Major League Baseball’s regular season traditionally runs from late March through the end of September. For fans, that translates into 162 games for their favorite teams and a ton of daily out-of-market action to enjoy.
Betting on the MLB is big business as it’s one of the top choices at legal and regulated sportsbooks. The interest level continues to grow by leaps and bounds as more states give the green light to sports wagering. Pennsylvania is among the states that are ahead of the curve, and business is booming.
In 2020, due to the global pandemic, that schedule won’t take place as usual but a modified, reduced schedule beginning in the summer is possible. In the interim, ESPN has signed a deal to broadcast games from the electrifying Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) and markets are open to PA bettors
Reading baseball odds and lines can seem confusing at first glance, but they’re really quite simple. We’ll cover everything you need to know right here from the most popular MLB bets to the best MLB betting apps to get in on the action.
Yes, it’s completely legal to bet on sports, including baseball, in PA at licensed and regulated operators. Pennsylvania was one of the first to act in the wake of the landmark US Supreme Court ruling in May 2018, which effectively placed the legality question in the hands of individual states.
Retail sportsbooks began opening their doors toward the end of the same year, and an online sportsbooks and betting apps followed in 2019. You can bet on all the major sports in PA, including MLB, and there is a wide range of bet types.
Single-game wagers are perfectly fine, as are multi-team parlays and player props. The only caveat in PA is that the wagers must revolve around an actual sporting event. So you won’t find betting on things that are classified as entertainment or political, or non-game related sports bets such as on the NFL Draft.
If you want to bet on baseball frequently it’s hard to beat the convenience and efficiency of a sportsbook app. Once you download an MLB betting app, it’s like having the full sportsbook in your pocket. Apps from the industry leaders are easy to install, simple to use, and beyond convenient. You can bet from anywhere within state borders at any time.
To verify that you are where you say you are, sports betting apps use geolocation verification technology to track your whereabouts. It’s not intrusive in the slightest, and it will prompt you to learn all you need to know while signing up.
Here are the top mobile apps you can use to bet on MLB in PA:
With Major League Baseball in the US still developing a plan to get the 2020 season started safely, the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) is primed to start their season on May 5. A new deal with ESPN in the US will also see a number of KBO games broadcast to US viewers.
All of the major sportsbooks in PA have taken notice and posted markets for PA bettors. You’ll find the standard game lines and alternate lines listed along with game props and futures for the KBO season. Here’s a quick look at the teams of the KBO and their current futures odds for the KBO season:
Bat flips and cheermasters – While the average MLB game can be a good time, the in-stadium atmosphere would be considered a bit staid compared to a KBO game. Not only is a cheermaster employed to rally fans into making more noise, bat flips are welcomed in the KBO, making it the anti-thesis to MLB in that regard.
144 games (and ties) – The KBO season is 144 games and each team plays each other team 16 times. Different from MLB games can end in ties in both the regular season (after 12 innings) and the playoffs (15 innings). Playoff games that end in a tie are replayed from the beginning!
3 foreign players per team – Eric Thames, recently of the Milwaukee Brewers, made his bones in the KBO and several American players will be recognizable to US baseball fans. Aaron Altherr (formerly of the Phillies) and Preston Tucker might ring a bell. Pitcher Adrian Sampson will join his KBO team if the quarantine is lifted to let him fly to Korea.
Doosan is team to beat – The Doosan Bears are considered the best team with 3 championships in the past 5 years. The Samsung Lions have eight franchise titles under their belts. The Kia Tigers have 11, but those were mostly in the 80s.
There are three facets to an MLB betting line:
Oddsmakers set the lines for each MLB game in advance. You can typically get a sneak peek the night before, with all MLB odds officially released the day of the game.
After the lines come out, the public gets its chance to react. You may see movement in the odds as a result of market action. Paying attention to shifts in the lines from the open to the time you are ready to place your bets can help to give you a great sense of market sentiment and allow you to spot potential value opportunities.
There are several ways to bet on MLB. Let’s take a look at the most popular bet types:
For a moneyline wager, you simply choose who will win the game between the favorite and underdog.
Also known as over/under bets, sportsbooks set the bar with estimated runs scored in the game, and bettors then weigh in.
A wager on the margin of victory. It’s typically set at 1.5 runs for baseball. You choose the favorite, minus the runs, or the underdog, plus the runs.
These bets revolve only around the first five innings of the game. Your bet is based on who is leading the game at the end of the 5th inning. This bet continues to grow in popularity.
This is an option to increase or decrease the standard run line in a bid to find more favorable returns.
Typically, this wager revolves around whether or not a run will be scored in the first inning of an MLB game.
These wagers revolve around which team will come out on top in a full set of games.
