Baseball around the world had been halted across the US and the rest of the world for the majority of 2020. However, as the calendar year enters its final third, sports bettors can still bet on action in Asian leagues and, most importantly, the MLB itself is running, with the regular season already underway.
Before we tell you about the MLB’s plans for 2020, you can learn all the different bet types in baseball on BetCompare, as well as a strategy guide on how to bet on baseball and the MLB. Below, we update you on the schedule for the MLB, as well as reviewing whether there will be any baseball betting action outside the top US division.
American football and basketball were not the only victims of the coronavirus pandemic on college campuses, with all college sports postponed until 2021. This includes college baseball, which cancelled all its 2020 action back in May, as well as all minor league baseball.
College organizers are doing what they can to ensure some kind of season goes ahead in 2021. However, baseball bettors will have to focus on professional sport and the MLB for the time being.
Following training camps in early July, the opening fixtures of the MLB regular season took place on 23-24 July. Players can still be traded, with the MLB’s trade deadline being 31 August, and the deadline for players to be added to rosters for the postseason being 15 September. The projected end of the regular season is 27 September and this should come to pass provided the pandemic doesn’t force any further postponements.
There are six divisions across two leagues: the American League and the National League. Notable early performers in the American League were the New York Yankees, with 15 wins and a home record of 9-1, the Minnesota Twins, with 14 wins and a 9-2 home record, and the Oakland Athletics, with 16 wins and a 9-3 home record.
In the National League East, the Miami Marlins won eight of their first 12 road games, while the Chicago Cubs earned 13 wins and the Los Angeles Dodgers registered 16 victories, with an incredible 10-2 road record.
An expanded 16-team postseason tournament is scheduled to begin on 29 September, with eight teams qualifying from each league. Traditionally, the MLB Playoffs involve just 10 teams. This year, though, three division winners by record qualify from each league, three runners up by record and the two best remaining teams by record.
There will be four rounds to the postseason tournament in 2020, with the first three rounds applying for both the American League and National League. First, there is the Wild Card Series, played over the course of a best-of-three series at the higher seed’s home ballpark. The fixtures will be no.1 seed vs no.8 seed, no.2 seed vs no.7 seed, no.3 seed vs no.6 seed and no.4 seed vs no.5 seed.
Then follows the Division Series, played over best-of-five series, and a 2-2-1 home/road format, with the winners of each Wild Card Series facing off accordingly. After this comes the League Championship Series, where the two winners of the Division Series matches will play each other in a best-of-seven series, with a 2-3-2 home/road format.
The fourth round of the Playoffs is The World Series, set to begin on 23 October and with a potential Game 7 to be played on 31 October. The World Series will feature the winner of the American League Championship Series vs. the winner of the National League Championship Series.
Play SugarHouse is offering odds of +375 for both the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees, who are joint-favorites, to win the World Series. Next in line are the Minneapolis Twins at odds of +800, followed by the Atlanta Braves and Oakland Athletics at odds of +1200.
The odds will change throughout the regular season, and especially during the Playoffs, so be sure to keep an eye on the lines, odds and best offers on BetCompare. The 2021 MLB regular season is scheduled to begin on Thursday 1 April next year.
Baseball bettors interested in futures betting can also wager on the MVP Awards in the MLB, which are divided between the National League and American League. Some sportsbooks will ensure players must play at least 40 games, with at least one plate appearance, for bets to stand.
National League MVP – DraftKings is offering the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Mookie Betts at odds of +450 as the betting favourite for the National League MVP Award. Joint second-favorites are the Colorado Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon, and Fernando Tatis Jr of the San Diego Padres, at odds of +650.
American League MVP – In the American League, the Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout is a clear favourite with DraftKings, at odds of +200. Second in the betting is the New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge, at odds of +600. Third-favorite is Matt Chapman of the Oakland Athletics at odds of +1000.
Even though the MLB offers the highest-profile baseball action of 2020, some US sportsbooks are offering lines on Asian baseball, with the KBO League and the 2020 Nippon Professional Baseball season.
KBO League – Founded in 1982, the highest-level baseball league in South Korea now has 10 franchises. The Doosan Bears won their sixth title last year but the league’s most successful team is the Kia Tigers, with 11 championships to date. The 2020 season started on 5 May and runs through 18 October.
Nippon Professional Baseball – Running from 19 June to 7 November, the NPB has 12 teams across the Central League and Pacific League. The NPB takes place in Japan and has been running since 1950.
Despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, then, organizers have worked to ensure baseball fans and bettors still have plenty of action in 2020. While there are no college or minor leagues, sports bettors can look to the MLB and Asia.