MLB Betting Guide (2021)

Read on for our guide to Major League Baseball betting, and discover the best operators available, as well as the top markets and the biggest teams and players in existence!

Top 5 Sites for MLB Betting

  • Instant, no-fee deposits
  • Close to 30 different sports
  • Remote licence from UKGC
  • Saturday Free Bet Club
  • First Bet Insurance
  • Best Odds Guaranteed
  • Excellent new players bonus
  • Round-the-clock customer service
  • No deposit or withdrawal fees
  • Accepts PayPal, NETELLER & Skrill
  • Unique Daily specials for users
  • Generous Free Bet Bundle
  • Excellent sportsbook for US Sports
  • Reputable and trustworthy name in the industry
  • Get a risk-free bet on sign-up

Top 5 Best Betting Sites for Major League Baseball

  1. Marathonbet
  2. GentingBet
  3. bet365
  4. BoyleSports
  5. Unibet

Some of these sites also feature in our baseball betting guide, which also covers leagues outside the US.

When is the next MLB season scheduled for?

The next MLB season is set to begin in April 2021 and end in October of that same year. The playoffs begin with two wildcard matches in late September or early October, the winner of which will proceed to the main postseason playoff series. The Division Series playoffs are settled on a best-of-five basis, while that rises to seven for the final two postseason rounds.

More details about the MLB season can be seen in the section entitled ‘MLB Tournament Structure’.

Popular MLB Markets

If you’re new to MLB betting, it’s important to get accustomed to the commonly offered markets and where you can find the best MLB odds.

Match Win

Unless an operator is running its own promotion, such as a ‘Boosted Price’ bet, this is the first market you will see when clicking on the MLB section of your favourite bookmaker. This also applies to in-play betting, when you have a game or a list of games. During in-play situations, prices invariably fluctuate with a lot of momentum during flashpoint moments, such as home runs. If you're planning on negotiating live markets, you should certainly take a look at our guide to the best in-play betting sites around today.

Best MLB betting site for Match Win: Marathonbet

Handicap Win

Handicap bets can tilt the odds of success in your favour or improve your potential payout. They can also be combined into parlay bets (one bet comprising of several) to really deliver a huge possible win. The most conventional example of a handicap bet for MLB would be for one team to win with a handicap of -1.5. That means they must win by a margin of 2+ home runs for such a bet to prevail.

Best MLB betting site for Handicap Win: bet365

Over / Under Points (Total or Team)

This is another market that enjoys huge popularity, given how easy it is to read up on current MLB form and deduce which teams are likelier to produce a high or low-scoring game. For example, you might back an entire game to produce over 9.5 runs, which means that the runs accrued by both teams must add up to 10 or more. Backing ‘under 9.5 runs’ would require nine or less to be successful. There are possible variants of this market, such as over/under a certain number of runs in one innings alone and/or the number attained by just one team.

Best MLB betting site for Over / Under Points: bet365

MLB Betting Tips

1. Look at Parlays

As already mentioned, parlay bets involve a combination of bets into one, for a payout determined by each individual price after they are multiplied together. However, there is potentially more to parlay betting than merely compiling individual bets. You can also opt to place multiples within parlays, where only a certain number of them need to come through. 

Let’s say you have the following selections on your parlay:

  • Astros – 1.85
  • Braves – 2.00
  • Mets – 2.10
  • Phillies – 3.33
  • Yankees – 3.50

With these five prices on your betting slip, the payout from a bet of Rs 1,000 would be Rs 90,560 (based on a number rounded up to 90.56). However, if you were to pick, say, a four-fold multiple, then you would now have six possible winning combinations (‘winning lines’), as follows:

  • Any combination where one team does not win (5x winning lines)
  • All five to win (1x winning line)

However, your wager would be multiplied by the number of winning lines (in this case six) to cover every possibility.

Some operators offer ‘parlay insurance’ to new and existing users alike, which refers to the offer of a parlay bet where the stake is refunded as a free bet if one leg of the parlay fails. These can also come automatically as part of a promotional parlay; however, in all cases it is worth reading the terms and conditions of any bet involving parlay insurance.

Analyse the Formbook

Teams are ranked based on their win percentage, which means that a lot of the algorithms that shape live odds are based on probability. However, there are more specific elements of form that can be used to justify placing bets in niche markets. Head-to-heads (or ‘H2H’) can also be a factor in form, especially if the coaches and their respective tactics have a long H2H history.

Hedge Your Bets

In ball sports that simply involve two teams, ‘hedging’ means placing a higher amount of money on a massive favourite and a smaller wager on a distant outsider. Depending on how much you want to avoid losses, the two wagers can be placed on either two competing teams in the same match, or on separate matches.

