For seven months out of the year, the MLB season holds the attention of many baseball fans. It begins on opening day in the spring and ends in the fall with the World Series.
There’s a lot to love about Major League Baseball, and even more so since you can legally bet on it in Iowa. You can wager on the outcome of a game, take a long-term guess with a futures wager, and bet on a specific event with props and live bets. Starting to betting on baseball is easy, and we’re going to walk through what you need to know.
We’ll explain how the odds work, all the types of bets you can place, the rules you need to know and we’ll provide some actionable tips. Our official guide to MLB betting in IA covers all the bases.
The MLB season is a busy one for bettors. Each day presents a new puzzle of games. Staying on top of the latest odds can be a challenge, but we have a solution. Our live feed pulls together real-time data from multiple sportsbooks in Iowa. It’s a one-stop-shop for checking out the latest MLB odds.
There will be days when all 30 MLB clubs are in action throughout the regular season and days when only a handful of games are on the docket. Each day, Iowa sportsbooks will offer odds for every one of them.
Typically, sportsbooks release MLB odds and lines the day of the game, but you may find them the night before, as well. After the initial release — known as opening lines — bets begin to appear. The numbers will adjust from there in response to public betting action.
Sportsbooks hope to attract even action on both sides, so they’ll adjust the odds when a clear preference emerges among public bettors. You can always shop around at multiple sportsbooks in a bid to find the most attractive prices.
There will be a default listing for each game with the odds for three top bet types: moneyline, run line and totals. It’ll resemble something like this:
|St. Louis Cardinals||+125||+1.5 (-135)||O 7.5 (-110)|
|Chicago Cubs||-105||-1.5 (+115)||U 7.5 (-110)|
On the moneyline, the Chicago Cubs are a slight favorite. We can tell that because the number is negative on that side. It’s positive for underdogs. A close-range like this points to a tight game, while a bigger disparity means that oddsmakers have a clear favorite.
The run line works like a point spread. The side you choose has to cover the run line for you to win the bet. If the Cubs win by two runs or more, they’ve covered the 1.5 runs. The St. Louis Cardinals have to keep it closer than that to cover or win the game outright.
Lastly, the totals bet is a wager on the runs scored by both teams in the game. Oddsmakers release a projection, and you then choose the over or under wager. As with the other two bets, there will be odds attached to both choices.
Futures are a great way to get involved with MLB betting. These are wagers that you’re placing on an outcome that won’t be decided until later. These odds will come out during the offseason, with the market staying active nearly all year round. Here are some of the top opportunities you’ll see:
Each potential choice will have odds attached, and those odds will adjust in response to the public betting action. The general idea of futures betting is to find the selections you want at the best prices. Some bettors will stay engaged throughout the year to hunt for futures market opportunities.
For each game during the season, you’ll find prop bets available. You’ll also see props in the futures market. In both cases, the most popular props revolve around player performances.
A prop bet is almost like a crossover of fantasy sports and wagering. For the games, you’ll see a projection for player performances or questions on top performers. Here are a couple of examples:
Beyond player performances, there will also be props based around the two teams or the game as a whole. Examples include which side will score three runs first or whether extra innings will be necessary to decide the game.
On the futures side, you’ll find props for benchmark performances such as the total number of home runs for a player or wins for a starting pitcher. There will even be props for the league leaders in top statistical categories.
There are plenty of ways to bet on each MLB game on the daily schedule. You can zero in on one or two bet types that work best for you and your strategy or explore others. Here are the most popular ways to get in the game.
For this bet, all you have to do is pick which team you think will win. There will be odds for both teams — negative for favorites and positive for underdogs — with the range between the numbers indicating how close the matchup projects to be. Here’s an example:
|Minnesota Twins +140|
|Chicago White Sox -120|
A run line bet works like a point spread wager that you’d find in other sports. For a winning bet, the team you pick must cover the line. The standard MLB run line is set at 1.5 runs for all games. Run line odds could look like this:
|Boston Red Sox +1.5 (-155)|
|Atlanta Braves -1.5 (+125)|
This bet has to do with the total combined runs scored in the game. You can choose the over or under on a benchmark number that oddsmakers will set. Totals can be 7.5 runs or lower for pitching duels and up to 9.5 or more for potential slugfests. A listing could look like this:
|Over 5 (-110)|
|Under 5 (-110)|
In addition to the standard 1.5 run line, many sportsbooks will also offer alternative numbers that you can find by clicking through on the game listing. This is a solid bet to focus on when you feel you have a good read on a contest. Here is a fictional example:
|Florida Marlins +2.5 (-180)|
|New York Yankees -2.5 (+140)|
The first five innings bet type is growing in popularity. As the name implies, it is concerned solely with the first five innings and which side will be in the lead until that point. The wager lets you focus on the starting pitching matchup while limiting the bullpen impact. Here is an example:
|Boston Red Sox +160|
|New York Mets -130|
Each sportsbook in Iowa has a set of house rules that cover all the ins and outs of betting on sports. There are specific sections for each sport, as well. Many rules are standard across the industry, but there can be differences here and there. Here are some of the key points:
That covers the most important stuff, but remember the rules may vary per sportsbook in certain instances. One key area to keep an eye on is how books handle player props for players who fail to get in the game or exit early due to injury. Another key area is how the sportsbook will handle any weather-related delays.
