific situations are worded can enhance your ability to quickly and accurately assess what’s happening on the field.

So, as an opening act for this guide to baseball betting, let’s take a swift look at the fundamental rules of the sport. Think of it as the sturdy foundation upon which we’ll later build discussions about MLB betting sites, baseball betting picks, and more. Let’s explore what makes America’s favorite pastime so captivating.

History and Positions

Since the late 1800s, the fundamental rules of baseball have remained remarkably consistent. It’s essentially a showdown between two teams, each fielding nine players at any given time. These teams engage in two distinct aspects of the game: offense, which includes batting and baserunning, and defense, encompassing pitching and fielding. Throughout the game, the teams alternate between these roles. Unlike in the NFL, where players have specialized positions, each of the nine baseball players has a unique role on the field.

To grasp these roles better, let’s categorize them into three groups:

  • The Outfield: This group includes the left fielder, center fielder, and right fielder. While these positions primarily focus on defense, they also have offensive responsibilities. Outfielders need speed and endurance as they often have to cover substantial ground to prevent balls from getting past them.
  • The Infield: Here, you have the first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, and shortstop. Their roles vary, with the first three covering their respective bases, and the shortstop defending the area between second and third base. In particular, the shortstop position demands versatility and a broad set of defensive responsibilities.
  • The Battery: Comprising the catcher and pitcher, the battery is crucial in every game. The catcher stands behind the batter and in front of the umpire, wielding a large leather glove to catch the ball, aiming for strikes for the team. On the other hand, pitching is one of the most demanding roles in MLB. Pitchers often need to throw up to 170 pitches in a single game, necessitating regular rotation and ample rest.

Innings and Hits

Let’s dive into the dynamics of baseball. In a typical game, such as when the Boston Red Sox face off against the New York Yankees, there’s a constant exchange of roles. This interchange marks an inning, essentially comprising one turn each for offense and defense. A baseball game spans nine innings, and the team amassing the most points emerges victorious. If the game remains tied after the ninth inning, additional innings are played until a winner is determined. An inning concludes when the fielding team, the one currently on offense, records three outs among the batters or base runners.

In the MLB, the away team enjoys the privilege of batting first. This seemingly minor detail holds significant weight in baseball betting. Some teams exhibit a distinct advantage when either batting or fielding, making the home-away matchup a crucial consideration. It’s a prime example of why, in the realm of baseball betting, comprehending the rules proves more influential than mere tips and predictions. Context holds the key, and the MLB rulebook offers the essential backdrop for informed wagers.

Baseball unfolds on a distinct diamond-shaped field divided into two key sections: the infield and the outfield. The infield encompasses the area enclosed by the three bases and the home plate, while everything beyond forms the outfield. Nestled within the infield, you’ll find a raised mound featuring a rubber plate. When it comes to pitching, this rubber plate serves as the launching point, providing the pitcher with the necessary propulsion.

For the attacking team, the objective in each turn is to tally a run. In the realm of baseball betting, runs are essentially the currency you’ll be monitoring as you follow the game. A run is registered when a player successfully navigates through first, second, and third base, culminating in a return to home base. All of this must occur before three outs are recorded in the inning, and without any rule violations committed by the runner.

What Do You Need to Play Baseball?

Baseball stands out not just for its unique field but also for its specialized equipment. Players rely on five distinct ‘tools’ that are essential to the game, serving either to facilitate play or as fundamental components:

  • The baseball – This essential component is a rubber sphere covered in white cowhide, meticulously stitched with robust red thread. With a circumference of 9 inches, its primary purpose is to be pitched by the pitchers and struck by the batters.
  • The helmet – Despite the baseball’s small size, it carries a significant weight relative to its dimensions, posing a risk of serious injury. Hence, baseball players don visor-less helmets to shield themselves from potential head trauma.
  • The bat – Crafted from a single piece of wood, a baseball bat features a handle with a knob and widens into a sturdier section. Players wield this instrument to make contact with the ball delivered by the pitcher.
  • Cleats – Recognizing the unstable nature of baseball playing surfaces, typically grass and dirt, all players wear specialized footwear equipped with cleats. These shoes sport unique spikes on the soles to ensure stability and traction.
  • The glove/mitt – To skillfully catch and secure the ball, players employ a padded leather glove. This glove can be tailored to suit each player’s preferences, optimizing their performance on the field.

