Live MLB Betting

Online sportsbooks allow bettors to wager on the result of every batter during a game. Others are more limited, offering live bets before every ½ inning and between pitching changes.

What I like most about live baseball betting is that it can add excitement to an otherwise boring game. Even a game between the two worst teams in baseball can be a lot of fun if you’re betting on it. Plus, live bets start for as little as $1, so even a small bankroll can go a long ways.

Types of MLB Live Bets

Since baseball is a game of numbers, it’s a great sport for live betting. The large volume of stats that can be compiled, along with a minimum of 27 batters per team means that online sportsbooks can create a wide variety of live bets.

Outcome of the Next Plate Appearance

PitchFor a true in-play gambling experience, sports handicappers can bet on the outcome of every at-bat in a game. This is great for those with adult ADHD who prefer to gamble than spend their money on meds (like me).

There aren’t a lot of bookmakers offering this type of MLB live betting yet, but some are.

As in-running betting continues to grow, competition will force every major book to offer these types of bets. For now, there are two ways that bettors can wager on every plate appearance.

First, some MLB betting sites offer odds on every potential result. For example, at the Bovada Sportsbook, bettors can choose between a batter getting a single, double or triple (in one bet), home run, walk or hit-by-pitch (in one bet), strikeout, ground out, or fly out.

In these types of live bets, you better know your stuff or you’ll go broke very fast. What type of pitcher is on the mound? Is he a fly-ball pitcher, a ground-ball pitcher, strikeout pitcher? How does he fare against lefties & righties? How has he fared against this hitter in the past? There are so many elements involved that making consistent profits with these types of bets can be very difficult.

To maximize your winning potential, choose 3-4 batters in a game, and the opposing starter. Keep your research limited to a small number of matchups, and be as prepared as you can for each of them.

The other popular way to bet on each at-bat is much easier. Bettors can select between two potential outcomes. One outcome includes the player getting a hit, walk, or hit by the pitch. The other outcome is that the batter records an out. It doesn’t matter how he gets out, an out is an out is an out.

With this type of wager, the bettor should record more wins. However, the odds will be much lower as well. With a 10% vig, it’s very difficult to be a winner with these bets in the long-term. Serious punters should stay away from these bets, but casual punters who are looking to create some entertainment value without worrying about potential losses will find these to be fun.

Total Pitches Thrown in a Half Inning

These bets are most commonly offered as a total bet, where the bettor selects the over or under. For example, a site might post the total number of pitches at 17, and the bettors job is to determine if the pitcher will throw more than 17, or fewer than 17 pitches. If you think he’ll throw more than 17, you’d select the ‘over’.

If you think he’ll throw fewer than 17, you’d select the under. If he were to throw exactly 17 pitches, these bets are pushed and the bettor would get his original wager back. Some baseball betting sites use .5 (as in 17.5), which means that every bet is a win or a loss, with no pushes.

Total Strikeouts Thrown in a Half Inning

MLBBetting sites offer these bets in a couple of different ways. One way that is common is for the bettors to select 0, 1, 2, or 3 strikeouts. In these bets, the punter must select the exact number of strikeouts, or the bet is lost.

The other common way to bet on total strikeouts is on the over/under of 1.5. With this bet, handicappers that choose the over need the pitcher to strike out 2 or 3 batters. On the under, you need the pitcher to strike out 0 or 1 batter.

Since most pitchers strike out 0 or 1 batter in a typical inning, odds for the under are generally much lower than the over. Typically, the best time to select the over is when you have a strikeout pitcher going against the bottom of the order, especially in the National League when a pitcher is due to come to the plate.

Runs in the Next ½ Inning or Full Inning

These are simple wagers where the bettor chooses how many runs they think a team will score during their at-bat, or the combined score of both teams in an inning.

At most baseball betting websites, bettors can select 0, 1, 2, 3 or 4+ runs, but there are variations at each book. Some bookmakers offer these in over/under format, where the bettor selects over or under a predetermined number. Sportsbooks that offer these types of bets generally offer them in a variety of numbers, allowing the bettor to select over or under on .5, 1.5, or 2.5 run totals. With each run added, the over will have greater odds. It might seem easy to select the under at 2.5, but the odds are generally too low to provide value.

