How to Place an MLB Bet
You can bet at a sportsbook location or online or with a mobile app. In the case of online or mobile, you must be physically located in the state of New Jersey.
It is a good idea to visit a racetrack or casino’s sportsbook location, if possible. This onsite experience will help to understand the process online apps are emulating. New Jersey sportsbook locations include:
- Bally's Atlantic City
- Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
- Golden Nugget Hotel Casino & Marina
- Hard Rock Hotel Casino
- Ocean Resort Casino
- Resorts Casino Hotel Atlantic City
- Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment
- Monmouth Park
The New Jersey sportsbook locations above have an onsite sportsbook with real people to assist with your baseball bet selections.
The process of betting at the sportsbook starts with the betting sheet. A betting sheet is a printed list of all the leagues, games and bet selections the sportsbook has to offer. For MLB betting there is a sheet listing the team matchups, the betting odds, and the starting pitcher for each team. This listing of the starting pitcher is a unique feature of MLB.
Another very important item is the rotation number. The rotation number is a predefined index number that identifies the selection.
For example, the Mets may be listed with rotation number 312 while their opponent the Chicago Cubs are listed as number 313.
The team matchups are listed in paired numbers. When you place your bet, the attendant at the betting station will expect you to provide the rotation number and the amount you would like to wager. That is all that is needed.
The bet for a team or total or other is indexed to the rotation number. Always check your ticket before leaving the betting station.
MLB Betting Sites
When choosing an online sportsbook to begin MLB betting with, there are several factors that affect its greatness.
Be sure that the betting site of your choice offers a mobile app. When betting on sports, it's important to be able to bet on the go. Sign up online and download the mobile app.
Look for the best bonuses. As a new customer, there are often bonus offers that are not available at the brick and mortar locations. Online sportsbooks in New Jersey usually offer match bets, free bets, and risk-free bets!
Read reviews to be sure that your wagering application of choice - both the desktop and mobile versions - are easy to use. These apps should follow the same process as would any physical sportsbook, by finding the type of bet and team’s rotation number. The advantage is the convenience of betting from anywhere in the Garden State, without the time and hassle of traffic and parking.
Read through our online sportsbooks reviews to learn where and how to sign up.
One application note is an additional consent agreement to use the geographical location signal on your device. This GPS requirement is for the New Jersey sites to comply with the legal requirements to only take bets within state lines. If you are in New York for a meeting, you need to find the nearest bridge before placing that bet.
Types of MLB Bets
A solid understanding of the types of bets and payouts is an important first step in developing a profitable MLB technique.
The betting categories include single-event (team or total) and multiple-event bets, where two or more events are combined into a summary bet. Wagers on game events can be made with several different bet types offered by the sportsbook.
The various MLB bet types can also be combined on a multiple team bet. This means you can create a bet comprised of multiple team selections, and/or teams and point totals.
For example, you have developed an analysis that indicates a team has a strong pitching advantage but has struggled to score runs lately. This may create a betting edge situation, where you see value in betting the team to win and the combined run total to go “under” on a parlay bet.
It is also important in looking at MLB bet types to understand the role of the sportsbook and how they derive profit. Sportsbooks are not in the business of picking winners to make their money. A good betting line drives 2-way action. This means that ideally, there is an equal amount bet on each side of an MLB game or run total. The sportsbook keeps the total wagered on the losing side, but keeps a percentage in the 5% range from the winner’s payout.
This percentage is known as the sportsbook’s cut or the “vig”, short for vigorish. Profitable wagering requires a winning percentage that covers the “vig”, regardless of the types of bets used. The primary bet types for MLB are the money line, run totals, and the run line.
The types of bets for MLB are very similar to those of other professional sports. The difference with MLB betting is the predominant use of the money line.
There is no point spread type bet as you would find in NFL or NBA wager.
In a money line, the payout is directly aligned with the odds. The amount of money you bet has an odds/payout amount. That amount is adjusted up or down, based on a bet selection of the favorite or the underdog.
Here is an example of a typical MLB money line.
|312||a-NY Mets||F. Jones (R)||-150|
|313||h-Chi Cubs||T. Smith (L)||+135|
The odds in a money line bet are directly related to the payout amount. In this example, the NY Mets are the favored team.