In the case of MLB betting, you might put ₹1,000 on the Red Sox to win a match – as favourites – at odds of 1.33, in which case you would receive ₹330 as winnings on top of your original stake. You could then use that profit to place a bet on a distant outsider, and – at worst – break even.

If, however, the outsider in question is involved in the same match as the Red Sox, then there is good and bad news. The good news is that you are guaranteed a win and a loss (provided that overtime results count as a win/loss), but you would have a reduced profit if the underdog wins. This only works effectively in cases where an underdog is seen as significantly unlikely to win.

Compare MLB Betting Offers

It is very easy to compare operators through a desktop or tablet. Search engines and independent review sites can easily guide you to portals that offer optimal value for your wagering money. New users can also take advantage of a free bet on top of the matched deposit bonuses and sportsbook promo codes. With a free bet, there are no wagering requirements; however, the money cannot be withdrawn from such offers – only winnings can be claimed. The stake is not returned with any winnings, and there may be limits as to which markets it can be used with or how it is used.

Geo-restrictions apply. You must have a funded account or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours

Top MLB Betting Sites – Reviewed

Based on our findings, and the overall guidance seen on our Sports Betting India page, below are the best baseball betting sites currently available.

Marathonbet

Marathonbet Baseball Market

This bookmaker is unique in that it has a reputation for focusing more on market-leading promotions than welcome offers. While new users may feel less inclined to sign up, once they do, they soon realise that they've made the right decision. In particular, Marathonbet’s parlay insurance (or ‘Acca insurance’ in the UK) is very generous, offering a free bet if one leg of a parlay bet fails.

GentingBet

Gentingbet baseball market

Though GentingBet only launched their sportsbook in 2019, they have since adapted well to market demands, and never fail to provide some very competitive MLB betting odds. Their Asian origins tie in well with the Far East’s growing baseball audience. Special promotions are easy to find, and amongst those offers are the usual array of enhanced odds, special accumulators, insurance parlays and free bets.

bet365

bet365 baseball market*Odds correct as of 05/04/21, 9:38 G.M.T.

Based in England, the long-established bet365 offers highly competitive odds in a multitude of US sports, with MLB certainly being one of them. This operator constantly strives to provide innovative promotions that are geared towards every need of the modern online bettor. Their apps on both iOS and Android are known for being easy to use and well-maintained, and allow the same quick free deposits and payouts that are possible on the desktop version.

MLB Tournament Structure

Each MLB franchise is placed into a division within a league based on their geographical location.

American League (AL)

  • AL East
  • AL Central
  • AL West

National League (NL)

  • NL East
  • NL Central
  • NL West

Each team plays 162 regular-season games, with the top teams in each division – granted division winner status by their win percentage – progressing automatically to the playoffs. The two best second-placed teams from each league proceed to the Wild Card round, which precedes the playoffs. The Wild Card round sees each pair of division runners-up face off in a single match, meaning that two teams join the six division winners in the playoffs.

MLB’s playoff phase comprises of three rounds in an eight-team bracket: Division Series (known to some as the ‘MLB quarter-finals’), League Championship Series (MLB semi-finals) and World Series (MLB finals). Teams that finished with a better win percentage in their regular season division than their playoff opponents are granted home turf in the odd game at each stage if one is required (e.g. three of five or four of seven at home).

History of MLB

The MLB’s roots go back to 1903, following the merging of the National League (est. 1876) and the rival American League (est. 1901) into one competition, while retaining the names of each individual league. Games of the early 20th century were largely dull affairs, with pitchers prevailing mostly over hitters, mainly due to the lack of funds needed to replace old balls.

Naturally, this dour state of affairs would not last long. As the only codified baseball tournament in the US, the MLB was able to procure talents from across the country with no difficulty. The US economy boomed in the 1920s, giving rise to the popularity of the sport and the growth of attendances. The Great Depression saw a downturn in attendances, with all but two teams operating at a loss in the early 1930s. The outbreak of World War II in 1939, with America’s involvement in 1941, exacerbated the MLB’s slump, due to a roster that shrank as players went to serve their country.

The decision of then-president Franklin D. Roosevelt to continue the season at the height of America’s war action in 1942 arguably saved the entire league. So too did the move towards breaking the sport’s infamous ‘color line’, which had seen players of African-American descent – or even Latin American origin – restricted to playing in the so-named ‘Negro League’.

