MLB & Baseball Betting Sites & Offers
Baseball is probably the most ‘American’ of all the US Sports. Despite being much older than American Football, basketball and ice hockey, and despite having had a ‘World Series’ for over 115 years, the sports is really only played to any professional degree in the USA and oriental countries such as Japan.
This however has all changed in the last few decades as TV coverage and internet streaming has grown. The world is also a more traveled place meaning baseball exposure and demand has grown through ex-pat American’s. Of course the other vital factor is online betting. Prior to betting sites you would struggle to bet on a ball game across the pond, but these days you can bet on everything from the World Series to the South Korean KBO league.
Whatever markets you want to wager on you can now find with most UK-facing and European bookies. On this page we look at the best betting sites for free bets and other offers and those with good prices, market depth, streaming and other features to add value to your bets.
Baseball Free Bets & Betting Offers
Earn more on your US sports pre-game parlays with bet365, including regular and post-season Football, Basketball, Ice Hockey and Baseball games. You can earn a bonus of up to 70% if you place winning parlays, of 2 or more selections, combining teams in the NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL on the following 2-Way markets: Spread, Run Line, Puck Line, Game Totals, 1st and 2nd Half Point Spread, 1st Half Totals and 2nd Half Totals markets.
The bonus will not apply where a stake has been fully Cashed Out. Where a stake has been partially Cashed Out, the bonus will be calculated based on the remaining active stake. Where all selections within the bet have been marked as won and this has been Cashed Out for the full return value, the bonus will apply and the maximum bonus that you can receive is £100,000 or currency equivalent. If a qualifying bet is edited using our Edit Bet feature, the bonus will be calculated based on the new stake. Where a bet has been edited to include or amend a selection for an event that is In-Play, the bonus will no longer apply.
Bets placed with Bet Credits, Parlay Cards, Teasers or combination bets with bonuses such as Lucky 15’s or Lucky 31’s do not apply for this offer. T&Cs apply. Only available to new and eligible customers.
This is available for any baseball, including MLB, but can also be mixed with any American Football, Basketball and Ice Hockey, USA leagues and those from around the world.
Place 5+ selections in your accumulator with odds greater than 3/10 (1.3) and if one of those picks should let you down you will get your stake back up to £25, minimum £5. This is awarded in £5 incremental free bets (each with a one week expiry open to any sportsbook markets), e.g. place an £18 bet and one leg fails get £15 back as 3 x £5 free bets. Therefore if using this offer it generally makes sense to bet in units of £5.
Best baseball Betting Sites
Bet365If you want reliably good value prices, bigger market depth than pretty much anywhere else and long standing offers then Bet365 is your home for baseball betting.
CoralCoral are a solid option, you can guarantee a large range with plenty of advance availability and decent prices. The real draw here is loyalty as you can earn a lot of added value.
Red Zone SportsRed Zone Sports are a UK site but a specialist in US Sports, offering the lowest margins around and with many lines not even available elsewhere, plus lots of offers & loyalty.
William HillWilliam Hill are simply massive and this means you can’t ignore them, the wealth of resources here means they are leader in pretty much everything, including baseball.
Paddy PowerPaddy Power can be middle of the road for standard odds but then they have so many great offers that by holding an account with them can still add a lot of value.
888 Sport888 are a global brand and one of the few companies that still operate in the US. This means they know their stuff when it comes to pricing up markers and knowing what punters want.
Baseball History, How To Play, Events & Rules
The vast majority of British and European people have always had a mixed relationship with American sports. On the one hand, we’re snooty about the way that they approach a sport like football and completely underplay it, yet on the other most people never take the time to learn how the games that are national pastimes in the US are played. That’s the important point that you need to remember when it comes to looking at a sport such as baseball – it’s not only a sport, it’s a way of life. At the age of four American children play in the Little League, with more than two and a half million doing so with the official organisation and countless others playing in local leagues.
English sports fans might mock Americans for getting excited about watching the final of a sport that only they play and yet calling it the ‘World Series’, but it’s indicative of how seriously the country takes it as well as where the game’s lovers feel it should be in the rankings of sports around the globe. Those that have ever seen baseball live understand its appeal more than those who have only seen it on TV; it’s as much about the social aspect of having a drinks and catching up with friends as it is about the sport. Yet it’s a difficult sport to completely comprehend unless you have a vague idea of how the rules work before you sit down to watch it. On this page you’ll learn about baseball’s history, plus the basics of how it plays and the major winners in the sport’s best-known tournaments.
