Remember when the 2022 MLB season started late because of a lockout? The rule changes the players and owners agreed to could affect how bettors wager on baseball games this year at PA sportsbooks.
Many adjustments agreed upon, such as the pitch clock, banning the shift and larger bases, could change the landscape of MLB betting in PA.
Notable MLB rule changes in 2023
Since the beginning of time, baseball has been the only sport with no clock of any kind. Now, pitchers and hitters are subject to a pitch clock, among other changes.
When the players and owners negotiated the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) last year, they agreed on the following changes and implementations:
Pitch clock rule changes
- 30-second timer between batters
- 15-second timer between pitches with bases empty
- 20-second timer between pitches with runners on
- Batters must be in the box and alert to the pitcher by the 8-second mark
Failure to deliver the ball as a pitcher in the allotted time results in a ball. If the batter is not ready by the 8-second mark, an automatic strike is awarded to the pitcher.
Also, pitchers are allowed two disengagements per at-bat. Step-offs and pickoff attempts are considered disengagements.
Defensive shifts limited
- Must have a minimum of four players on the infield, with at least two infielders completely on either side of second base
- Infielders cannot touch outfield grass
- Infielders may not switch sides
- Bases are now 18 square inches compared to 15
How new rules could affect MLB betting at PA sportsbooks
The newest changes, with the pitch clock in particular, could change the way MLB is bet on. There have already been several instances this spring where the pitch clock has affected the game.
Yankees reliever Wandy Peralta struck out a batter in 20 seconds last week while abiding by the new pitch clock rules.
Then, Mets ace Max Scherzer, used the pitch clock to his advantage to quick-pitch a batter, resulting in a strikeout.
Until hitters quickly get adjusted, betting the over on strikeouts, whether it’s a season-long prop or for a single game, could become a good play. Scherzer’s total for strikeouts for the season is set at Over 210.5 (-115) / Under 210.5 (-110).
Here are notable Phillies pitchers’ season-long strikeout props:
- Aaron Nola: Over 220.5 (-110) / Under 220.5 (-115)
- Zack Wheeler: Over 186.5 (-110) / Under 186.5 (-115)
The new pitch clock rules are going to affect live betting the most.
With a delay between watching on TV and the updates on sportsbooks, it could be tougher for PA sports bettors to live bet at the exact moment they want.
Last season, select PA sportsbooks introduced many new features, which included several flash betting markets. For MLB betting, a top market included the over-under of the velocity of a specific pitch to a batter. With less time between pitches, sportsbooks and bettors have to work much quicker.
Philadelphia Phillies players impacted by rule changes
Phillies outfielder Kyle Schwarber does not have to face the shift anymore.
When betting season-long player props, that could come into play for Schwarber. According to an MLB.com study, Schwarber could have had 12 more hits had the shift been banned last year. His batting average would have been .239, instead of .218.
Though bettors can’t wager on player batting average, DraftKings PA Sportsbook has prop markets for total hits and RBIs for specific players. With the addition of Trea Turner, Schwarber could hit further down in the lineup, giving him more RBI chances. Schwarber’s RBI total sits at Over 92.5 (-115) / Under 92.5 (-110).
Last season, he finished with 94. Those extra 12 hits would do wonders for over bettors.
Turner has led the National League in stolen bases twice and leads the majors in steals (228) and attempts (268) since 2016. With the new rules of larger bases and only two disengagements from pitchers, Turner could once again find himself atop the list for most stolen bases.
Turner stole 27 bases last season and 32 in 2021, leading the NL. DraftKings has the new Phillie with the seventh-best odds to lead the majors in stolen bases at +1400.
Turner has scored 100 or more runs in each of the last two seasons. With a career average of .302 and on-base percentage of .355, Turner also has the seventh-best odds to lead the majors in runs at +1400, as well.
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