Professional baseball isn't as popular as it once was. Make no mistake, it's still relevant. But it has ceded interest in recent decades to football, basketball and soccer. Major League Baseball specifically has failed to keep up with the times. Attention spans aren't what they used to be around the world. They need to figure out a way to speed the game up, and they've thus far failed to do that.
All of which creates a unique market in which baseball remains America's past time but is, quite literally, stuck in the past. Many sportsbettors won't give it the time of day as a result. They either don't follow it or don't understand the nuances of the game enough to capitalize on it financially.
It's time we all played a part in changing that. There is an opening for an uptick in baseball wagering. Sportsbooks have generally gone to great lengths to entice bettors, particularly during the dog days months of summer, when baseball is the only real game in town. They offer special bonuses and even more favorable lines. They are consistent in their odds. They set competitive spreads. They are, for the most part, creating an environment punctuated by opportunity.
We're here to help you take advantage of these potential benefits. In the breakdown that follows, we'll tackle everything from the best sportsbooks to use and valuable betting advice to tips on how to spot the right site for you. The latter is the most important part here—and our main focus. After all, picking the right sportsbook for your gambling aims can make all the difference in the world.
Betting On Baseball Online
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Before we get into a brief overview of the top sites known for taking in baseball bets, let us first outline the premise of their eventual inclusion.
This is all about prospective bonuses. As a new user, you want to roll with a site that doesn't just start you out with your initial investments. You want investments—extra money that allows you to take some additional chances and experiment with a few different wagers.
Most of these promotions will invariably come in the form of initial deposit matches and free plays. We'll get into the specifics of these in a moment, but the term you need to keep in mind throughout your search for a first (or second or third or fourth) sportsbook is "rollover."
What is this? It's essentially a caveat to your bonus money and bets. For example, some sportsbooks will give you a 50 percent deposit bonus worth up to $1,000. This ensures you'll receive 50 percent more on your investment of $2,000 or less. But a rollover will be attached to that money. These conditions can vary ranging anywhere from five to 25.
If you receive a $1,000 bonus with a 10-time rollover, you need to bet 10 times the amount of this money before you're allowed to withdraw it. In this case, that would mean placing $10,000 worth of wagers. This doesn't apply to the money you yourself directly put in. You'll still be able to withdraw that. But you won't be able to make the promotional bonus your own without investing it 10 times over.
With all of this in mind, please find the best bonuses available from around the web just below.
Current Top Offers From US Friendly Sportsbooks
- Bovada:$250 welcome bonus, plus 50 percent tacked onto your first deposit (up to $250)
- BetOnline:50 percent bonus on first deposit (up to $1,000)
- SportsBetting:50 percent bonus on first deposit (up to $1,000)
- 5Dimes:50 percent bonus on first deposit (up to $520)
- Bookmaker: 15 percent bonus on first deposit (up to $600)
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that various sportsbooks offer similar bonuses. As we alluded to before, then, picking the right sportsbook doesn't always come down to the dollar amount of their incentives. But rather, so many other factors must go into it, including rollovers, ease of access, logistical details and so much more.
Spotting The Right Sportsbooks Bonuses for You
- Bonus Amounts
This is the most basic asset you should look to use when betting on baseball—particularly if you're signing up for a new sportsbook or entering the gambling scene for the first time.
Every site will offer a registration bonus for new users, but not all of them are created equal. Some will match up to 50 percent of your inaugural investment. Others will go a bit lower. A select few will go higher, up to 100 percent, but those are usually seasonal specials.
If having access to the most free money as possible is your top priority, you'll be dealing in raw percentages and dollar amounts. Both BetOnline.ag and Bovada offer 50 percent on top of your first deposits, which makes them look eerily similar at first glance. And to some extent, they are. But Bovada will only award you up to $250, whereas BetOnline will compensate you up to $1,000.
Put it this way: If you deposited $2,000 at sign up while using BetOnline, you'd receive $1,000 in extra betting money. If you made the same $2,000 deposit over at Bovada, you only get $250, per their maximum.
