There are new MLB rules that will affect betting
The 2023 Major League Baseball season has arrived, and it's 'Batter Up' for baseball season and MLB betting. The new rules changes will be ones to watch as the leading online sportsbooks adjust their odds and totals quickly through the opening weeks as certain trends and scoring dictates adjustments. I'll update more along the way, but you can read more about the new rules and what to expect as the 2023 season begins. We'll reference back to this article along the way for the season win totals and World Series odds provided, as those will continue to change throughout the season along with individual player awards.
With so many baseball games daily offering multiple ways to watch and wager on the games, finding the right sportsbook is important along with sportsbooks that offer a dime line. We'll chip-in some betting tips along the way, but you'll be wise to monitor the new rules and changing odds while trying to stay one step, and strike, ahead of the game.
I talked to a sports trader at a leading online sportsbook (BETMGM) this week, and have added some of their comments to the new rules.
The Pitch Clock
The rule: Pitchers will have just 15 seconds between pitches, and 20 seconds when there are runners on base. Batters must be “in the box and alert to the pitcher” by the eight-second mark.
During 2023 spring training, games averaged 2 hours and 35 minutes. That is a 26 minute reduction in game time from 2022’s spring training played without the pitch clock. Also, average runs per game this spring was 10.2, and down just slightly from 2022 spring training (10.4).
Pickoff moves are now limited as well, with pitchers allowed two moves off the rubber and/or pick-off attempt per plate appearance without penalty.
BetMGM: "We anticipate bettors wagering on more higher scoring games early in the season. I believe the new pitch clock will help the pitchers, and they'll be in more control. I may be in the minority, but I don't think totals will have as much impact. We'll monitor it all along with the baseball itself (dead ball?), and adjust while also taking notes from our sharpest bettors."
Banning the Shift
The Rule: When a pitch is thrown, defensive teams must have a minimum of four players on the infield, with at least two infielders completely on each side of second base.
A ban on the shift means more balls in play, which means more action and more runs. This change is designed to "increase the batting average on balls in play, to allow infielders to better showcase their athleticism and to restore more traditional outcomes on batted balls," according to the league.
BetMGM: "The shift ban will help the offense in theory with more batted balls in play. During the testing in the minor leagues, there was a very slight uptick in hits, so we'll see how it plays out. More runners on base will add to other elements of scoring production with stolen bases having the biggest impact."
The Rule: The three bases will increase from 15 inches square to 18 inches square. Home plate will remain the same size.
There is 4.5 inches more space from edge to edge, and the league is encouraging more base running and base stealing while also looking to reduce injuries and protect players from additional injuries. Major League Baseball said that the larger bases reduced "base-related" injuries by 13.5% in the minors.
BetMGM: "Stolen bases are undoubtedly going to increase along with attempts. We're likely to see a base-stealing renaissance with a limit on pick-off attempts and the balk rule combined with pitchers focus on the hitters with less time between pitches. I expect bettors will be taking a shot on more base stealing props and anticipating more scoring."
In 2012, the MLB recorded 3,229 steals on 4,365 attempts. In 2022, that was down to 2,486 steals on 3,297.
To start the season, we have a liability on 6 teams to win the World Series. Nothing too big. From Medium Loss to XS Loss. Biggest to smallest— Dave Mason (@DaveMasonBOL) March 29, 2023
Blue Jays +1100
Sweet! Pirates are our biggest winner pic.twitter.com/apd1KFwzSr
Season Wins and World Series Odds
Here are the American League and National League teams season win totals and odds to win the World Series as the 2023 season begins.
According to BetMGM, teams with the most movement in their season win totals are: Pirates (2 games up), Blue Jays (2 games down). Angles (1.5 games up), Yankees (1.5 games down), Mets (1 game down). The division odds will adjust daily throughout the season, and Pennant and World Series odds will update through the season weekly.
Odds courtesy of BetOnline and Sportsbetting.ag.
|Team - Division||Season Wins||World Series Odds|
|Arizona Diamondbacks (West)||76||+12500|
|Atlanta Braves (East)||95.5||+700|
|Chicago Cubs (Central)||77.5||+8000|
|Cincinnati Reds (Central)||65.5||+25000|
|Colorado Rockies (West)||64.4||+20000|
|Los Angeles Dodgers (West)||95.5||+800|
|Miami Marlins (East)||75.5||+12500|
|Milwaukee Brewers (Central)||85.5||+5000|
|New York Mets (East)||93.5||+850|
|Philadelphia Phillies (East)||88.5||+1800|
|Pittsburgh Pirates (Central)||67.5||+20000|
|San Diego Padres (West)||93.5||+800|
|San Francisco Giants (West)||81.5||+6600|
|St. Louis Cardinals (Central)||88.5||+1800|
|Washington Nationals (East)||59.5||+50000|
|Team - Division||Season Wins||World Series Odds|
|Boston Red Sox||78.5||+5000|
|Chicago White Sox||82.5||+3300|
|Kansas City Royals||68.5||+15000|
|Los Angels Angels||83||+4000|
|New York Yankees||93.5||+750|
|Tampa Bay Rays||89||+2000|
|Toronto Blue Jays||91.5||+1100|
If you like 'over' bets, then take a swing and cash-in a bonus bet on the LA Angeles and Minnesota Twins over their season win totals. The Twins are a stronger bet to win the division, and both teams are a small plus price to make the playoffs.
FairwayJay is a proven sports handicapper and insightful analyst with proven results including in baseball. He chips in additional sports betting coverage and reporting on industry news and events. Read more great insights from FairwayJay and follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay