Major League Baseball is the third-most-popular sport for betting in the US, behind the NFL and NBA. One of the upsides of MLB betting is that each team plays 162 games during the regular season. That makes for plenty of opportunities to place bets and find trends.
Baseball betting is especially popular in Maryland with two local teams to root for (one a recent World Series winner, even) and a slew of other nearby East Coast teams. Here’s how MLB betting works and the best baseball betting sites in Maryland to get started at.
Top MLB sportsbooks in Maryland
How to bet on MLB online in Maryland
If you’re ready to create your first online betting account, you can start from here. Most online sportsbooks make their registration processes intuitive and straightforward.
You’ll be able to start MLB betting online within minutes of getting your account registered. The process might look different on different sportsbook sites, but here is an example:
- Choose one of the sportsbooks listed on this site and click its link to head to the sportsbook homepage.
- You can register on your computer or your phone. If you wish to bet through the app, look for an app download link on the sportsbook’s landing page.
- Proceed with the registration by creating your account credentials and entering your personal details so the operator can confirm your identity.
- Go to the cashier page to complete a deposit.
- Claim any welcome bonus or Maryland bonus bet offer. If you have a Maryland sportsbook promo code, you’ll use it here.
- Browse the list of available sports for betting until you find baseball. Click on MLB to see the available wagers.
- Start placing your MLB bets.
Live MLB betting
When it comes to live betting, baseball offers many of the same betting markets as in pregame betting. This includes moneyline bets, alternative run lines, team and player props, and more. The difference, of course, is that you can continue to make all of these bets throughout the game at changing odds.
Naturally, the odds will swing one way or the other relative to the current score and situation on any given pitch.
The most convenient way of making in-play bets is via a sportsbook app. This allows you to bet on the move or while watching the game at a sports bar. Luckily, plenty of online sportsbooks in Maryland also provide apps.
How MLB betting works
Sportsbooks post daily game lines for MLB bets throughout the regular season and postseason and post early lines for futures betting during the offseason. For betting on individual games, the sportsbook will release odds in advance of the game starts, and you can place various bets on that game up until the first pitch.
Reading MLB lines and odds
Before you delve into the world of MLB betting, you need to learn how to read sports odds. There will be plenty of numbers and symbols alongside each participating team before and during the game. This might seem confusing to beginning bettors, but reading these numbers is quite simple. Here’s an example of a moneyline bet you might see at DraftKings Sportsbook Maryland or on the FanDuel Sportsbook app:
|O 9 (-110)
|U 9 (-110)
Note that the team at the bottom is the home team. The three sets of odds in this example are for moneyline, run line, and over/under bets.
Betting on the moneyline means choosing one side to win the game. Negative numbers (-115) indicate how much money you need to stake to turn a $100 profit. Positive numbers (+110) indicate how much profit you would win on a successful $100 bet.
Over/under (totals) bets let you predict how many runs both teams will score in the game. Since the line in our example is 9.0, if you bet on the over, you need 10 or more runs combined between both teams to win the bet. You’ll lose the bet if the number of runs is eight or fewer. If the total turns out to be exactly nine, the sportsbook will consider the bet a push, and you’ll get your stake back.
Finally, the run line will almost always feature a spread of 1.5. If you bet on the run line for the Nationals (+1.5), you hope they win the game or lose by only one run. This bet is especially interesting in evenly matched games like the one in our example since it features different payout odds from a regular moneyline, providing the opportunity for a safer or riskier bet.
Of course, you can find different odds on different sportsbooks. You might assume that Vegas odds are far better than odds from your local sportsbooks, but that’s not always the case. Regardless of which sportsbooks you look at, you’ll find that the odds are pretty similar or even identical in some instances.
Naturally, there will be some minor discrepancies here and there, allowing you the potential of turning a slightly higher profit, which is why it’s essential to do your research before committing to any single sportsbook.
Betting on MLB vs. NFL and NBA
NFL and NBA betting are more popular than MLB betting because football and basketball are more popular in the US than baseball. However, this doesn’t mean that baseball betting is less fun.
One could argue that baseball is the best sport for betting out of all three. Here are a couple of reasons why:
- More games: All 30 teams in the MLB will play 162 games throughout a normal season. This is much more than the NBA (82-game season) and the NFL (17-game season). Naturally, the packed MLB schedule offers lots more betting opportunities, and lots of time to assess and recognize trends.
- More stats: Yes, there are dozens of stats to track and monitor for both the NBA and NFL. Do they track things like exit velocity, however? Launch angle? Spin rate? Baseball is a stats paradise, and the explosion of baseball analytics has revolutionized the game. Think you can predict exactly when a left-handed pull hitter will spray one the opposite way to beat the shift? Micro-betting live on MLB might be for you.
- Longer betting windows: If you live on the West Coast, the baseball betting day can begin as early as 9 a.m. for a noon game on the East Coast. The 8 p.m. night game on the West Coast can last until well after midnight on the East Coast. This leaves you with plenty of time and opportunity to find the right betting markets all day long. Or one last chance to get a bet in on the nightcap.
Popular MLB baseball bets
You can bet on MLB in all sorts of ways, from the total number of strikeouts to the number of games the Nats will win to which team will win the World Series. However, some bets are more common than others:
- Moneyline: This is the simplest MLB bet and a wager that you see in almost every other sport. All you need to do here is pick which of the two teams will win. The margin of victory is irrelevant.
- Run line: The run line includes a certain number of runs that a team must win or lose by for the bet to be successful. The standard number is 1.5. The favorite will subtract 1.5 runs from its total, and the underdog will add 1.5. Betting on the favorite means that team must win by two or more runs. If you bet on the underdog, that team must either win outright or lose by fewer than two runs.
- Over/under: Also referred to as totals, over/under bets challenge you to predict the total number of runs in a game. Sometimes the number will be whole (9.0), leaving an option for a push. Other times the sportsbook will set it at half a run (8.5).
MLB props and futures
Besides the usual bets we discussed above, MLB betting can consist of various other wagers, including proposition bets or props. These wagers consider various scenarios in a single baseball game that may or may not happen. Here are some examples that you might find on top betting apps, like the Caesars Sportsbook app and BetMGM Sportsbook app:
- What the first home run of the game will be (solo, two-run, three-run, grand slam, or no home run)
- Winning margin
- The first team to a certain number of runs
- Total hits
- Most hits
- Highest-scoring inning
Apart from these team props, you may also encounter player props that involve individual players:
- How many strikeouts a particular pitcher will have
- How many runs a player will score
- Whether a pitcher will record a win
- Whether a specific player will hit a home run
On the other end of the spectrum are futures bets, which are long-term wagers involving the outcome of an entire season or postseason.
The most popular MLB futures bet is which team will win the World Series. Futures odds for the World Series are available before and throughout the regular season and even during the postseason. Alternatively, you can bet on which team will win each of the two leagues or win individual divisions.
Understanding the MLB playoffs and World Series
Once the regular season is concluded, the stage is set for the MLB playoffs. The playoffs consist of 10 teams, five from each of the two leagues. The top teams from each league’s three divisions are guaranteed a spot in the playoffs, joined by an additional two teams (wild cards) with the next best records.
The teams are seeded according to whether they won their division and then their overall record. The playoffs begin with wild card games between the fourth- and fifth-seeded teams from each league. The winners move on to the best-of-five Division Series, where four teams in each league now play to advance.
The winners of those series progress to the League Championship Series, a best-of-seven matchup that decides the champion of the American League and National League. Once the two league champions are crowned, they finally battle it out in the best-of-seven World Series.
During the playoffs, you will pretty much encounter the same types of sports bets available throughout the regular season, with the addition of certain futures like series winners or final results of each series (four games to two, for example).
MLB betting tips for beginners
There isn’t a perfect baseball betting strategy that will guarantee a profit. Still, there are several things any bettor should consider that can ultimately help in making the right choice.
If you’re only beginning with MLB betting, the following tips might come in handy:
- Always check the lineups: A common mistake among rookie bettors is making their bets too early, not considering the final lineups for a specific game. You might want to back the Nats in an NL East clash with the New York Mets only to find Max Scherzer has been scratched at the last minute. Now the value for your bet doesn’t look that great, as even if the Nationals win, you would have gotten much better odds once the final lineups were announced.
- Pay attention to streaks: MLB games take place almost every day. This leaves little time for teams and players to mentally prepare for their next battle. They can be frustrated by a late loss or ride the positive vibes of a good win. Consequently, winning and losing streaks in MLB can be much longer and more common than those in other major US sports. The Oakland A’s, for instance, won 11 straight earlier this season. That said, any hot starting pitcher can come into town and throw a winning streak off in a heartbeat.
- Don’t underestimate the underdog: Note that the disparity of top and bottom teams in MLB is not that large compared to the NBA or NFL. The best teams usually win around 60% of their games. Teams that end up with the worst records, meanwhile, can still win 40% of theirs. As a result of the extremely long season and the element of luck that can determine the outcome of a given game, MLB underdogs can come up with quite a few wins throughout a season.
MLB betting partnerships
MLB has been spurred by sports betting legalization across many US states to sign a few partnership deals in the past several years.
The league currently has official sports betting partners in FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetMGM, all of which are available to Maryland residents. In turn, these sportsbooks can use some of MLB’s intellectual property, including official data and team/league logos and marks.
BetMGM is also the official betting partner of the Washington Nationals and recently opened a retail sportsbook at Nationals Park, together with a sports betting app that will work within a two-block radius of the stadium. This is through Washington DC sports betting, not Maryland.