For even more MLB betting opportunities, take a look at the prop bet offerings for each game on the docket. A prop bet is essentially a side wager on something that may or may not happen during a game. You’ll find props that revolve around individual players, as well as team-based scenarios to consider, such as:
In advance of the MLB regular season, oddsmakers release estimated win totals for each of the 30 teams. It’s part of the futures market, and bettors can decide if they like a team to win more or less than the estimated number of games. For example:
Win totals make for a great way to get a handle on the upcoming season.
After a glance from top to bottom, you’ll have a sense of which teams are contenders or pretenders, and which ones project to be somewhere in the middle.
After the initial release, the baseball odds and totals may adjust based on market action or events that may impact a team, such as an unexpected trade of a star player.
The MLB futures market is quite active and potentially lucrative, but remember that these are long-term wagers in which your stake will be tied up until the bet can be settled one way or the other.
Live betting allows you to get in on the action after the first pitch. Also known as in-play wagering, MLB live betting offers new opportunities as the action unfolds on the field in real-time.
Opportunities will vary based on what transpires on the field, but here’s a sampling of some of the more popular wagers you may come across:
Live betting continues to rise in popularity, and it has essentially become a must-have feature at online sportsbooks with betting apps.
There are three distinct parts to a complete MLB season.
Pitchers and catchers typically report to camp by the middle of February, while the remainder of the team arrives soon thereafter.
Preseason takes place in Florida and Arizona, and each team will have several games to play as they get ready for the regular season.
Betting is available on MLB spring training, but be selective with your choices as playing time for stars and top pitchers is tough to project.
The games that matter begin in late March and run through the end of September.
Each of MLB’s 30 teams play a 162-game schedule. Teams are broken down into two leagues — American and National — with three divisions each.
The division winners at the end of the regular season qualify for the postseason, as do two wild card teams. Regular-season odds and lines attract much more attention than during spring training, and bettors can make more educated guesses.
Five teams from both the American and National leagues qualify for the playoffs.
The two wild card teams in the league — the squads with the best records outside of the division winners — open things up with a single-elimination game. The winner advances to the divisional round.
There are two divisional round series in each league, and the winners advance to the League Championship Series.
The winners of the two LCS will advance to the World Series. Betting on the MLB postseason is incredibly popular, so paying attention to line moves from open to game time is even more critical this time of year.
PA is home to a pair of MLB teams, both of which have incredibly passionate followings.
It was a challenging 2019 season for a Phillies team, which was expected to be a factor in the NL postseason. Optimism is high that better days are coming, as the futures market points to Philadelphia being in the mix for a playoff spot this year.
The Pirates haven’t tasted the postseason since 2015. It’s not looking like that’s going to change in 2020, either, as the futures market has the regular-season win total set at 69.5. That said, it’s not out of the question for the team to outperform expectations.
Scores of baseball players from PA have made it to the highest level of the sport. Here are five of the best MLB players from the state, all of whom have been enshrined in the Hall of Fame:
Matt Adams, Neil Walker and Nate Karns are among the current MLB players who were born in PA.
While getting started with MLB betting may seem intimidating at first glance, it doesn’t take long to get up to speed. Just like starting with any new sport, it’s essential to keep it simple at the beginning and build out from there. Here are a few basic points to get started:
After you have mastered these four steps, you can begin building out your MLB betting strategy. You can begin examining more advanced hitting and pitching stats and look at historical team versus pitcher matchups, for example.
The most important part of building out a strategy is zeroing in on the factors that you feel move the needle the most. It’s easy to get lost in the analysis, but a focused plan can help cut your time down immensely.
There are plenty of MLB betting strategies to be found on the interwebs as well, so take the time to do some research and pull out the pieces that you like from each. Here are a few popular methods that MLB bettors use:
The futures market allows bettors to weigh in on events that have yet to happen. For MLB, you can wager on things such as the winner of the World Series, team win totals and the winners of individual player awards.
A run line is pretty similar to the point spread in other sports. For MLB, the run line is typically set at 1.5 runs. To cover the bet, favorites need to win by an amount greater than that. Underdogs cover by keeping the margin closer than that or winning the game outright.
This option covers you in the event that there’s a change in the starting pitching matchup.
For a listed pitcher bet, it will only be considered valid if the announced starters end up starting the game. If there’s a change, the wager is considered a void and will be refunded.
Rules for suspended games can vary, so you’ll need to consult the rules at your sportsbook for specifics. Typically, games that are called after five innings due to weather that have a clear winner will be considered official and bets will be settled.
This is a wager that revolves only around the first five innings of the game. These bets have been growing in popularity in recent years. In theory, the first five bets take bullpens out of the equation and allow bettors to focus on starting pitching matchups.