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Best Baseball Betting Strategies for 2023 MLB Betting

Jackson Porreca

by Jackson Porreca

Updated Mar 29, 2023 · 4:13 PM PDT

Baseball betting strategies are a dime a dozen, but it’s worth taking the time to find a few that work. There are plenty of online pundits and anonymous internet commentators more than happy to debate their merits, and it can be challenging to know which strategies are worth paying attention to.

We took the time to highlight a few basic MLB betting strategies that will help you bet on baseball games with more success. Whether you are new to the game and watching your first inning or a seasoned professional who can recite the number of runs the Boston Red Sox currently have, these tips should help you raise the bar when it comes to betting on the latest baseball odds.

Here is a look at the best baseball betting strategies for this MLB season.

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Baseball Betting Strategies for Wagering on MLB in 2023

Major League Baseball (MLB) betting on the regular season and playoffs has become a big favorite among sports bettors. Of course, there are certain factors that make MLB betting unique from NFL and NBA betting and that’s why you need to consider certain baseball betting strategies that can help you outsmart oddsmakers and win big with bookmakers.

To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of useful betting strategies that you can implement into your own baseball betting system with ease. Whether you’re Yankees fan or a Blue Jays diehard, we’ve got some great baseball betting strategies for you.

1. Approach Big Moneyline Favorites with Caution

Beginner baseball bettor often spend way too much time wagering on massive moneyline bet favorites. It’s an easy and common mistake to make. You think the New York Yankees look like a powerhouse MLB team this season and you automatically want to wager on them because they have awesome batters or hitters or they’re your home team and you live 10 minutes from their ballpark.

Fight that urge.

While betting on the teams that are most widely expected to win makes sense from a conventional perspective, such an approach costs bettors a lot of money when they fail, which happens a lot more than most people realize.

The mathematics of betting on big moneyline favorites just don’t hold up. For example, if you were to bet the same amount of money on three lopsided moneyline favorites in a row, with each of them listed at -300, you would technically need to win all three bets just to avoid losing money.


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For example, let’s say that you bet $300 on three favorites at -300 odds. The first two favorites win, which nets you $200. However, the third favorite loses at -300. That costs you the $200 you just won as well as an additional $100, so you’d be down overall.

Let’s look at a surprising example to further illustrate how this works:

Justin Verlander of the Houston Astros was a Cy Young candidate going into the 2019 season while playing for a team that was expected to win the World Series. Bettors readily had to lay big numbers each time he pitched.

Verlander finished the season with an impeccable 21-6 record and won the Cy Young Award, yet you would have lost $234 if bet $100 on the Astros moneyline in every game he pitched that season.

Baseball Underdog Betting Strategy

As you can see, you need to achieve an impeccable win-loss record if you want to come out ahead betting heavy moneyline favorites. That’s why they’re almost always a bad value.

If you’re looking to quickly identify which teams consistently provide the best value, take a look at our SBD Sharp betting trends analytics platform. It’ll show you the return on investment for every major bet you could’ve placed during the current season, showing the most and least profitable teams over the course of the year.

While you have the potential to slowly build up your baseball bankroll, it can all fall apart quickly should you lose a couple of those wagers.

2. Pay Attention to the Umpires

Monitoring and using umpire trends is one of the most overlooked factors successful veteran handicappers take advantage of.

For example, let’s say that you noticed two matchups where you felt good about the under. Lance Barksdale is the umpire in the first. In the second matchup, Ted Barrett is calling the game.

In 2019, games with Barksdale behind the plate went under 18/31 times (58% of the time). By contrast, games officiated by Barrett went under 13/29 times (45% of the time). If you wanted to capitalize on these umpire trends, it would clearly make sense to take the under in the first matchup but not the second.


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Difference in strike zones is one of the biggest things that differentiates MLB umpires. Umpires with a tight strike zone might call more walks, ultimately resulting in more baserunners and more runs.

On the other hand, an umpire who’s more flexible with their zone might lead to more strikes called on the corners, less baserunners, and fewer runs.