While there was an already growing contingent of voices against the color line, the history books predominantly credit Branch Rickey – president and general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers – as the figure who made the telling breakthrough. In 1947, a year after being signed up by Rickey to a contract worth $600 USD per month, Jackie Robinson became the first African-American MLB player in the post-war era. Robinson was a sensational success, enjoying six successive appearances in the All-Star lineup between 1949 and 1954, before winning the World Series in 1955.

As with a number of other flagship US sports leagues, such as the NBA, the three full decades following the war were characterised by a huge leap in the quality of talent and the MLB’s outreach at grassroots and college level. There were also numerable relocation and renovation schemes brought into action, further reinforcing the security of the MLB’s long-term future. The advent of artificial pitches also saw an increase in the pace at which games moved, making it more entertaining than ever. Today, based on revenue, the MLB stands as the second-richest professional sports league, behind the NFL.

More iconic moments can be found on the official MLB website.

MLB Past World Series and League Winners (2001-2020)

YearW. Series WinnerLeague wonW. Series Runner UpLeague won
2020LA DodgersNationalTampa Bay RaysAmerican
2019Washington Nat’sNationalHouston AstrosAmerican
2018Boston Red SoxAmericanLA DodgersNational
2017Houston AstrosAmericanLA DodgersNational
2016Chicago CubsNationalCleveland I’sAmerican
2015Kansas City RoyalsAmericanNew York MetsNational
2014San Fr’cisco GiantsNationalKansas City RoyalsAmerican
2013Boston Red SoxAmericanSt Louis CardinalsNational
2012San Fr’cisco GiantsNationalDetroit TigersAmerican
2011St Louis CardinalsNationalTexas RangersAmerican
2010San Fr’cisco GiantsNationalTexas RangersAmerican
2009New York YankeesAmericanPhiladelphia Ph’sNational
2008Philadelphia Ph’sNationalTampa Bay RaysAmerican
2007Boston Red SoxAmericanColorado RockiesNational
2006St Louis CardinalsNationalDetroit TigersAmerican
2005Chicago White SoxAmericanHouston AstrosNational
2004Boston Red SoxAmericanSt Louis CardinalsNational
2003Florida MarlinsNationalNew York YankeesAmerican
2002Anaheim AngelsAmericanSan Fr’cisco GiantsNational
2001Arizona D’backsNationalNew York YankeesAmerican

Last updated on 28 March 2021. Teams in Italics are defunct or relocated.

MLB Key Facts and Records

Selected Batting Records

RecordPlayer#
Highest batting average Ty Cobb.366
Most singlesPete Rose3,215
Most doublesTris Speaker 792
Most triplesSam Crawford 309
Most home runsBarry Bonds762
Most grand slamsAlex Rodriguez25

Selected Pitching Records

RecordPlayer#
Most winsCy Young511
Most lossesCy Young316
Lowest E.R.AEd Walsh1.82
Most no-hittersNolan Ryan7
Most strikeoutsNolan Ryan5,714
Most shutoutsWalter Johnson110
Most pickoffsSteve Carlton144

Three fun facts:

  • Cal Ripken Jr. (the ‘Iron Man’) once played 2,632 consecutive games.
  • There are 108 hand-crafted stitches in an official MLB baseball.
  • The longest baseball game ever lasted eight hours and six minutes.

MLB Betting FAQs

When is MLB scheduled?

The 2021 season is scheduled to run between April and October.

What are some of the best MLB betting sites?

Based on our findings, the three best MLB betting sites are Marathonbet, GentingBet and bet365.

Are there mobile apps for MLB betting?

Yes – many of the best bookmakers with cricket betting apps will also offer MLB betting.

What must the best MLB betting sites have?

Features of any top bookmaker should include the following:

  • Easy depositing and withdrawing procedures
  • A wide range of deposit / withdrawal options
  • 24/7 Customer support
  • Industry certifications and clear regulations
  • Terms and conditions pages easily visible

There should also be a high-quality facility to live stream MLB games.

What is the best way to deposit/withdraw cash?

You can easily withdraw winnings via PayPal or paper cheque. PayPal funds are received in 3-5 days, whereas a cheque usually arrives via post in 7-14 days. The use of virtual wallets, such as Skrill, should also be made possible. All winnings are subject to review from the operator, but this is generally a formality.

Geo-restrictions apply. You must have a funded account or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours

CricketBettingAdvice Final Say

MLB betting is a challenge, but beginners can easily get to grips with the basic markets listed above. They provide a good foundation on which to develop your ‘game’ when it comes to live or pre-match wagering. Along with the NBA and NFL, the MLB placed in the top three most profitable sports leagues in the world during the Q2 of 2020. This alone ensures that most reputable bookmakers will provide very competitive odds for every match played under the MLB brand.

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