Baseball Betting Guide – MLB Rules and Betting Odds Explained

Baseball Betting Guide

Baseball is easily one of the most interesting gambling sports. It is one of the four major sports in the U.S., is televised almost every day, it has a huge number of games, statistics and simple betting markets.

Although many people believe that baseball is only played in a few countries such as the US and Cuba, it is actually played all over the world. The “World Baseball Classic” – a competition like the soccer “World Cup” – held every year, has sixteen countries competing.

The Season

Of course the most popular baseball competition is “The World Series” which is the Major League Baseball competition played in the United States. This competition is huge. The season is played throughout the year from spring, through summer and into autumn (fall). The first match of the regular season is on the first Sunday in April and the final match of the regular season is on the first Sunday in October.

The Leagues

A total of 30 teams play (29 are from America, the other one is from Canada) in two leagues, 15 teams play in the American League and the other 15 teams play in the National League.

Like in Basketball, Ice Hockey and American Football, the two leagues are split into three divisions (East, Central and West). Each division has five teams.

The games

Every team in a division plays the other four teams in the same division 19 times. For example, Boston Red Sox are in the American League and in the East division. The other four teams in that same league and division are Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays. So in the regular season Boston red Sox play New York Yankees 19 times, Toronto Blue Jays 19 times, Tampa Bay Ray 19 times and Baltimore Orioles 19 times. So that is 96 games for just one team in one division.

A team in a division in the American League will also play against teams from a division from the National League, a team will also play 2 “Series” matches (one home and one way) – a series is six or seven games – against the other ten teams in its league. Finally, a team will also play against another team in the same league two more games at home and two more away games.

This means that in a regular season, before the play offs, each team plays 162 games! That’s a lot of games for just one team! 162 games for 30 teams means almost 5000 games a year! This offers amazing gambling opportunities!

When are matches played?

The Teams usually play five games a week. Mondays and Thursdays are often used as rest days although games are sometimes played on these days. During the week, games are played at night while on weekends and public holidays the games are usually played in the afternoon.

The playoffs

The top five teams in each league qualify for the play-offs – then the teams play each other in a knockout format to reach the final. The final match is called the “The World Series” – this is a best of seven games format (the first team to win 4 games) between the two league champions.

To qualify for the playoffs a team must either win their division or qualify in the “Wildcard” place – these are awarded to the next two best teams from each league.

The playoff rounds are made of four rounds

Playoff Round 1 (One team from each league to qualify for the quarter finals) – Two matches are played. The two wild carded teams from the American League play each other and the two wild carded teams in the National League play each other.

Playoff Round 2 (The quarter finals) – Four Matches are played. The three division winners and the Round 1 playoff winner from the American League are matched and the three division winners and the Round 1 playoff winner from the National League are matched. The matches are a “best-of-five” which means the first team to win 3 games wins the match.

Playoff Round 3 (The semi-finals) – The winners of Playoff Round 2 from the American League play each other and the winners from the National League playoff play each other. These matches are a “best-of-seven” which means the first team to win 4 games wins the match.

Playoff Round 4 (The final) – World Series, a “best-of-seven” played between the winners of Round 3.

What gambling can I do?

As with all other online sports betting, there are “Ante-post” (pre-tournament) markets which are offered for the winners of the divisions, the leagues and the World Series. There are also individual match (series) and game markets. This means you can bet on the results, the statistics and individual performances. In-game betting is also possible on most games especially with American on-line bookmakers. Because baseball, like basketball and American Football, creates a lot of statistics, there are markets available for statistic type betting. For more detailed information about online gambling on baseball, please visit our Guide to Baseball Gambling.

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