Again: These specials can ebb and flow. Bovada will sometimes run more lucrative promotions, which is part of what makes them one of the best sportsbooks around. But you'll want to weigh your options at the time of opening an account to see which site arms you with the most freebies.
- Rollover Terms
Circle back to rollover requirements for a minute. This concept is for baseball bettors who may be more concerned with getting unconditional possession of their bonus money rather than a sheer dollar amount.
Both BetOnline.ag and SportsBetting.ag are giving out 50 percent bonuses on opening deposits. They're both also fulfilling that incentive up to $1,000. It's their rollover terms that separate them.
Scan the terms and conditions, and you'll see BetOnline has a 15-time rollover. If you deposit $2,000 to get $1,000 in "free" money, this means you'll have to make $15,000 worth of bets with those promotional funds before they become yours. SportsBetting, on the other hand, has an eight-time rollover. Against the same initial deposit and bonus cash, this means you'd have to place $8,000 worth of wagers before being able to withdraw that coin. And that $7,000 variance is a substantive one.
Neither sportsbook is presenting you with a typically favorable scenario. That's why they run these promotional programs. The odds of you winning enough bets to gain control over that money is slim. Our advice to you is to wager big on heavy-favorite bets, which increase the chances of a victory and help you meet the rollover requirements.
In Baseball specifically, this would refer to moneyline bets. Spreads and over/under wagers are too difficult to predict on a highly accurate scale. Betting direct outcomes is a lot easier. And leaning on the heavy favorites is the best play.
Let's say MLB's Boston Red Sox are a -650 favorite over the Tampa Bay Rays. It makes some semblance of sense to bet the promotional farm on the Red Sox's moneyline. The return on your investment won't be very high, but you have a better shot of putting one of your rollover requirements in the books, bringing you one step closer to making that bonus money your own.
- No Strings Attached Bonuses
First time deposit bonuses are the business. They're the most common, and since sportsbooks are looking to draw you in, they're usually the most lucrative. But this creates an imbalance on the market, because these promotions tend to ignore incumbent users.
It's a weird business model when you think about it. Why offer the biggest reward to first-time customers rather than built-in users? Taking the latter for granted is a mistake. Ignoring them completely gives bettors more motivation to sportsbooks hop and take advantage of initial sign up bonuses around the web rather than commit to one sportsbook on a routine basis.
While we still have a long way to before alternative promotions catch up with those for new users, certain sportsbooks are helping bridge the gap. They offer seasonabe benefits, or even extra money for specific sports.
This includes professional baseball. The best bonuses are offered during the biggest events like MLB's playoffs and World Series, along with the College World Series and World Baseball Classic. BetFair and Bovada are two names synonymous with dangling these incentives, so make sure to check them out.
Although this tends to be the extent of baseball-specific promotions, SportsBetting.ag has been known to offer 25 percent deposit bonuses or $50 worth of free bets for transactions that take place at the start of the season.
Beyond this, when searching for a sportsbook, you also have the option of sussing out what are effectively lifetime promotions. Certain sites will forever match a certain percentage of your deposit, regardless of whether it's your first, second or 50th.
These credits typically range from five to 25 percent of your total deposit, but they can sometimes be more. Many of the sportsbooks we listed above have some version of the recurring customer bonus, with Bovada, SportsBetting and BetOnline.ag being among them.
- Deposit-Type Bonuses
Deposit-method bonuses fall somewhere between sign up and repeat promotions. Some sportsbooks will reward you for funding a transaction a certain way. Maybe it's 25 percent extra when depositing by phone. Or perhaps you will get an extra 50 percent tacked on to your crypto-currency purchases.
Sportsbetting.ag is pretty consistent with this brand of incentives. They'll provide you with an extra 50 percent of money for your crypto-currency deposits.
Similar programs are run at different sites, for all sorts of methods. Credit cards are just about the only one excluded. A lot of sportsbooks don't except them, and the ones that do are reticent to credit you for a deposit that takes a little extra time for them to bill.