History Of Baseball
If you’ve read any of the other pieces on this site that introduce you to various sports then the introductory line of this one won’t be a surprise, but the exact origins of the sport aren’t entirely known. A game played with a bat and ball took place in Egypt, which we know because the ball used can be seen at the British Museum, should you wish to go there and view it. Perhaps somewhat unsurprisingly, games played with a bat and ball have been popular throughout history, thanks in no small part to their simplicity. Whether it be Romanians, Russians and even French monks playing a ball and bat based game in the fourteenth century or milkmaids playing Stoolball in England in the century that followed, evidence of games similar to baseball can be found where you look.
Some people believe that baseball came out of rounders, which was a game that was played in England in the eighteenth century and is in some ways reminiscent of the American sport, but that’s unlikely to be true. It’s far more likely that both games were derivations of cricket, given that it was formalised in the seventeenth century, before either of the others were really well-known games. There was another game called ‘English Baseball’, which is still played in part of Wales. That is more like a hybrid between rounders and cricket as a run is scored every time a player reaches a base. The likelihood is that baseball evolved out of these games when they arrived in North America via Canada in the wake of the American Civil War. Indeed, the first reference to it came in 1791 in the bylaws of a town called Pittsfield in Massachusetts.
By the time the nineteenth century was well underway, bat and ball games were played with regularity throughout North America. Known variously as ‘town ball’, ‘round-ball’ and ‘base-ball’, they bore similarities to the sport that baseball would later become. One of the major moments in the development of the game came about in 1845 with the formation of the ‘Knickerbocker Rules’. Codified by a member of the Knickerbocker Club called Alexander Cartwright, the rules forbade certain practices common in the street games and allowed the use of a smaller ball than previous. Though not all of the rules were the same as those that would be locked-in for baseball – you had to bowl underhand, for example – there were enough similar ones for historians to believe that that was the moment that the game of baseball developed out of.
Whatever the truth of the matter is, it’s widely accepted that the first game of baseball as a game similar to the one we now know took place in June of 1846, with the Knickerbockers losing to the New York Nine. Over the following twenty years or so, baseball clubs began to spring up all over the place. In 1857 the National Association of Base Ball Players became the sport’s first governing body of any sort. In the half a century that followed, those Knickerbocker Rules were altered, changed and refined until the sport became the modern one you’ll watch if you head to a baseball ground. As a result, numerous different leagues were formed, the oldest of which is the National League that was founded 1876. It would be untrue to suggest that all of the leagues saw eye-to-eye, especially as some of them specifically forbade black players from taking part. This culminated in the forming of the World Series in 1903.
How To Play Baseball and Rules Of The Game
As suggested before, baseball is quite a complex game to get your head around if you’ve never played it or your knowledge is limited to catching moments of it played out on television. The first thing to understand is the number of players that are involved in a game, which is eighteen. This is made up of nine players on each team, which can be broadly separated into the fielding team and the batting team. The two teams swap roles when three players on the batting team have been called ‘out’. The idea of the sport is to score more runs than your opponents, which you’ll have nine innings in which to try to do. American sports tend not to like draws, so if the two teams are level at the end of those nine innings then extra ones can be played until a winner is found. There is no timer on a baseball game, meaning that it can keep going until it’s over.
Baseball is played on a diamond-shaped pitch, which boasts four bases at a distance of ninety feet apart. The pitching mound, where the pitcher is located, is in the middle of the infield opposite the Home Plate. The Home Plate is where the batter finds themselves at the start of the game, with the other bases called First Base, Second Base and Third Base. Behind the batter is the catcher, whose job it is to catch any balls that the batter doesn’t hit. The idea behind the sport is that the batter wants to hit the ball as far as they can in order to run around the bases and touch each of them on the way past. The pitcher, meanwhile, wants to throw the ball in such a way that the batter will attempt to hit it but miss. The batter is allowed three misses, known as ‘Strikes’, before they’re out. Every time a batter runs right the way around the bases it’s known as a run, with balls leaving the playing area being declared to be a ‘Home Run’.