As the regular season approaches, sportsbooks will release regular-season win total projections for all 30 MLB teams. The books will attach odds to the over or under on those amounts. Here’s an example:
|Los Angeles Dodgers 5 wins|
This popular segment of the futures market that attracts a good deal of betting action, and it also serves as a handy research tool while you preview an upcoming season. As with all other bet types, the odds can and will change in response to betting action.
As the season moves along, it’s not uncommon to see the odds shorten or lengthen based on team performance. Teams that start hot may see a surge of interest, but that opens up a chance to zero in on the dark horses who could be strong over the second half at favorable prices.
You can bet right along with each MLB game as the action plays out on the field. That’s thanks to live betting, which is one of the fastest-growing segments of the sports wagering industry.
As the games play out, you’ll see up-to-date odds on the outcome and totals, various player props and chances to bet on smaller segments of the game. The market moves fast, so a sportsbook betting app is the best way to stay on top of what’s happening.
Outside of late fall and early winter, there’s MLB action. The offseason is active with free agency moves and trades, and the action continues to heat up in the preseason as opening day approaches. Here are key dates and wagering considerations for each phase of the MLB season.
In a typical year, pitchers and catchers begin reporting around mid-February, with the rest of the squad rolling in by the end of the month. There are preseason games throughout March, but they can be challenging to bet on due to playing time questions and overall unpredictability.
Opening day for the 2021 season is scheduled for April 1, with all teams expected to play a full 162-game schedule. The 2020 campaign was condensed into 60 games due to the pandemic. From the opener through to the end of September, the regular season will be in full swing, with lots of betting opportunities betting.
The MLB altered its playoff structure in 2020 for the condensed season, with 16 teams making the playoffs as opposed to the usual 10. There has been chatter about expanding the overall field as a regular thing. Regardless of how many teams qualify, postseason baseball is one of the greatest betting attractions of the year.
In the early part of the season, keep an eye on the clubs that are off to hot starts for betting purposes. As the season moves along, look beyond overall records and research info such as records over the last 10 games. Heading into the postseason, make a note of which clubs are backing in and which are entering a hot streak.
We may not have a major league team in Iowa, but it doesn’t mean there’s a lack of interest in the sport. Two of the most closely followed teams are in neighboring Illinois.
The Chicago Cubs are one of the few MLB teams that have a loyal and passionate following across the US. For decades, the club was known as the team that could never win the big one, but it took care of that label with a win in the 2016 World Series over the Cleveland Indians.
The other team from Chicago is often viewed as the little brother to the Cubs, but the White Sox still have scores of fans across the Midwest. The team had its last taste of World Series glory with a victory over the Houston Astros in 2005.
Iowa has contributed to the annals of MLB history in many ways. More than 200 players who were born in the Hawkeye State have made it to the big leagues, and some have gone on to have legendary careers. Here are five Hall-of-Famers who came from Iowa.
As you get set to bet on MLB games, you’ll want to examine the matchup closely to find any advantages. You should spend a good deal of time researching the MLB betting lines and recent trends for both teams. Here are some other tips you can use.
Weather can have a significant impact on MLB games, and we’re not just talking about rainouts or delays. You should keep an eye on the temperature and direction of the wind, both of which can have an impact on how the ball travels. For example, the wind blowing out on a hot night could be a recipe for home runs.
Line shopping is important for betting on any sport, but it’s especially imperative with MLB. A good deal of action comes in on the moneyline, so you’ll want to shop around for the best prices. A few ticks here or there might not seem like much, but they can add up over the course of a season.
You have to pick your spots with this one, as there are times when the public is on the money. One good way to employ this strategy is by trying to zero in on the potential upsets of the day. When you can make the right call here, it can enhance your overall returns, especially if you typically bet on a lot of large moneyline favorites.
Yes, sports betting was legalized in Iowa in May 2019. The first official bet was placed in August of the same year. You can now legally and safely bet on MLB and other sports online and via app, as well as at a number of retail sportsbooks across the state.
The run line works like a point spread in basketball and football betting. The main difference is that MLB run lines are always set at 1.5 runs, though some sportsbooks do offer alternate lines under the “more wagers” option. As with a spread bet, the side you choose has to cover the run line for the bet to be a winner.
This bet type means that your wager will be active even if there is a change to the scheduled starting pitcher. Sportsbooks also offer a “listed pitcher” betting option, so be sure to take the time to review what you’re betting on before clicking the submit button.
The listed pitcher bet means that there can be no changes to the scheduled starting pitchers for the bet to be active. If one or both pitchers get scratched before the game gets underway, the bet will be voided and there will be no action on it.
If a game doesn’t start on time, the bet will remain in the queue and be considered active after the first pitch. In the event that the weather causes a push to the next day, the bet can remain active barring any other changes to the circumstances, but the sportsbook can also void it at its discretion. For delays after the game is underway, bets will remain active as long as the game is expected to be completed the same or next day. There may be some other quirks here and there, so be sure to consult the house rules for MLB at the books you are playing for full details on how they handle weather-related issues.
This is a bet type that continues to attract interest in MLB betting circles. The F5 refers to the first five innings of the game. Your wager is only based on the results after the first five are in the books. Many bettors like this wager because it limits the impact that bullpens may have on the final outcome.