Other Factors to Consider When Picking a Sportsbook
- Deposit Methods
Convenience is an important element of any sportsbook experience. You want to work not only with a reputable company, like the ones we talk about here, but you want to be treated to the smoothest process possible.
Deposit methods fall into this realm of ease. Most sites are pretty flexible when it comes to getting your money. They'll let you use credit cards, wire transfers, direct bank transactions, money orders, intermediaries like PayPal, crypto-currency like Bitcoin, pre-paid cards, etc.
The preferred methods can be found on each sportsbook's deposit page. If you plan on only ever favoring one form of deposit, you'll want to make sure your preferred site accepts it. If don't have an actual preference, it's always best to roll with the sportsbook that offers the fullest plate of options. Extensive deposit methods imply flexibility and reliability, which should then translate to the withdrawal process as well.
- Deposit and Betting Limits
As you begin or continue to bet on baseball, you must ask: What kind of gambler would you call yourself? Do you plan on making big-time bets? Will you be making a bunch of smaller-sized wagers? Do you plan on only betting during big events?
The answers to these questions will help determine what type of deposit limit is right for you. Some sportsbooks will permit you to deposit thousands of dollars at a time, which is ideal for those who plan to bet frequently and/or at a high clip. Others will only allot for $250 or $500 at a time, which is more convenient for customers who make infrequent wagers on a more casual basis.
Minimums must be factored in as well. Most sportsbooks will demand you throw in at least $50 each time, though you'll find the occasional one that takes $25. Higher-end sportsbooks will require a little more, like $100 or $250. Depending on how much you bet at a time and how often you'll plan to do it, you may prefer the lower minimum. If you know you're going to be heavily involved in the baseball betting scene, the higher baseline is fine.
Identical logic applies to bet amounts. Some sportsbooks will demand at least $10 on a single wager. Others might go as high as $25. The most flexible ones will let you submit wagers worth as little as $1. That low minimum is preferred.
On the flip side, higher maximums are your friend. Even if you don't plan on betting a ton of money each time you submit, it's always good to have the option. Try to stick with sportsbooks that will let you gamble at least $500 at a time.
- Withdrawal Process
This one's easy enough to understand. You want to be able to access money in the quickest fashion possible. It's important to find sportsbooks that work with you to expedite your withdrawals.
To be clear, wait times vary not only by sportsbook, but also by withdrawal type. Bank transfers and PayPal payouts will usually process faster compared to checks or money orders that need to be issued.
It's also a good idea to check and see whether your sportsbook charges a fee for certain withdrawal methods. Many will do just that when it comes to issuing checks and money orders. Some implement a processing fee no matter what. Find the sportsbooks that doesn't charge you to access your own money—or the one that charges you as little as possible.
Along those same lines, always pay attention to any withdrawal limits. Sportsbooks have been known to have a maximum on withdrawals. The ones that don't may have a transaction limit, meaning you can only make a certain number of withdrawal requests per month and week.
Familiarize yourself with all these terms. If you don't mind waiting on your funds or being able to make withdrawals just once a month, you'll increase the scope of your options. Otherwise, if you care deeply about having little to no fees and being permitted to make multiple requests per month, you'll have to do a dab more digging.
File this factor under the convenience tab. Not only do you want to sportsbooks with easy deposit and withdrawal processes, but you want those that offer you their full line of services anywhere.
Some questions to consider asking when picking a sportsbook: Do they have an app? Are there any limitations to the app, or can you make the same deposits, withdrawals and bets you would on your desktop or laptop? How long does it take for deposits to show up in your account? What about withdrawals?
Furthermore, does the sportsbook go beyond just offering lines? Does it have articles from professional insiders offering tips and tricks of the trade?
These questions matter. Even if you're looking for a fourth or fifth sportsbook, you want to prioritize convenience. Ease of access to websites can make or break your entire experience.
As an aside, we prefer sportsbooks that offer you bonuses for downloading and using their apps. Plenty of sites are getting in the habit of doing that now, but Williams Hill, SportsBetting.ag and SportsBook.ag are some of the best on this front.
