MLB Betting in Iowa

How to bet on baseball, best Iowa sportsbooks and live odds

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.

Latest MLB betting odds

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.

 

MLB odds and lines explained

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.

MLB futures market

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:

  • Team to win the World Series.
  • League and division winners.
  • Team to make or miss the postseason.
  • Regular-season win totals.
  • Individual player award.

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.

MLB prop betting 

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:

  • Total hits plus walks for Jose Abreu: over/under 2.5
  • Who will record more strikeouts? Max Scherzer or Gerrit Cole

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.

How to bet on baseball in Iowa

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.

Moneyline

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

Run line 

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)

Totals 

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)

Alternate lines

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)

First five innings or F5 bet

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

Online baseball betting rules at IA sportsbooks

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:

  • Games delayed due to weather can remain active if the game will be still be played until completion. An outright cancellation before one team wins will result in voided bets.
  • Bets may have a “listed pitcher option, which means there will be no action if there’s a change in announced starters.
  • All wagers are active once the game gets underway, and the sportsbook will settle them based on official league data and scoring.
  • In the unlikely event of a complete cancellation of a season, futures bets will be voided, with bettors receiving refunds.

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.

What are MLB win totals?

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
Over -115
Under +105

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.

Pros and cons of live betting on baseball

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.

  • Pros of live betting
    • Additional chances to wager and potentially profit on each game.
    • Wagers make you more involved with the action on the field.
    • Excellent mobile platforms from top sportsbooks to use for live betting.
  • Cons of live betting
    • The market moves fast, with opportunities going by in a flash.
    • It can be easy to get caught up in the action.
    • A limited amount of time for research on bets you want to place.

How the MLB season works

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.

Spring training

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.

Regular season

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.

Playoffs

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.

Most popular MLB teams in Iowa

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.

Chicago Cubs

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.

  • Established: 1876
  • League: National League Central Division
  • Colors: Blue, red and white
  • Home Field: Wrigley Field
  • Address: 1060 W. Addison St., Chicago
  • Capacity: 41,649
  • Opening Date: April 23, 1914
  • NL Pennants: 17, last in 2016
  • World Series Titles: Three, last in 2016

Chicago White Sox

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.

  • Established: 1900
  • League: American League Central Division
  • Colors: Black, silver and white
  • Home Field: Guaranteed Rate Field
  • Address: 333 W. 35th St., Chicago
  • Capacity: 40,615
  • Opening Date: April 18, 1991
  • AL Pennants: Six, last in 2005
  • World Series Titles: Three, last in 2005

5 baseball Hall-of-Famers from Iowa

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.

  • Cap Anson
    • Born: Marshalltown
    • Career: 1871-97
    • Hall of Fame: 1939
    • Highlight: 4x NL batting champion
  • Fred Clarke
    • Born: Winterset
    • Career: 1894-1915
    • Hall of Fame: 1945
    • Highlight: World Series title with Pittsburgh Pirates in 1909
  • Dave Bancroft
    • Born: Sioux City
    • Career: 1915-30
    • Hall of Fame: 1971
    • Highlight: 2x World Series champion
  • Red Faber
    • Born: Cascade
    • Career: 1914-33
    • Hall of Fame: 1964
    • Highlight: 2x AL ERA leader
  • Bob Feller
    • Born: Van Meter
    • Career: 1936-56
    • Hall of Fame: 1962
    • Highlight: Pitched three no-hitters

3 top tips for betting on MLB games

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.

1. Pay attention to the weather forecast

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.

2. Shop for the best lines

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.

3. Fade the public

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.

MLB FAQs

Is it legal to bet on MLB in Iowa?

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.

What is a run line in MLB betting? 

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.

What does an action bet mean in baseball?

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.

How does the listed pitcher option work for MLB betting? 

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.

When an MLB game is delayed due to weather, what happens to my bets?

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.

What is an F5 bet in MLB?

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.