Calculate Your Winnings
A bet of $150 on the NY Mets will return a $100 win amount, plus the original bet for a total payout of $250.
The Cubs are the underdog in this example. The +135 is the payout for a bet of $100. For an accurate payout comparison to a bet on the favored team, assume you bet $150 on the underdog Cubs. With this bet on the underdog, a winning payout would be $202.50, or $150 x 1.35 =$202.50. This winning amount plus the original bet of $150, results in a total payout of $352.50.
Other Money Line Betting Notes
There are a few other important notes with this typical MLB example. The home team and away teams are usually identified, and the home team is listed as the bottom team in a paired bet. The rotation numbers (312,313) are unique game identifiers used to reference your bet.
The starting pitchers are identified in MLB line listings. This is unique to MLB betting due to the importance of starting pitching on a game’s probable outcome. The letters R and L indicate the pitcher’s throwing arm as either right or left-handed. This is also a unique feature of MLB betting since the direction of the pitch can have a significant impact on opposing batters.
Also, note that the payouts do not offset. The difference between the -150 bet on the favorite and the +135 premium for an underdog bet is the “vig”. This difference is the sportsbooks commission. The sportsbooks set the betting odds/payout factors to create balanced action. Equal amounts bet on both sides, locks in the sportsbook’s commission.
The money line is a bet on the game’s winner regardless of the final runs scored. This type of bet requires the comparative analysis of the relative pitching strength versus batting and the run-scoring ability of both teams in choosing the winning side.
MLB run total bets are very similar to point totals used with other professional sports bets.
The sportsbook puts up a betting line on the expected combined run total of both teams. This totals bet is also referred to as an over/under bet and is a very common MLB bet option.
Here is an example of a typical MLB over/under bet, most often sportsbooks list the over/under odds as an extension of the money line listing with the same rotation number.
|313||h-Chi Cubs||T. Smith (L)||8.5||-110|
|312||a-NY Mets||F. Jones (R)||8.5||-110|
An MLB run total bet is a wager on the combined score of both teams in a single game, regardless of the number of innings played.
The sportsbook puts up a total line that will generate balanced action. There will be a group of MLB bettors that expects great starting pitching and few runs scored and takes the under, while others see an opportunity for higher than expected run-scoring by both teams.
This is a bet on the combined runs of both teams, not the game’s winner. This type of bet requires the comparative analysis of the relative pitching strength versus batting and run-scoring ability of both teams in developing a probable run total outcome for the game.
Calculate Your Winnings
The odds/payout on the example run total bet above is -110. A bet of $110 on the game’s combined run total pays $100. The difference is the sportsbook’s commission. A winning bet on the game’s run total pays $100, plus the original bet of $110 for a total payout of $210.
The Runline is as close as you get to a spread type bet with MLB betting. The sportsbooks set a run target. A run target of 1.5 is most common. This means you can choose to take the 1.5 or lay the 1.5. A typical Runline bet is again an extension of the money line bet and listed with a run target.
|312||a-NY Mets||F. Jones (R)||-1.5||-110|
|313||h-Chi Cubs||T. Smith (L)||+1.5||-110|
A bettor would compare the odds/payout of a straight-up win on the money line with more favorable odds/payout of the Runline. The Runline is a form of handicap or hurdle factor.
The more favorable payout of -110 versus the -150 payout of the money, requires the favorite team to win by 2 runs in this example.
The underdog Runline bet will receive a lower payout versus the +135 on the money line bet but is protected in the event of a one-run loss, since an additional 1.5 runs would be added to the underdogs run total.
The Runline is a bet on the game’s run spread. A bettor can take or lay the Runline target amount. The favored team must cover the Runline. The underdog needs to win outright or stay within the Runline. This type of bet requires the comparative analysis of the relative pitching strength versus batting and run-scoring ability of both teams in choosing the likely run-scoring difference of the game.
Calculate Your Winnings
The odds/payout on the example run total bet above is -110. A bet of $110 on the game’s Runline pays $100.
