Though the game is not high on the list of most popular sports in the UK, the fact is that baseball retains a massive North American following.
Get this: last year, more people watched a live Major League Baseball (MLB) game than watched matches in England’s Premier League, Germany’s Bundesliga, Spain’s La Liga and Italy’s Serie A put together.
In the UK, baseball betting is in its infancy, but the opportunities to bet on baseball via the internet, where a number of online bookmakers offer prices every one of the 2,340 MLB regular season games, continues to grow.
Some punters believe that the average baseball bet comprises little more than a wager on which side will win, but the number of baseball bets – and markets – available to punters is, in fact, colossal.
In addition to a win-lose market, on average, an online bookmaker will offer prices on at least a dozen others during the course of a match. Many also have live baseball betting odds, usually laced with free bet incentives, which are increasingly sought-after.
One of the first things European punters will notice about baseball betting is the absence of the drawn outcome. Stalemates are anathema to American sports fans, which means that betting on baseball removes the need to consider whether a fixture will end with honours even.
Nonetheless, a number of other baseball betting markets will be familiar to Europeans: correct scores, handicap results and winning margins being three of the most popular. Live baseball betting presents an opportunity to consider many more markets and the likelihood, for example, of whether a home run will be scored during a particular innings.
The MLB season – and the majority of baseball betting – revolves around the game’s annual World Series.
This year, the New York Yankees (10/3) and the Philadelphia Phillies (11/2) are most fans’ favourites to make the World Series, although there are currently few predictions about which side will be crowned champions.
This is not to say that in the meantime, betting on baseball grinds to a halt. Far from it. The ready availability of free bets, a wide selection of markets and online bookmakers keen to attract new business ensures that baseball sports betting remains buoyant. However, there’s little doubt that the World Series sees an upturn in baseball betting and punters’ willingness to peruse those free bets offered by the online bookmaker. Indeed, for many, having a bet on baseball has become an integral part of the World Series.
Will the baseball bet and predictions about which side will top the American League or the National League ever be as popular in Europe as they are Stateside? In truth, it’s unlikely, but given the value baseball bets offer punters prepared to examine form, there’s a fair chance that a growing number of folk on this side of the Atlantic will be prepared to examine baseball’s numerous markets in search of those elusive profits.
“If I were a predictor of how gaming markets might develop over the next few years,” says the head of one internet-based odds comparison operation, “I would say that baseball sports betting will blossom – even across Europe.” Chances are, he’s right – after all, the 73.4 million spectators who attended an MLB game last year cannot all be wrong.