BASEBALL is one of the most popular sports to bet on in the world, with competitions all over the planet pitting elite talent against each other in a sport known as America’s favourite pastime.
Invented by civil war hero Abner Doubleday in Cooperstown, New York, the first baseball origins reportedly date back to 1839.
The one thing that makes baseball so popular and has allowed the American public to resound with it so closely is the fact that it can be played by people of all shapes and sizes. The average Joe can pick up a bat, or ping a ball down and do it at the highest level.
You only have to look at Major League Baseball legend Babe Ruth, a portly character in his prime, to see that anyone can give this game a crack, and do it very well.
From humble beginnings, the sport grew into the first professional league in 1871, but it took around 30 years for the sport to really catch on, with teams in just about every major city in the country’s east fighting for pennants available in a division of two leagues, the National and American leagues, which both still stand today.
While it was popular, it never really took off until the great Ruth strode up to the plate.
Ruth captured the imagination of the American public, slugging more home runs than any other man in history at the time and leading the New York Yankees to several World Series titles.
By 1950, there was a push to expand the game west and several other teams were born through baseball expansion.
Today, millions of people all over the world tune in to watch and bet on the sport, with thousands of betting markets available.
The World Series is watched by an average of 36 million viewers in America alone, a remarkable figure – more than 10 per cent of the population tuning in at any one time.
The baseball craze has not quite become a world game, but the Japanese are absolutely crazy for it and it would possess the biggest professional competition outside the USA, with several Japanese players making the cross to the MLB.
The sport is also big in South America, with Cuba and also the Caribbean nations enjoying a huge love affair with the sport.
Best bookmakers to bet on baseball and why (American Bookies)
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We’ve done the work for you, whittling the best offers on the internet down to a trio of bookies who will give you plenty of bang for your buck when you’re having your baseball bet.
Tips for placing a winning bet?
Knowing the rules is a good start.
Baseball is a complex sport to begin with and betting on it without knowing the rules can be disastrous.
Having your head around all the teams and players is also a must if you want your baseball betting experience to be productive.
Doing your research is vital. Almost more than any other sport. You need to know who is pitching in the game your betting on.
Baseball teams can use up to four or five starting pitchers throughout their season, in order to preserve their best players and will also use a bull pen of several mid and closer pitchers to relieve their starters.
You need to know who will be on the mound before you bet. We can’t stress that enough.
Then you can look into their records. How have they gone recently? What about against the team they are playing?
You want to do your research into the team, what its record is like against the opponent and how it has been tuning up recently.
History matters in baseball and so do the stats.
Make sure you know who will be at the plate as well. You don’t want to get caught out by an injury to a star player after you’ve placed your bet on your favourite team to win a game.
If you are having a crack at the World Series or other futures markets, you will also want to make sure you have kept an eye on all the off season moves. Where have the players gone and which teams project to have improved their teams enough to compete for the coveted World Series title?
Popular baseball betting markets
Head to head or money line: This is the most simple bet in baseball. All you have to do is predict who will win the game, place your bet and then ride your team home. Just remember that games can last several hours, so if you’re looking for correct returns, you might want to focus on other markets.
Note: Ladbrokes.com.au and other bookmakers have begun to adopt a new policy on head-to-head betting. Previously, a bet would be informed by the starting pitcher and cancelled if that pitcher failed to play. Now the head-to-head bet is not contingent on the starting pitcher and the bet will continue, regardless of a late starting pitcher change.
Total home runs: With this bet type, you need to predict how many home runs will be hit in the match between the two teams. The bookie earmarks a figure and then you have to decide whether it will be over or under that number. For example, if the bookie’s figure is 6.5 home runs, the total match score has to be seven or more for you to collect the overs, or six or less for the unders.
Handicap or run line: The handicapper strikes. The bookie will designate a handicap to the favourite in the game and a head start for the outsider. You then have to decide how the match turns out. The line can tend to be around 1.5 either way, given that baseball is traditionally a low scoring sport. So the favourite will be given a -1.5, with the outsider a +1.5. That means if the outsider loses by one run, you will still win. Conversely, the favourite not only needs to win, but to win by two or more runs for your bet to get home.
Parlays or multi bets: Sometimes the head to head odds just don’t cut it. If you’re a real pro – or simply think you can clean up with a hail mary, the parlay bet is for you. This type of betting increases the odds, but reduces your chances of winning, by involving two or more results getting home for your bet to salute. Multis tend the be capped at 12 legs, but, if you can get one of those home, you’ll probably be able to quit work, as the odds for each result multiply into each other to form a huge dividend.
Futures: Who will win the World Series? MVP? Cy Young? This is where punters can place their stakes and let it sit and wait. You will have to sit on these bets for a long time – unless you place them just before the release of the winner, but it is worth it if you know your stars. More details on these awards below.
Baseball futures, individual medal explanations
2016 World Series market
Once the playoffs have produced victors in the American and National leagues, those two teams go into a seven game World Series that decides the best team in Baseball.
You can bet on the result all year round, and sometimes even lay a bet on the result for the season after, even before the current season is finished.
Chicago Cubs +300
Washington Nationals +550
Texas Rangers +650
Toronto Blue Jays +750
Cleveland Indians +900
Los Angeles Dodgers +1000
Boston Red Sox +1000
San Francisco Giants +1200
Baltimore Orioles +2500
St. Louis Cardinals +2500
Kansas City Royals +2500
Detroit Tigers +2800
Seattle Mariners +4000
Houston Astros +4000
Miami Marlins +6600
Pittsburgh Pirates +6600
New York Mets +6600
New York Yankees +10000
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Most Valuable Player, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, Golden Glove awards
Baseball’s MVP is the most coveted individual award in the sport. It is awarded to the best player in each league. So there are two MVPs each year and they are recognised as standing at the top of the heap when it comes to baseball’s finest.
Similar to the MVP, the Cy Young Award is given to the best pitchers in each league. Instigated in 1956, the award honours superstar pitcher Cy Young, who died in 1955, and is voted on by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
A player from each league is also awarded the Rookie of the Year and this recognises the best first year player in the particular season. Some of the best players in baseball’s history have won this award.
The best manager in each league is awarded the Manager of the Year. It usually goes to the teams with the best record, but not always.
Fielders aren’t forgotten in the Major Leagues, with 18 golden gloves – nine in each of the two leagues – awarded to the best fielders at each position. The managers and coaches of each league vote for this award, but they are not allowed to select their own player.