- Betting Type: Props
Strictly betting on singular outcomes can get boring. It doesn't matter whether you're wagering on a lone game or a future champion. Variety is the spice of life, and vacillating between also-ran single-game lines and futures becomes tedious.
Investing in props is a good way to break up the drab nature of online gambling. Every sportsbook has them. It should be your goal to find the ones that peddle the most expansive and creative.
Never mind the "Which team will score the first run?" or "Will Player X hit a home run?" wager types. You want sportsbooks that think more outside the box. Some examples:
- What's the over/under on the number of pitches Player X will throw?
- What's the over/under on the distance of the longest home run that will be hit during Game Y?
- Will there be a double-play turned by Team Z before the seventh-inning stretch?
- Which inning will the manager of Team Z turn to his bullpen?
- What's the over/under on the number of runners Team Z will leave on base?
- Which MLB team will hit the most home runs after the All-Star break?
- How many games will the American League East division combine to win?
Sportsbooks do tend to open up their list of baseball props during major competitions. I.E. The World Series, College World Series and World Baseball Classic. But the more avid baseball bettors will want to find sportsbooks offering an extensive list of props all season long.
Bovada, TopBet.eu, SportsBetting.ag, BetOnline.ag and BetFair all stand out relative to others in this department.
- Betting Type: Live Wagers
Not all sportsbooks will offer live betting during baseball games. There isn't a big enough market of it for universal inclusion.
Still, live bets can be a profitable experience. They're best used as a means of making adjustments to previous bets or capitalizing on impromptu long shots.
Say the over/under for a game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros is eight runs. By the time they reach the fifth inning, however, they've combined for seven. Live betting allows you to gamble on a new over/under based on the mid-game sample you've witnessed.
Let's also say the Dodgers are favored to win by 3.5 runs during that same game. And yet, come the fifth inning, they're trailing by two. If you think they'll still win, it could be a good idea to invest in their mid-game moneyline or even spread.
Sites that offer consistent live betting during pro baseball games include Bovada, SportsBetting.ag and BetNow.eu. You can also use a website like livebet.com, which will direct to sites with live betting offerings in progress for all sports.
- Betting Type: Straight-Outcome Odds
Since singular outcome bets are the most popular, this final tip is also the most important.
People always make the mistake of assuming all sportsbooks offer the same odds. They don't. They're often comparable, but they differ. It's always good to have three to five sites in your portfolio, so you can pit game lines and future odds against one another.
It's likewise important to find a sportsbook that accepts wagers up until the last minute or is less likely to shut down a particular option or line. Though most sites will accept bets right up until the scheduled competition begins, the latter problem is a wide-spread one.
Flurries of action for one particular team or bet causes sportsbooks to adjust. They may even move that team or bet to "off" status. Sports gamblers who don't like to use the early lines as their frame of reference can often get burned by these sudden shifts.
Bovada, SportsBetting.ag, BetOnline.ag and TopBet.eu are all pretty good at taking 11th-hour wagers and keeping every possible scenario alive for as long as possible. If there's an inordinate amount of action on the Atlanta Braves' spread against the Seattle Mariners, they may futz and fiddle with the numbers. But they won't remove the spread bet from the equation altogether—or rather, they're at least less likely to do so.
Planning around this is more important for baseball than most other sports—especially on single games. The relatively low-scoring nature of each tilt affords oddsmakers fewer opportunities to get creative. They can only go so high with the spread before it becomes ridiculous. You won't, for example, find many spreads exceeding four runs.
Finally, consider using sportsbooks—like all of the aforementioned ones—that will adjust their big-picture futures daily. They're more likely to shift their odds on a frequent basis, which opens the door for you to get better odds on favorites by investing in them whenever they may hit a quasi-slump.
Momentum is impossible to quantify, but sportsbooks cater to it. You'll get a more lucrative return on a World Series bet when your team of choice is laboring through a five-game losing streak than you would while they are on a three-game win streak.