One of the most popular US sports is of course MLB (Baseball) and when something is popular you can guarantee there will be an abundance of tipsters offering advice. However, to those not familiar with the sport it can all be a little confusing. Here is a guide explaining the most common betting options on MLB, along with some of the terminologies you may see used.
There are three main types of bet, Money Line, Run Line and Total Runs Over/Under.
This one is very straight forward, quite simply you are picking who you think will win the game as you would in football. There are no draws in MLB, they play extra innings until somebody wins.
New York Yankees (M.Tanaka) 1.72 Boston Red Sox (D.Price) 2.15
New York Yankees are the favourites so are priced at 1.72, Boston less favoured at 2.15.
This is a common bet you will see advised as there are better odds available, although of course there is more risk. The standard ‘run line’ betting line appears as follows:-
New York Yankees (M.Tanaka) -1.5 2.25 Boston Red Sox (D.Price) +1.5 1.65
Essentially this is a handicap bet. If you choose New York Yankees then you require them to win by more than 1.5 runs, i.e. by 2 or more. If you choose Boston, you have a 1.5 run head start so even if they lost by 1 you would still be the winner.
TOTAL RUNS OVER/UNDER
Another bet often advised is for a game to have Over or Under a certain number of runs. These bets can be found under Total Runs. The bookmaker will set a figure, usually 7.5 or 8.5 and you will select whether you think there will more runs scored in the game, i.e. ‘Over’, or less runs, ‘Under’.
You will have noticed that following the team name, there is a name in brackets. That is the scheduled ‘starting pitcher’ in this particular match. The starting pitcher in MLB is very important and prices and indeed most selections are predominantly based upon this information. If the starting pitcher is changed after you have placed a bet then your bet will be declared void. When advising a bet a tipster should always show the starting pitchers. Ensure that they match up with the starting pitcher on the bookies site when you place it. On most sites, if there has been a pitching change it is marked with COP (Change of Pitcher) and the time that the change was made.
It is not very often that the starting pitcher changes, only in cases of a last minute illness or injury so it isn’t something you will need to worry about often.
If when you come to place your bet you see that the starting pitcher has indeed changed since the tip was advised, DO NOT place the bet.
The most common terminology you will come across in the selections is ERA. This stands for Earned Run Average. The figure is the amount of runs given up by a pitcher per nine innings that they pitch. The lower the number the better!
You will often see reference to the WHIP of a pitcher. This stands for Walks & Hits per Innings Pitched. As with the ERA it’s an average based upon nine innings, so essentially the average number of Walks and Hits given up every nine innings. Again, the lower the number the better. What are Walks and Hits?
A hit is when a batsman successfully ‘hits’ the ball into play and reaches at least 1st base.
A strike is when the pitch crosses the batters plate between the knees and shoulders of the hitter OR when the hitter swings and misses. A ball is when the pitch misses the strike zone and the hitter hasn’t swung at it. If the hitter hits the ball but it goes behind the lines between 1st and 3rd base then it is a ‘foul ball’ and is classed as a strike.
A batter is out when he has three strikes. However, he cannot be out on a foul ball, so when on two strikes, if he hits a foul ball he remains on two strikes and the at bat continues.
Should the pitcher throw four balls the batsman gets a free ‘Walk’ to 1st base.
There are many, many more terminologies used in the sport, but that covers the main ones you may come across and should influence your bets. I hope this guide makes sense but if it doesn’t or if you come across another terminology you aren’t sure about please don’t hesitate to ask!