The difference is the sportsbook’s commission. A winning bet on the game’s Runline pays $100, plus the original bet of $110 for a total payout of $210.
MLB Betting for Profit
Betting for profit means you are not only betting for fun, where you may throw a few bucks on a game just to add to your interest in watching. You expect a return on your comparative analysis effort as well as the baseball fun.
Profitable betting is a winning percentage over many games. You were able to pick the Yankees over the Red Sox last night, but can you pick more winners than losers over a sustained period. You won’t win them all, but can you reach a win rate of 60% to cover the losing bets and the vig. Set a winning percentage goal and an analysis process to help you reach that goal.
In sports betting a good analysis method is best applied to a large number of games to minimize risk and managing your bankroll. As an example, if you have an analysis technique that results in a 60% win-rate over time, there is less risk of loss when betting $100 on 50 games, versus $5000 on a single game.
The good news for MLB wagering is the number of games. There are currently 30 Major League teams and a 162-game regular season. This game volume provides the opportunity to bet selectively and build a profit over time. As a bettor, you can be selective and look for odds/payout value.
The line the sportsbook has put up to achieve balanced action. You find odds value when the odds do not line up with your comparative analysis. Often the odds/payouts are misaligned with teams that are big public favorites or with teams with good recent results, but inconsistent over a longer period. The public generally over-reacts to bad news, such as a suspension or key injury. A good pitcher may have had a bad outing or a lack of run support in a recent game and the line was overcompensated. These are odds analysis situations that you can turn into profit.
Often, the trending public favorites can move the line to where the underdog bet provides the best odds value. Your payouts are significantly higher with these underdog bets and you can sustain a few more losses when your payout is in the 200+ range. Take a hard look at big favorites and double-check your analysis for a possible underdog selection.
The key to profitable MLB betting is to apply a sound matchup analysis technique and always be selective. With a 162-game season with there are plenty of opportunities to pick your spots. The sportsbooks must put up a line on every MLB game every day to stay competitive, but you can scan the day’s schedule of games for the matchups where you see a betting edge. This narrow edge can gradually build your bankroll from the start of the season in April through the Series in October.
Baseball is a stats rich sport. The volume of daily games provides significant data on pitching, hitting and fielding percentages. Use this data that is readily available on-line these days to derive an effective set of power ratings based on pitching, scoring and fielding errors.
Analyze the last 3 outings for each starting pitcher. Look at opponent batting average from both sides of the plate. Look at ratios of strikes/balls, home runs per game for both starting pitchers. Then look at the innings the bullpen has put in over the last week. A tired bull-pen can change any momentum a good starting pitcher built.
Look at both teams run-scoring averages, against right and left-handed pitchers. Look at scoring home and away. On-base percentage is an important stat that can add value to your scoring analysis.
Fielding errors give the opponent a base runner and another chance to score. Errors should factor in your comparative evaluation.
Apply your Ratings to a Long Season
The volume and range of MLB stats available should help you build power ratings that allow you to quickly analyze a weak MLB line or run total.
Develop a base set of ratings and adjust as the season rolls on.
Develop an objective process based on the numbers and stick with it.
Be selective and avoid multiple bet parlays. The extra payout of a parlay looks attractive but you get better odds/payout value with a series of single event wagers.
The 162 games season means 2430 games and a modest betting edge of 2% can add up by the time the World Series comes around in the fall. Major League Baseball (MLB) is America’s first great professional sport and offers a great opportunity for profitable betting.
Is MLB Betting Legal in New Jersey?
The State of New Jersey has a long history of legal betting and opened one of the first horse racing venues in the US with the Monmouth Park Racetrack in 1870. Atlantic City, New Jersey has been an exciting location for casino action on the Eastern Seaboard since 1970. However, until recently, sports betting at the New Jersey racetracks and casinos was limited to horse racing. This changed in 2018 when the State of New Jersey cleared the final legal hurdle for full legalized sports betting in the United States.
In 2018 a US Supreme court decision allowed individual states to set the rules and controls on sports betting within their respective state boundaries. In New Jersey, a license to operate an online sports betting site is only granted to the state's existing casinos and racetracks.