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Big trend contradicts big line in Mís-Cardsí duel
ESPNís Monday night baseball game of the week finds the Mariners visiting St. Louis for just the second time ever. Considering the Cardinals have stud pitcher Adam Wainwright on the hill, are -280 favorites according to Sportsbook.com, and the Mís have lost eight of their last 10 games, youíd think the hosts are a certain winner, right? Sure, but perhaps an unusually strong StatFox Power Trend favoring Seattle might sway your thinking.
Before getting into the powerful trend worthy of your consideration, letís take a look at tonightís matchup.
The Cardinals are surely happy to be home following a difficult road trip, especially with Wainwright set to take the mound. He looks to improve to 6-0 in as many starts at Busch Stadium as the Cardinals return to interleague play to face the struggling Mariners.
St. Louis (34-29) finds itself chasing first-place Cincinnati in the NL Central following its 1-5 trip, which featured offensive problems and shaky pitching.
The team hit .227 on the trip, with sluggers Albert Pujols(notes) and Matt Holliday(notes) combining to go 6 for 44 (.136) with three RBIs. He helped erase a three-run deficit in the ninth, but the Cardinals lost in the bottom of the inning on a walk-off home run by Chris Young.
Wainwright has been consistently brilliant at home, and he notched his first career shutout there June 4 with a two-hitter in an 8-0 win over Milwaukee. Heís 5-0 with a 1.62 ERA and two complete games at Busch Stadium this year.
The Cardinals have won nine of 13 in St. Louis, and they swept Seattle in the Marinersí only previous visit from July 2-4, 2004.
Seattle (24-39) is scuffling on its road trip. The last-place Mariners are 9-22 on the road, and they had lost five straight before avoiding a sweep at San Diego with Sundayís 4-2 win.
Seattle will have Luke French (0-0, 6.35) on the mound for his first start in the majors this season.
The 24-year-old dominated minor league hitters for Triple-A Tacoma this year, going 6-2 with a 1.93 ERA in 11 starts. He had a 6.38 ERA in seven starts for the Mariners in 2009, though.
Seattle has lost both of its interleague series this season - both to the Padres - while the Cardinals took two of three from the visiting Los Angeles Angels from May 21-23. St. Louis has won three of four home series against AL opponents.
It would seem the Cardinals are set to cruise this evening. However, one particular StatFox Power Trend may be worth noting. It reads as follows:
ē SEATTLE is 12-3 (+12.9 Units) against the money line in its L15 road games vs. an NL starting pitcher whose WHIP is 1.150 or better. The average score was SEATTLE 5.5, OPPONENT 2.5 - (Rating = 2*)
Now everyone knows how successful the American League has been over its N.L. counterparts in interleague play, but this trend has far outperformed that pace. The Marinersí offense has produced 5.5 runs per game on the road against some of the National Leagueís best pitchers.
Still, Seattle has won just three of 20 games as a road underdog this year and the StatFox Game Estimator calls for a 5.2-2.3 win for the Cardinals. The StatFox Power Line shows St. Louis should be a -308 favorite.
Is it worth laying the big number at Sportsbook.com tonight, or are the Cardinalsí recent offensive struggles and the powerful StatFox trend signs of a worthy underdog? Find out tonight at 7:00 PM ET on ESPN.
MLB: Martinez returns for Phillies as road chalk
It may not have the same fanfare as Tom Bradyís return at quarterback for the New England Patriots, but Wednesday night marks the return to the majors for one of the games most dominant pitchers of the early decade. Pedro Martinez takes to the mound for his newest team, the Phillies, and is greeted with a warm reception by oddsmakers, as they have made him a -110 road favorite in Chicago against the Cubs. Bettors arenít exactly on the bandwagon yet though, as over 60% of them at Sportsbook.com are backing the hosts in early action.
The Phillies finally feel Martinez is ready to return to form. The 37-year-old right-hander makes his Philadelphia debut and his first appearance in almost a year Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.
The last time Martinez took the mound in the majors, he allowed five runs and struck out nine in six innings, but didn't receive a decision in a 7-6 win over the Cubs on Sept. 25, while with the New York Mets. After finishing 5-6 with a 5.61 ERA last season, the three-time Cy Young Award winner filed for free agency and went without a team until July 15, when the Phillies (62-48) signed him.
On the disabled list with a mild shoulder strain, Martinez will be activated Wednesday after going 1-1 with a 5.11 ERA in three minor league rehab starts. It would seem then that bettors are paying a lot more attention to his recent outings rather that his glorious past.
Philadelphia snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-3, 12-inning victory over Chicago on Tuesday. Chicago has now lost five of six.
In a move that reeks of desperation, the Cubs will send their own brand new starting pitcher to the hill to face Martinez, as after 42 career relief appearances, Jeff Samardzija (1-1, 6.29) will make his first start for Chicago in this contest.
The fact that Philadelphia is the favorite could be an important factor in this game, as to say the Cubbies have struggled in the underdog role this season would be a vast understatement:
* CHICAGO CUBS are 4-21 (-16.4 Units) against the money line as an underdog of +100 or higher this season. The average score was CHICAGO CUBS 3.0, OPPONENT 5.4 - (Rating = 4*)
Meanwhile, the Phillies remain the leagueís best road team, both in terms of winning percentage and units won for bettors at 33-19, +15.5 units.
In addition, manager Charlie Manuelís team has breezed through the N.L. Central Division in its current run of success.
* PHILADELPHIA is 46-23 (+18.5 Units) against the money line against NL Central opponents over the last 2 seasons. The average score was PHILADELPHIA 5.4, OPPONENT 3.5 - (Rating = 1*)
Game time is set for 8:05 PM ET from the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.