3 Way Handicap

The 3 way handicap is a common bet offered at Bet365.com. These are fun bets to make, and are another way to bet on the final outcome of a game. Instead of betting on the run line or money line, these are handicapped bets with odds that continually change as the score changes. Here’s how they work:

At the beginning of a game, one team is given a handicap (usually +1 run), and the opposing team has to give up the same number of runs. Punters can select either side, or the tie with handicap. For example:

New York Yankees: +1 (+145)
Boston Red Sox: -1 (+140)
Tie: Yankees +1 (+300)

In this game, the Yankees would need to win the game by one or more runs (because there is no tie in baseball), for bets on them to win. For the Red Sox, they would need to win by 2 or more runs because they’re giving up one run. So, a 7 – 5 Red Sox win becomes a 7 – 6 Red Sox win after the +1 handicap is given to the Yankees. For the tie with handicap to win, the Yankees would need to lose the game by exactly one run. So, a 6 – 5 Yankees loss becomes a 6 – 6 tie with the +1 handicap.

Total Hits in Game

Total hits props are usually offered as an over/under bet for both teams combined. At some sportsbooks, these bets can also be placed on each team individually. These are simple total bets where the sportsbook selects a number of total hits they think the teams will record over the course of a game, and the bettors job is to decide if that number is too high or too low. If you think the teams will record more hits than the posted total, you would select the over.

If you think they’ll record fewer hits, you’d select the under.

My favorite time to bet on hit totals is when both teams have good pitchers on the mound, and both teams hit poorly. The posted hit total will usually be lower than the typical game, and the over becomes more attractive. In games like these, there is a better chance of a low scoring game that could go into extra innings, giving us more at-bats to win the over. Also, the initial total was based on two solid pitchers having their typical solid game. If just one of the two starters has a bad night, that could be all we need to win this bet.

Race to X Runs

BaseballAnother fun live bet, run races come down to starting pitchers. In these types of bets, a bettor selects a team to be first to reach X number of runs. For example, you can bet on which team will be first to score 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7+ runs. You can also bet on neither team scoring X+ number of runs.

The trick to consistently winning these types of bets is knowing the starting pitchers. If one pitcher generally starts slow and gets stronger as the game goes on, he’s more likely to give up runs early in the game. If a pitcher usually starts strong, obviously he’ll be harder to score on early. This type of live bet is about figuring out which team is more likely to score early, and which team is likely to score late.

An ideal situation to pick a team to win a lower race total (0-2 runs) is when one pitcher starts very strong (choosing his team to win low race totals). An ideal situation to win a higher race total (3+ runs) is when a starting pitcher usually pitches a maximum of 5-6 innings in a game, and the bullpen is weak.

Lead After X Innings

These MLB live bets are just as the title reads, it’s about picking which team will have the lead after X number of innings. These are complimentary bets to run race totals, and sharp bettors who’ve done their homework can make nice profits when they’re right.

The ideal situation for making money on these bets is when one team should lead early, and the opposing team should eventually win. When this happens, the team who is leading early will have lower odds than their opponent. If you’re right, and pick a team to come back for the win later in the game, the greater odds you’ll receive can turn into a nice payday.

Hit in the Next ½ Inning

These are possibly the simplest type of live baseball bet that can be made. A bettors job is simple – select yes or no on a team getting a hit in their next at-bat. If you think they’ll get a hit, select yes. If you think they won’t, select no. In the middle of a lineup, odds will be lower for ‘yes’ then they will later in the lineup.

The key to winning these types of bets are the matchups. Look for hitters late in a lineup who have had success against the opposing pitcher in the past. For example, if the 6-7-8 hitters are due up in the next half inning and two of them have had good success against the opposing pitcher, this is usually the best time to make this type of bet.

Most Hits in the Next Inning

These are wagers where a bettor needs to predict which team will record the most hits in the next inning. Obviously, the idea is to compare the hitter/pitcher matchups. The problem here is the same as it is in lots of MLB live bets – finding value.

To find value, look for hitters in the 5-9 spots of a batting order that have success against an opposing pitcher, going against the heart of the lineup for the opposing team. You’ll get better odds, and a legitimate chance at a win. In many cases, just one total hit will be the difference in winning this wager.

Winning Margin Live Bets

Winning margin bets in baseball are essentially the same thing as they are in other sports. Most sportsbooks offer these in selections of 1, 2, 3, or 4+ run margins, with odds that change as the game plays out.

My favorite winning margin bet is when two closely matched, low scoring teams face each other. In these games, I like to pick the home team to win by 1, hoping that the game score is low. Of course it helps when both teams have decent starting pitchers and bullpens as well. It’s very hard to predict an exact winning margin of 2 or 3 runs, and winning margins of 4+ are very hit-or-miss. However, there are a lot of one-run games in baseball, and taking the home-field advantage is often a good idea.