Actually, betting on the 2011 season of Major League Baseball (MLB) began long ago — right around the time last year’s World Series wrapped up, as a matter of fact.

But now, as we wait for the 2011 regular season to kick off in less than 48 hours, MLB betting odds are once again the talk of the Internet. And this is action that sports betting affiliates facing the North American (and even Latin American) markets shouldn’t ignore — especially given the existing popularity of fantasy baseball and its related searches for news and stats.

Harnessing the power of fantasy
In fact, if you’re a betting affiliate, you might want to start thinking of Major League Baseball as a prime traffic driver. With fantasy baseball as popular as it is, there’s bound to be lots of crossover to online baseball sports betting, and there’s a ton of baseball-related fantasy searches happening every day.

A well-targeted baseball betting site would have little trouble harnessing some of that traffic. And if your site lets players know they can actually bet online, you’ll probably be telling them something they don’t know — and setting yourself up to score some unexpected conversions in the process.

“Due to the peculiarities of interest group democracy, online fantasy baseball is legal even though online bets on games and futures propositions are not,” Brennan Robbins at the Daily Princetonian writes.

Robbins is right — and wrong. Although U.S. law attempts to stifle online betting and gambling, it’s very roundabout in the details. So, there are still a big variety of online betting destinations that legally serve the American market — CAP Listed Programs BetUS and Bodog among them.

Most online betting brands facing the North American market not only offer comprehensive MLB odds, but a huge variety of prop bets to help entice die-hard baseball fans, who, again, probably don’t even know they can bet on baseball online.

Prop bets
Doc’s Sports recently reviewed BetUS’s MLB prop bets, with some interesting conclusions. Will any pitcher win more than 20.5 games? Will any pitcher save more than 47.5 games? Will any pitcher complete more than 7.5 games? These questions are solidly in line with fantasy baseball players’ known fondness for obsessing over individual players’ performances.

For its part, Bodog offers some cool variations on baseball betting, too. Its 5th inning lines set new gaming odds that let players jump in on in-progress games — just as long as both scheduled pitchers start. The famous betting site also offers a wide variety of prop bets regarding both players and teams. Again, that’s great SEO juice for betting affiliates looking to steal a little thunder from fantasy baseball’s online power.

The affiliate angle
Remember, baseball is popular in Canada and Mexico, too. And be sure to check out CAP’s recent guides to sports betting affiliate marketing in North America and Latin America.

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