One of the most popular forms of Major League Baseball wagering is the proposition bet, otherwise known as the prop bet. Here, we look at what props involve, and how to improve your chances of winning them.

What is baseball props betting?

Instead of betting on the outcome of a baseball game, the prop bet offers odds on particular aspects both on and off the field. This could be who will score first or if a player will hit a home run, as well as kooky bets like whether a player will sing the national anthem or if President Trump will tweet about the game. That said, this type of offbeat props bet isn’t as common in baseball as it is in sports like football.

Why are baseball props so popular?

Prop bets are one of the most popular forms of MLB betting mainly because they add a little spice to a game, especially in fixtures which are less meaningful to the season, such as those in the postseason or the All-Star Game. They also bring some extra excitement to some of the finer details of a game, allowing bettors to really immerse themselves in it. In addition, you don’t even need to be a hardcore gambler or baseball expert to make a prop wager and enjoy rooting for your winning outcome.

What do baseball prop bets look like?

Most baseball prop bets are wagered on a moneyline. For instance, you might see an individual player props bet that looks something like this:

  • Total Hits, Runs and RBI – Manny Machado (SD)
  • Over 3.5 (-115)
  • Under 3.5 (-115)

If you believed Machado would combine for four or more hits, runs and RBI in the game, you would take the over. If you saw a 0-for-4 in his immediate future, you’d bet the under. In this instance, you would be required to bet $115 to win $100 on either outcome. It’s important to note that the moneylines are often set to favor one outcome over the other and encourage wagering on the “underdog” side of the prop.

Team props vs. player props

There are two main baseball prop bets: the team prop and the player prop. In both cases, the individual or team accomplishment is being wagered on regardless of the actual outcome of the game.

Some team props might include:

  • First team to score in the game
  • Whether a run will be scored in the first inning
  • Combined total hits, runs and errors for both teams (over/under)
  • First team to reach three runs in the game
  • Specific team’s total runs (over/under)
  • Combined total home runs hit in the game (over/under)

Some player props include:

  • Total hits, runs and RBI (over/under)
  • Total strikeouts (over/under)
  • Will a player hit a home run? (over/under 0.5)
  • Most hits, runs and RBI (player vs player)
  • Most strikeouts (player vs player)

Baseball props betting tips

It’s simple to make a baseball props bet but there’s a lot to take into account if you want to win regularly. Research allows you to make genuinely informed judgements, and here are some of the main things to consider: 

The wind

One huge factor to consider with MLB props bets is the wind — if it’s too strong, home runs will be a lot trickier, and betting on somebody to score big could be less of a sure thing. The tipping point at most parks is around the 12-15mph range, so it’s critical to check the weather forecast before making a prop bet.

The umpires

Each umpire has different inclinations that can impact a game. For instance, some have very tight strike zones, and since more balls lead to more walks, more runs will be scored. That said, other umps might have looser zones, having the opposite effect.

The pitching matchups

Analyzing starting pitchers and bullpens can help with your props bets. For example, some pitchers start the season slowly which could hugely affect strikeout wagers about their performance. Use the huge volume of data and statistics available to help inform your decisions. One thing to examine is a team’s batted ball data, such as their hard, soft, and medium hit rate percentages.

Stadium characteristics

No two stadiums are the same, and one venue’s quirks can make the difference between a deep fly and a home run. For example, the Chicago Cubs’ Wrigley Field regularly has strong winds blowing in from nearby Lake Michigan, while the retractable roofs at stadiums including the Rogers Centre (Toronto Blue Jays) and Chase Field (Arizona Diamondbacks) mean balls can pop up more. Some stadiums have shorter right or left fields, or higher walls on one side, all of which can impact games.

Injuries

Following late pitching scratches and player injuries is essential. A pitching swap can hugely impact a game, as can a team missing its star player. While these injuries tend to be represented by the oddsmakers in the props odds, it’s important to keep an eye on them yourself.