Basic Terms

While baseball betting can be exhilarating, its excitement is closely tied to a wealth of unique terminology. In fact, a significant portion of baseball’s charm resides in its extensive glossary. Let’s delve into some fundamental terms that we haven’t covered in the previous section:

  • Out – When a batter or baserunner fails to score a run, they are deemed “out” by the umpire. Teams aim to avoid accumulating more than three outs during their turn at bat. Exceeding this limit leads to conceding the turn to the opposing team.
  • Double play – A defensive maneuver executed by the defending team resulting in two outs during a single play.
  • Grounder – A ball that is hit along the ground, typically requiring skillful maneuvering by a player to catch it. It is also referred to as a ground ball.
  • Power hitter – Certain players are renowned for their exceptional batting prowess, often resulting in home runs for their team. Notable examples of this player archetype include Bryce Harper, Giancarlo Stanton, and Justin Upton, among others.
  • Strike zone – The region directly above home plate where the umpire calls strikes. A pitcher must deliver pitches over home plate and within the area between the batter’s knees and belt.
  • Fly ball – A ball hit high into the air, typically out of the reach of any fielding player.
  • Count – A batter’s performance is assessed through the “count,” which combines two elements: balls and strikes. A “ball” is awarded when a batter doesn’t swing at a pitch, while a “strike” is registered when a pitch is missed. For example, a batter with a count of 4/1 has received four balls and one strike.

Baseball betting encompasses numerous expressions, and some may appear obscure even to seasoned enthusiasts. Given the extensive lexicon, we can’t possibly list them all here — there are hundreds! But fret not, as the MLB glossary is at your disposal. Before venturing into baseball betting markets, consider consulting it to bolster your understanding. Now, let’s dive into the exciting details.

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Distinguishing between good bettors and the truly exceptional ones isn’t tied to a single factor; it’s a blend of various elements. Many of these factors fall within your sphere of control, encompassing aspects such as knowledge, budget management, preparation, decision-making, and more. Yet, amid this realm of influence, there’s one crucial component in the baseball betting landscape that’s beyond your command – the environment.

In this context, the environment refers to the betting platform you choose. How can you discern the optimal place to lay your bets? At OddsHome, we believe in giving everyone the opportunity for a spectacular beginning. Hence, we’ve curated a comprehensive list of the premier bookmakers for baseball betting. These reputable platforms cater to US players, proffer a plethora of markets, and offer enticing odds.

However, you also deserve the tools to unearth the finest baseball wagers. Fortunately, this endeavor isn’t as convoluted as it may seem. Simply keep an eye out for these key factors, and you’re on the right track:

  • Licensing: Whether it’s a US state or a foreign regulatory body, all baseball betting sites must hold a valid license. This ensures that the bookmaker operates within specified rules and regulations, minimizing the risk of fraud or malpractice.
  • Market Variety: To enjoy the utmost freedom in your betting endeavors, seek a bookmaker willing to go beyond the basics of money line bets. Access to exotic bets, props, and inning-specific wagers can be invaluable, especially during live betting sessions.
  • Bonuses: Irrespective of your expertise in baseball betting, maximizing value is essential. Bonuses provide this value. Opt for sites with fair terms and substantial bonus offers, allowing you to test the waters without risking your own capital. Always read and understand the terms and conditions.
  • Customer Support: Even the most seasoned bettors encounter challenges from time to time. Hence, it’s crucial to engage with baseball betting sites that offer effective customer support. Access to 24/7 assistance and live chat can make a world of difference in resolving issues promptly.
  • Additional Tools: Why settle for just a multitude of bets and a decent bonus? Exceptional bookmakers now provide an array of supplementary tools such as action trackers, live statistics, live streaming, and more. These tools enhance your overall betting experience, contributing to your comfort and satisfaction.

Which Are the Most Popular Leagues?

If you’re considering online baseball betting, you’ll be pleased to discover that there’s more to explore beyond just the MLB markets. While betting on the World Series is undeniably thrilling, it’s worth diversifying your options.

Starting from late March or early April and extending through early October, the MLB takes center stage. This period witnesses a surge of activity on US-based baseball betting sites, often accompanied by MLB-specific promotions and enticing bundles. Consider focusing on a handful of teams for closer analysis, and don’t overlook the value of baseball betting tips.

But what about other baseball leagues worth exploring for betting purposes? One that immediately comes to mind is the Mexican Baseball League (LMB), a venerable competition that has graced the baseball landscape since 1926. A team worth keeping a vigilant eye on is the Diablos Rojos del Mexico. The MLB enjoys popularity for its accessibility and relatively balanced gameplay.

Mirroring the structure of the MLB, the Nippon Professional Baseball League (NPB) stands as Japan’s premier baseball offering, comprising two leagues. Over a 146-day season, 12 teams vie for championship glory.

Another intriguing option lies in the Korean KBO League, featuring a roster of 10 teams. Although relatively young, having been founded in 1982, it doesn’t lack excitement. Several outstanding players have made their mark in the MLB after honing their skills in this league, but none can rival the illustrious career of Chan Ho Park, who spent a stellar 16 years in the MLB.

For those seeking even more alternatives, consider exploring the baseball leagues in Venezuela, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic, each offering a unique and captivating dimension to the sport, complete with their own tapestry of talent and allure.

MLB Betting – What Should You Know?

Now that you’ve got the fundamentals under your belt — the rules, betting sites, and the landscape of baseball betting markets across various leagues — let’s shift our focus to what truly makes a difference in successful and consistent betting: preparation.

To place bets effectively, you must know what to look for, and that’s where preparation becomes paramount. It can be the defining factor between a confident win and an ill-advised gamble.

So, what’s essential knowledge before diving into MLB game betting (and other leagues, too)? After months of scrutinizing baseball markets, we’ve pinpointed these MLB-specific factors as crucial to your success. Master them, and you significantly boost your winning potential:

Understanding Divisions and Leagues

To gain a deep comprehension of how the MLB operates, you need to grasp its league system. The MLB comprises two leagues: the American League and the National League. Each of these leagues is further divided into three divisions — East, West, and Central. With 15 teams in each conference, every division houses five of them.

These divisions and leagues wield a significant influence on markets, primarily through scheduling. Intra-division rivalries frequently offer the most favorable baseball betting odds, providing you with a solid opportunity to score big.

MLB Games Schedule

Each MLB team embarks on a rigorous schedule of 162 games, spanning six months. That’s a grand total of 2,430 games throughout the regular season. Consequently, during this period, it’s imperative that your baseball betting efforts are laser-focused on the MLB.

What sets MLB scheduling apart is its unique series format. Given the sheer volume of games in a season, teams engage in series matchups. With 162 games to navigate, it’s a practical approach, often leading to teams clashing 2-4 times consecutively in the same ballpark. As of 2021, teams participate in 52 series, encompassing 27 weekend series and 25 mid-week ones. A majority of these series involve divisional opponents (24), while 20 are contested against teams within the same league, and 8 feature teams from the opposing league.

MLB Playoff Games

The MLB postseason is a tournament that follows the MLB regular season, with the ultimate goal of crowning the World Series champion. Each year, 10 teams earn the privilege of competing in the playoffs, with five teams from each league vying for the title. The six division winners secure automatic postseason berths, leaving four spots to be claimed by the two best-performing non-division winners in each league.

The postseason kicks off with the Wild Card Game, consisting of one matchup in the American League and another in the National League. The team boasting the superior regular-season record enjoys home-field advantage. The winners of these games progress to the Division Series, where they face the league’s top seed.

In terms of seeding, matchups typically follow the format of 1st vs. Wild Card, 2nd vs. 3rd, and 4th vs. 5th. Following the Division Series (a best-of-five affair), victorious teams move on to the League Championship Series (a best-of-seven showdown). Once both the American and National Leagues crown their respective champions, the two triumphant teams collide in the World Series, the pinnacle of baseball excitement each year!

Short History and Facts

The National League, established in 1876, predates its younger counterpart, the American League, which kicked off its games in 1901. However, the modern MLB as we know it today emerged in 1920 when the Commissioner of Baseball assumed authority over all aspects of cooperation between the AL and the NL.

Between 1901 and 1960, each league consisted of only 8 teams. But a significant expansion took place in the 1960s, introducing 4 new teams to each league. In the 1970s, the Mariners and the Blue Jays joined, bringing the total to 26 teams, with 13 in both the AL and NL. In 1993, the Marlins and the Rockies entered the scene, followed by the Diamondbacks and the Devil Rays in 1998.

The uneven number of teams in each league paved the way for inter-league play during the regular season, a historic development in 2000. Although the NL and AL still retain their names for tradition’s sake, they essentially function as conferences, akin to those in the NBA, albeit with a bit more autonomy.

Final Thoughts

Baseball betting is a burgeoning niche, and you’ve picked a great time to get started. Remember to thoroughly understand the rules and stay updated with the latest news. Subscribe to reputable online sports publications and consistently seek out the best baseball betting opportunities. And, of course, practice wise budgeting. Best of luck, and enjoy the journey!


What is a winning baseball betting strategy?

There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy in baseball betting. Your approach should align with your goals. However, it’s crucial to stick to your budget and focus on markets you understand before placing bets.

How to bet on baseball?

To begin betting on baseball online, find a reputable sportsbook like the ones listed in OddsHome’s top bookmakers for baseball betting. Create an account, deposit funds, explore available games, and start planning your bets. This is a simplified overview, but our guide can help you navigate the process.

Is baseball betting legal?

Yes, baseball betting is federally legal since the repeal of PASPA in 2018. However, state laws may vary, so check with your local gambling regulator to understand your state’s stance on MLB bets.

Should I bet on my favorite team?

A general rule is to avoid betting on your favorite team. Emotional bias can cloud judgment. Base your decisions on logic and statistics. While your favorite team can be part of your bets, treat them like any other neutral participant.

Is baseball betting difficult?

In reality, baseball betting is straightforward. The sport relies heavily on statistics, making most outcomes explainable through data. It may take some adjustment, especially if you’re accustomed to betting on basketball or football.

Should I use MLB betting bonuses?

Certainly, taking advantage of bonuses can provide extra value. However, carefully review the terms and conditions and use bonus funds wisely.

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