How to bet on Baseball
Skill Level: Intermediate
The following guide will explain how to bet on the popular American sports baseball. Not an obvious market to the normal British punter, there are numerous individual markets to select from and plenty of ways for you to maximise profit. It’s not just the end result of the game you can bet on; the first team to score, most hits and highest scoring period are just some of the other less-known markets open to play with.
How a game of Baseball is won
Each team consists of nine players and take it in turn to bat and field. The home team will always bat second, and each individual player takes their turn to bat until three players are struck out, after which the teams switch respective roles. This differs though depending on the rules; some Baseball leagues allow the pitcher (bowler) to nominate someone to hit for him rather than hit himself. This period of batting is called an inning, of which each team has nine to score as many runs as possible. In the event of a tie, extra innings are played out to find a winner. A batter is struck out if they fail three consecutive and legal pitches. It is also called out if they manage to hit the ball, and is caught by one of the fielders. A legal pitch is a ball which is thrown in the designated hitting zone above the plate, it must pitch between the batter's knee and shoulders, if the delivery is outside of this zone and the batter does not swing at it, it's a none legal delivery referred to as a ball. The pitcher is allowed to pitch three non-legal balls, if he pitches a 4th, then the batter is allowed to walk to the 1st base. A run is scored every time a batter becomes a runner and crosses home plate after touching each base in the prescribed order. There are four plates in total referred to as the 1st base, 2nd base, 3rd base and home plate. Put simply, the team with the most runs at the end of the contest are the winners. If at the end of 9 innings the game is a tie, they will play extra innings until one team has won. This means you cannot have a draw in Baseball.
The first rule with Baseball is that the named pitcher must start for most bets to be valid, this can differ depending on the bookmaker so it's always worth checking.
Moneyline is just betting on either team to win the match.
Handicap (or the line)
This is when one team has a headstart, bookmakers often use this when they feel one team has a greater advantage. For example, one team may start -1.5 runs and the other +1.5, this means if you were to bet on -1.5 the team would have to win by at least two runs.
1st innings winner
This is where you choose who will score the most runs in the opening innings.
A Run in the 1st innings
Just as it says on the tin, you can choose to bet whether either side will score a run in the first innings of the game.
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1st innings runs
This selection allows you to predict how many runs will be scored in the first innings of the game. The line can sometimes vary depending on which side the bookie wants you to back, but generally the line is set at over 1.5 runs (2 or more) and under 1.5 runs (1 or less).
1st innings hits
The punter selects how many times both team’s batters will make a hit in the 1st innings of a selected game. The lines on offer tend to be under 2, exactly 2 and over two hits, although if for example, a team has a particularly good record in the opening innings the bookie may make up the line to 3 hits. A hit is defined as the ball connecting with the bat and landing legally without being caught.
Most hits in 1st innings
Here you choose which of the two individual teams you believe will have the most hits when batting in the opening innings.
Three innings line
This line allows you to predict which team will be leading after the first three innings of the game. In this line, often the team who are favourites will start with a -1.5 handicap, whilst the underdog can be backed with a handicap of +1.5.
Seven innings line
Just like the three innings line, the favourites will often be given a -1.5 handicap, with the underdogs allowed a +1.5 lead. However, this line leaves you to predict who will be leading later in the game after seven innings rather than 3.
Race to (runs)
The race to runs market lets you back a specific team to reach a specific run total in the game first. This can vary from 2 runs to 7 runs and you are allowed to back either side or neither to reach that total depending on your expectant outcome.
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Three innings total
You win your bet in this market if you correctly predict how many runs there are in total after the first innings and is done so within an over/under line. 2.5 runs is the generic total offered, although this can be adjusted in the bookies favour to 3.5 or 1.5 if a team involved is high or low scoring respectively.
Seven innings total
This market involves predicting how many runs there will be at the end of the seventh innings of the game. The lines on offer fluctuate massively depending on the teams involved, with the range usually being between 4.5 and 8.5 runs.
Lead (after innings)
Lets you predict which team will be leading - or a tie - after a selected innings of the game. Punters can back a team to be ahead on runs from the second innings to the seventh.
Allows you to bet on the possibility of a tenth innings in a game in the event of a tie at the end of the ninth
First team to score
This market lets you select which team will be the first to score a run in the match. Generally, odds will be shorter on the away team who bat first, but the reputation and skill of the two teams can see these odds fluctuate.
Last team to score
Contrary to the aforementioned line, this market allows you to bet on which team will score the final run of the match.
Team scoring first wins game
The stipulation of this market means the team who get the first run on the board have to go on to win the game if you are to win and claim back your stake.
Game total - bands
The market for this selection is all about choosing how many runs there will be in the game overall. The bands allow you to have more choice and chance of being correct and the lines are: 5 or less, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12 or more.
Alternative run line
Lets you choose a team to start with a plus or minus handicap in the game. This stipulation will see your chosen team begin the game with either a lead or starting from behind, and the latter will increase your odds.
Alternative game total
The alternative game total market lets you select how many runs you believe there will be in a selected game on an over/under line. The selected number of runs you can back varies on the two teams taking part in the match.
Alternative 3-way total
Allows you to select different overall match run totals across three different lines. Punters can choose under, over and exactly on a number of different figures which can vary between 5 and 12.
Alternative five innings line
Gives the punter the option to select which team will be ahead after five innings of the game. The lines are on positive and minus handicaps, and you can select between +1, +0.5, -0.5 and -1.
Alternative five innings total
This market allows you to predict how many runs there will be after the first five innings of the game. Lines can range between 2 to 8 runs depending on the preference of the bookie.
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Team with highest scoring innings
As simple as it sounds, this market allows you to predict which team will have the single-highest scoring innings of the game.
This market includes predicting which team will be leading after 4 ½ innings and which team will be leading at the end of 9 innings. In essence, it is similar to the half time/full-time market in football.
To win in this market, you must correctly select the margin of victory of the winning side in the game. The lines on offer are 1, 2, 3 and 4+.
First home run of game will be
Winning this market involves predicting how the game’s first run will be scored. The punter must choose between a solo home run, 2-run home run, 3-run home run, grand slam home run and no home run.
Game total odd/even
This involves selecting whether the game will gave an odd number of runs or even. The odds generally remain the same and rarely defer away from odd at 5/8 and even at 13/10.
Highest scoring period
In this market, the punter wins if they correctly guess whether the first five innings or the last four innings of the match will be the highest scoring period. There is also the option to select a tie and equal number of runs scored in each time frame.
The team totals market involves choosing how many runs you believe a team will score in your selected game. The quality of the team will alter the line offered, with better teams having a higher number to go over/under with and worse teams based on a lower figure.
The team hits market is similar to the team totals market, with the only difference being that you are predicting the number of times a team makes a hit rather than the runs they score.
Team total odd/even
Just like the game total odd/even market, the aim of this market is to accurately guess whether the number of runs will be odd or even, but this time it’s with regards to a specific team contrary to the overall game.
This is a bet on how many times batters of both teams will make a hit combined throughout the game, again, working with an over/under line.
Companies like Draftkings now offer money making opportunities on Fantasy Baseball. This allows you to buy and trade players against other Fantasy Baseball players for big cash prizes.
In this market you must predict which team will have the most batters’ hits in the game, also allowing you to select a tie if you believe there will be an equal number of hits from both teams.