The players aren’t the only ones on the diamond, and their tendencies aren’t the only thing you should consider when looking for the best baseball betting strategies.

3. Look for Overnight Lines

Some sportsbooks post betting lines earlier than others, and you can take advantage of the early value.

For example, say you’re watching a team play their Tuesday game when you see the Wednesday line has already been posted. Based on their performance, you might make a decision to jump on the odds before most bettors can get their money down.

Track MLB Reverse Line Movement

This is particularly smart if you hear some news about the Wednesday starting pitcher or hop on a line after you see a key injury take place. Books open these lines early to attract business, and they are offering a value to players when they do so. We recommend taking advantage when you can.

Early line movement is another key indicator for your baseball betting strategy. Usually, it’s mostly professionals betting these overnight lines early. If you see a big line move on an overnight line, it might signal that the sharps feel there’s a significant edge to that side.

4. Track First Five Innings Lines

It’s worth considering the first five innings lines anytime you are considering betting on the outcome of a game. First five innings baseball betting allows you to bet on which team is ahead at the end of a complete five innings.

There are a number of reasons to consider limiting your wager to the first five innings, but the ability to focus your betting strategy on the starting pitching is by far the best one.

Baseball Over/Under Betting Strategy

If your pick is based on the starting pitching matchup, then it likely makes sense to bet the five-inning line rather than the full game line. The former focuses on the innings in which those starters are likely to pitch in before the bullpen takes over.

Some teams – like the 2019 Washington Nationals – had excellent starting pitching paired with a terrible bullpen that surely ruined many a good bet.

Bet the five inning line if you’re worried that the bullpen is going to blow it for you.

5. Research Pitcher Trends

Researching pitching trends is the final baseball betting strategy every legitimate MLB handicapper should take advantage of.

There’s no way around it – every play starts with a pitch, and the quality of those pitches matters an awful lot. Closely evaluating each team’s likely pitching lineup is important whether betting on sides, totals or first five inning lines.

When you visit a site like ESPN to examine a pitcher’s profile, take a look at the ‘splits’ section. Splits provide a clear indication of how a pitcher performs in all sorts of various scenarios.

For example, maybe a pitcher performs better in day games than night games. Maybe they perform exceptionally well in certain stadiums but struggle massively at others. Most importantly, track the home-away splits. Finding pitchers who underperform on the road or shine at home can unearth some excellent betting gems.

Hyun-Jin Ryu, for example, was a stud for the Dodgers in the 2019 season. At home, he was 10-1 with a 1.93 ERA and .214 opponent batting average. On the road, he was just 4-4 with a 2.72 ERA – nearly a full run higher than at home – and allowed opponents to bat .253.

Trends like this develop over the course of the season, and they can provide crucial context around a pitcher’s overall statistics.

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Best Baseball Betting Strategies FAQ

Got more questions about the best baseball strategies? Let’s see if we can help you out.

What are some common baseball betting strategies?

Some of the most common baseball betting strategies include paying attention to umpires and tracking first five innings lines.

How do you analyze pitching matchups when betting on baseball?

A great way to analyze pitching matchups when betting on baseball is to research recent pitching trends to get a better idea of how pitchers are performing.

Why do some bettors prefer to bet on underdogs in baseball?

Some bettors prefer to bet on underdogs in baseball because there's generally bigger payouts on underdogs versus favorites.

What team trends and statistics should you analyze when betting on baseball?

You should look at team trends and statistics such as wins, losses, injuries, batting average, RBIs, and home runs.

How do you manage your bankroll when betting on baseball?

To manage your bankroll when betting on baseball, it's important to bet responsibly. Make sure you never go beyond your financial means when placing a baseball bet.

Put These Baseball Betting Strategies to the Test

Practicing these baseball betting strategies firsthand is the best way to determine which ones work well for you.

Once you’ve gotten a feel for them, check out the rest of the baseball advice in our guides on sports betting strategy section. From there, you can identify the most profitable teams of the moment using SBD’s proprietary sports analytics platform.

Always remember to wager responsibly, and enjoy the action out there.


Let's have fun and keep it civil.