The fielding team is hoping to stop a player from making it around the bases, which they do by throwing the ball to a teammate who is guarding each base and getting it them before the batter arrives. If the batter gets there first then they can wait until the next batter in the team hits the ball and then make an attempt to reach the Home Plate. Having a series of people on each of the bases is known as ‘loading the bases’ and allows the batter to score several points from one hit, should they all make it home. There are several rules in baseball that are important to understand in order to know what’s happening in a game. They are as follows:
- Both teams need win players, with relief players available for long games
- Games last for nine innings, unless tied after nine when more can be played
- The batting order remains the same throughout the game
- If a batter hits the ball then they must try to reach a base
- Batters get ‘Strikes’ when they attempt to hit a ball and miss
- If a batter leaves a ball but it’s within the ‘Strike Zone’ then it’s all classed as a Strike
- Batters on a Base can attempt to run to the next one at any moment
- There are several other ways for a batter to be got ‘out’. These include a player being beaten to the base by a defensive player (Force Out), the ball being caught without hitting the floor first (Fly Out) and being touched with the ball by a defensive player whilst running between bases (Tag Out)
The various positions that are filled by the defensive fielding team include the aforementioned Pitcher, who is responsible for bowling the ball to the batsman, the Catcher, the First Baseman, the Second Baseman, the Third Baseman and three outfield players. These tend to be situated in the left field, the right field and, unsurprisingly, the centre field.
Major baseball Events and Competitions
When it comes to discussing the various baseball competitions that are in play, it’s not easy. After all, the sport of most popular in America and there are only two major leagues there and only one significantly competition. That’s not the be all and end all of baseball’s place in the world, however. The sport is also well-loved in both Canada and Japan. Here, then, is a look at the major competitions that you might find yourself watching and choosing to bet on:
- The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs – Better known simply as the National League, this was founded in 1876 and features fifteen teams. It tends to be thought of in three sections, with the National League East featuring teams such as the Miami Marlins, New York Mets and the Washington Nationals, whist the National League Central has the Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals, amongst others. Finally, the National League West has the Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Fransisco Giants amongst its teams.
- The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs – The younger professional baseball league in America is known as the American League. Having developed out of the Western League from the Great Lake States, it took on its Major League status in 1901. As with the National League, this one is often viewed in three parts. The AL East boasts the likes of the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees in its number, whilst the AL Central features sides such as the Chicago White Sox. Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals. The AL West, meanwhile, sees sides like the Houston Astros, Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers in its ranks.
- The World Series – Every year the winners of the The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs and The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs go up against each other. First played in 1903, the winner of the World Series is considered to be the best baseball team on the planet until the following year. It’s a best-of-seven series, the winner of which is awarded the Commissioner’s Trophy.
- The Central League – This is Japan’s equivalent to the National League in America. It features six teams such as the Chunichi Dragons, the Hiroshima Toyo Carp and the Yomiuri Giants. Having been founded in 1949, the league has grown in popularity year on year.
- The Pacific League – The equivalent of the American League, this division was also formed in 1949. As with its Central alternative, it has six teams within its ranks like the Chiba Lotte Marines, the Orix Buffaloes and the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.
- The Japan Series – Japan’s equivalent to the World Series is the Japan Series. It was founded in 1950 and sees the winner of the Central League go up against the best team in the Pacific League. The extent to which it models itself on the World Series can be seen in the fact that it’s also a best-of-seven set of games, with the winner being declared to be the Nippon Professional Baseball Champions.
- World Baseball Classic – Founded in 2005, this tournament was designed to bring the best baseball teams together and promote the sport around the world. It’s modelled around the idea of the World Cup and is a tournament in which nations, rather than specific teams, go head-to-head.
Baseball Key Facts & Figures
|Competition||Most Successful Team|
|The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs||San Francisco Giants|
|The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs||New York Yankees|
|The World Series||New York Yankees|
|The Central League||Yomiuri Giants|
|The Pacific League||Seibu Lions|
|The Japan Series||Yomiuri Giants|
|World Baseball Classic||Japan|
As mentioned, the sport of baseball is predominantly popular in the US, Canada and Japan. There have been attempts to change that in recent years by creating tournaments that welcome teams from around the globe, but it hasn’t yet caught on hugely in the wider imagination.
Above is a list of the most successful teams in each of the tournaments mentioned, with some rather obvious crossovers. After all, if a team is the most successful in one half of the baseball leagues in the US then they’re also likely to have won more World Series’ than another side.