Could Baseball's Slow Pace Spark Increased In-Game Betting?

    • MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred sees in-game prop betting as a growth area.
    • But Darren Rovell thinks the promise of in-game betting is overblown.

Baseball’s slow pace of play has become a problem for the Grand Old Game.

But MLB commissioner Rob Manfrend thinks the leisurely pace could generate an in-game betting boom. 

MLB games averaged a record 3 hours, 10 minutes, 7 seconds last season. 

On the other hand, all the pitching changes provide downtime to bet. That could boost fan engagement, according to Manfred.

“I do think in-game betting is going to be a significant component. I think if you talk to people who are experts in the field, they don’t see outcome betting as a major growth area,” said Manfred on ESPN’s SportsCenter. “It is in fact in-game betting, so-called prop betting, that is going to be the growth area. And most of that betting is going to take place on mobile devices.”

Not so fast, warns Darren Rovell of Action Network. 

With roughly 12 minutes of action over 3 hour-plus games, the NFL’s better suited to in-game betting than baseball.

“There are major shifts in odds on singular plays – and a chance for both the book and the bettor to get in,” Rovell said.

With baseball, he doesn’t see gamblers “micro-betting” pitch-by-pitch. But they could gamble on which team will win the game, total runs scored, or the score after the 5th inning.  

“I actually think we may be overplaying ‘[slow] speed is going to help baseball.’ It’s better than soccer. But I’m not sure it’s really that accretive,” said Rovell.