How to Bet on Baseball Games

Baseball is a very long season. At 162 games in length, there are plenty of betting opportunities to be had. Your goal as a bettor is not to bet on every single game that is available, but to instead identify games where you feel the lines are not correct. Maybe you think a starting pitcher is going to dominate an injured lineup, or perhaps you know that some young prospects are bound to beat up an old veteran. Whatever the case may be, there are infinite opportunities in baseball to gain an edge when betting.

Knowledge of the Game

You don’t need to watch Baseball Tonight every single day to be profitable when betting on baseball games. Of course some knowledge of the game is a great advantage, but even the most amateur bettors can make some money. Once you get familiar with numbers for money lines, run lines, and over/unders, you will be on your way towards success in betting. Knowing when there is too much (or too little) juice in any given line is vital to your success. For example, a savvy bettor would take the Yankees if they saw that they were +270 on the money line against virtually any team. Of course, this isn’t ever going to happen, but smaller edges are readily available.

Baseball is a Long Term Bet

Profitability in baseball is not found in one, two, or three games. Bettors look for a long terms edge against the sportsbook (or bookie). If you play a game where a team is a big underdog, you can’t realistically expect to win every single time. Beyond this, you can’t expect to even win “most” of the time. You simply need to win a large enough percentage of the time to be profitable. Let’s take an example and work with it. Pretend you want to bet on the Angels beating the Rays. If the Angels are +240 on the money line, you can make a ton of money, even if you only win 30% of the time. If you bet $10, you are going to win $24 when the Angels do win. So, if you lose twice, you are down $20. But if you play the game again and win, you are suddenly up $4 ($24-$20). This is why you need to play baseball games for the long run, not the short term.

Ways to Bet on Baseball Games

There are many different types of bets that bettors can make on baseball games, but most of them operate on either a money line, run line, or an over/under.

Each bet requires a slightly different skill set. If you know how to pick winners, your best bet (pun intended) is to go after the money lines. The problem with betting money lines is that your profit margin is going to be relatively small. Because picking a winner is easier than betting on a run line, you do not earn as much money, particularly when betting on a favorite. If you are betting on a dog (underdog), it is perfectly acceptable to bet on money lines, and it might even be the best option.

Run lines are the most profitable when betting on a favorite. If you are sure a certain team is going to win, and they have a strong offense, you stand to win a lot more money when betting on the run line. Say that you are betting a favorite and the run line pays out +165, but the money line only pays out -110. This is a very big difference. You would earn $16.50 for a $10 bet on the run line, but you would earn less than $10 on a $10 bet on the money line. Be careful, though, because many games end with one run differences in baseball.

Betting a run line with an underdog allows bettors to win a wager even when their team loses. If you bet on an underdog on the run line, you are going to win the bet even when your team loses by a run. This is quite the insurance bet. The downside to betting a run line with an underdog is that you don’t earn nearly as much money. Odds are significantly reduced when betting an underdog on the run line. Where the money line might pay +175 on an underdog, the run line could play close to -120 or even worse. Betting on the run line with an underdog is a safe bet, but it won’t yield massive returns.

Over/unders are the closest thing to a 50/50 bet in baseball. In an over/under bet, bettors decide whether the total amount of runs scored in a game will go over or under a set number. This total number includes runs scored by both teams. If the total ends up being the exact line, your bet is refunded and the play is considered a push (no action). If you have a feel for the pitchers, or the offenses, in a game, the over/under is a great way to bet.

Picking Which Baseball Games to Bet

Picking which games to bet on can be a challenge. Some days there will be a lot of games that you like, while other days you are going to struggle to find a single profitable bet. If you can’t find any games that you like (or only find a few that you like), it is a good idea to just pass up on betting. You are better off saving your money than betting on a game where you don’t have an advantage. Profitability is found by exploiting lines that are not where you think they should be, so if the lines look solid, just let them go. There is always the next day, and you will thank yourself later.

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