Baseball might be one of America's favourite pastimes, but global gamblers still seem reluctant to venture into the various betting markets offered by top online sportsbooks. Whilst the sport can be tricky for UK viewers, there are plenty of opportunities to make a profit out of this exciting sport if you know where to look.
The North and South American interest in baseball alone elevates the sports status to one of the world's major markets but if baseball betting catches on in massive gambling jurisdictions like the UK or Australia, the sport's betting scene could push to become equals with football and basketball internationally.
The 2016 Major League Baseball (MLB) season got underway on 3rd April. This year, 30 of the best teams in the US will be competing for league glory up until 2nd October.
Baseball betting is one of few pursuits that gives gamblers the luxury of examining the numbers both before and during a game. However it's vital to know exactly where to look when you're placing your bets.
Betting on the winner of the World Series of baseball is no mean feat. While the regular season stats are immensely useful game by game, the playoffs are an entirely different beast.
Everyone talks about backing the underdog in baseball, and there's no doubt that it's a system with potential, but total runs is a mathematician's market with plenty of profit to be had.
One of the first things to master in baseball betting is the unusual markets. The key markets for this sport are the "money line", the "run line" and "game totals". Whilst these terms may sound like members of the infamously impenetrable US sporting lingo, the reality is far simpler.
The money line is baseball's equivalent of the outright winner market - essentially a bet on which team will win the match, but with odds expressed slightly differently. When the Washington Nationals met the Milwaukee Brewers on the 3rd of July 2013, for example, the Brewers were rated at +230 for the win with Bet365 Sports.
This is equivalent to UK fractional odds of 23/10, meaning that a £10 bet would see a total return of £33, including your original stake. The Nationals, on the other hand, were priced at -260 for the same game, highlighting their position as the favourite to win and equating to 5/13.
The interesting thing about the money line market is that baseball, unlike many other mainstream sports, allows for a profit to be made with regular bets against the league favourite. Looking at the 2012 Major League Baseball (MLB) standings, the Nationals recorded the highest win percentage with 60.5%, but the overall league average came in at just over 48%.
This means that average odds of any one team winning a game is just short of evens, making it a particularly lucrative market if you have a keen eye for the stats.
If you're looking for a more exciting baseball betting strategy, try the run line market. It functions in the same way as the Asian handicap market, and acts as a simple way to get more value from a hot-tipped favourite.
You can also use it to hedge your bets on a close run match by gambling on an evenly-matched underdog.
For something with even more depth, you may want to experiment with the game totals market, which deals with total runs scored in a single game. This works like any standard over/under market, with most bookmakers picking a number of runs that fit the form of the teams doing battle.
Game totals can be quite difficult for newcomers, with a number of different elements to consider throughout the length of a game that could derail a good trend. You need to be on the lookout for which pitchers play better at night, which batters struggle against the curve balls, and your chosen team's catching and batting averages before launching in to this market.
There are plenty of different baseball betting markets to get involved with, and using these strategies is a great way to ignite your passion for a new sport.
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