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What would Stantons $325 million deal mean for Harper?
2014-11-18

Im more into 12-year deals for young players, he said that afternoon, perfectly straight-faced.

Boras never mentioned any one player by name, but the insinuation was obvious. He was talking about Bryce Harper, and doing so in contract terms never before realized by any professional baseball player.

Never realized, that is, until right now. The Miami Marlins appear on the verge of a 13-year, $325 million contract extension with Giancarlo Stanton. And if the thought of that many years and that much money guaranteed to one player doesnt blow your mind, consider what this development might mean for the Washington Nationals and their own young, star outfielder.

Yes, if youve ever wondered what it might cost to keep Harper in a curly W cap for the rest of his career, you just got a pretty good idea.

Stanton may not be the perfect comparison for Harper, but hes as close as anybody else in the game at this moment. Indeed, look at what Harper has done in his first three big-league seasons vs. what Stanton did in his first three years with the Marlins, and there are some striking similarities.

Stantons batting average through three seasons (ages 20-22): .270. His on-base percentage: .350.

Harpers batting average through three seasons (ages 19-21): .272. His on-base percentage: .351.

Stanton did hit for considerably more power than Harper, out-homering him 93 to 55 and out-slugging him .553 to .465. But weve certainly seen Harpers massive power potential on display, and consensus opinion is that hell continue to develop into one of the best power hitters in the game, right alongside Stanton.

Combine that with Harpers young age hes slated to become eligible for free agency in November 2018, right after he turns 26 and its not hard to figure out what kind of contract terms he could be looking at in the not-so-distant future.

Much of the focus on the Nationals so far this offseason has been on the dilemma they face trying to lock up any or all of their key players who will be free agents one year from now: Ian Desmond, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister.

But it needs to be pointed out plenty more key players will be approaching free agency shortly after those three. Stephen Strasburg, Drew Storen and Wilson Ramos are eligible after the 2016 season. Harper will be eligible after the 2018 season. Anthony Rendon will follow after the 2019 season.

Thats a long way off, but those days will arrive before you know it. Or, more specifically, the day in which long-term extension talks begin to come up will arrive much before you know it.

The Nationals are in no hurry to secure Harpers career-long employment just yet. They need to see him continue to develop and keep himself healthy and on the field before they can reasonably commit to him for the long haul.

But when that day comes, be prepared to hear Stantons soon-to-be-announced deal brought up for comparison. And as much as your mind was blown upon first hearing the words 13-year, $325 million contract over the weekend, imagine your reaction when you first hear the numbers likely to be attached to Bryce Harpers name a couple of winters from now.




March Madness Bracket
2015-02-15

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Big trend contradicts big line in M’s-Cards’ duel
2010-06-14

ESPN’s 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 M’s have lost eight of their last 10 games, you’d 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, let’s take a look at tonight’s 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. He’s 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 Mariners’ 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 Sunday’s 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:

• 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 Mariners’ offense has produced 5.5 runs per game on the road against some of the National League’s 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 Cardinals’ 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
2009-08-12

It may not have the same fanfare as Tom Brady’s 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 aren’t 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 league’s best road team, both in terms of winning percentage and units won for bettors at 33-19, +15.5 units.

In addition, manager Charlie Manuel’s 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.



MLB: D-Backs’ Haren a road favorite in K.C.
2009-06-18

It seemingly happens every year, a Major League hurler pitches dramatically better than what his numbers show. This year’s candidate is Dan Haren of Arizona. His team, the Diamondbacks, have been in peril all season. Arizona is the second worst wager in the big leagues at -12.2 units and new manager A.J. Hench already had to have a closed door meeting before last night’s game about what has been happening on the field. Are they worthy of road favorite status in K.C. tonight? You decide, then put your backing behind it by clicking on the BET NOW page.

One player that did not need to attend was Haren, whose 5-4 record is certainly run of the mill until you do a little work inside the numbers. Haren earned run average is 2.20, which is fifth in baseball for any pitcher making at least eight starts. His WHIP is second among all pitchers at ridiculously low 0.809. The deliberate right-hander has given up only 63 hits in 94 innings of work and he’s averaged nearly a strikeout per inning with his total of 90.

Haren has a number of pitches he throws for strikes, walking a batter once every 7+ innings this season for strikeout to walk ratio of 6.9 to 1, which most relievers would be jealous of, let alone starters.

In his 13 starts, he allowed two or fewer runs 10 times, with the team posting just a 6-4 record in those contests. Haren in the early portion of the season was snake-bit (intentional pun), as Arizona averaged only 2.7 runs in his first eight starts. Maybe the D-Backs players felt guilty about watching all these exemplary efforts go for naught and have scored 6.7 runs per game since when Haren takes the mound. Haren’s done what he could to help his own cause with seven hits in 31 at bats from the nine-hole.

Tonight, Haren will try and lead his club to something it has not done lately, win a series. The Snakes are 0-4-2 in last six series, but are 9-4 on the road when Haren starts against a losing team like Kansas City (29-35, -6.7 units). Even with the former Cardinals and Athletic on the hill, Arizona isn’t a lock since they are 7-20 off a win.

Sportsbook.com has Arizona as -140 money line favorites with a total of Un8. The D-Backs are 12-5 as road favorites of less than -150 and are 10-3 in interleague action when favored by -150 or less.

Kansas City’s Luke Hochevar (2-2, 5.60) will try to see what he can do to stop Arizona’s bats that produced 12 runs last night. Hochevar has won both his starts since being recalled from Triple-A and the last was beauty, a complete game three-hitter against Cincinnati. The Royals have been coming around, winning five of last seven, scoring 5.7 runs per game, compared to season average of just 4.2.

Two ways to look at this game for K.C., they are 22-10 (+14.0 Units) against the money line having won four of their last five games or 6-16 (-12.0 Units) revenging a loss vs opponent as a home favorite.

The ballgame is scheduled to start at 8:10 Eastern and is available in local markets, with Haren 8 -0 in his last nine interleague starts.

StatFox Power Line – Arizona -139