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Sports betting news | Aug 06, 2021

How to bet on MLB Baseball

By RTR Dennis

MLB 655x200

How to bet on MLB Baseball

How to read baseball betting odds

The first step for a beginner looking to start betting on Baseball is to understand moneyline odds. The moneyline betting market is the most popular in most major league sports but none more so than in baseball. A moneyline baseball bet requires you to pick a team to win the game outright.

The two teams in a baseball game are described as either the "Favourite" or the "Underdog". The favourite obviously being predicted as more likely to win the game and the underdog being more likely to lose. Below is an example of an MLB moneyline market showing the odds for each team:

New York Yankees -150

Houston Astros +200

The New York Yankees are a negative number which means they are the moneyline favorites. The Houston Astros are the positive number, making them the moneyline underdogs. The Yankees odds are stated as -150 meaning that if you bet $100 you would win $66.67 or to put it another way you would need to wager $150 to win $100. The Astros +200 odds means that if you wagered $100 on Houston, you would win $200, plus your initial stake, so $300 overall.

Understanding the terminology

MLB prop betting

Prop bets, short for proposition, are some of the more creative ways to bet on MLB. Prop betting gives the opportunity for a bettor to bet on very specific outcomes. For those that follow MLB very closely it can be a chance to prove that knowledge. It is possible to wager on specific players, such as betting on the number of strikeouts a starting pitcher will rack up or the amount of home runs a big- hitter will make.

MLB parlays

If you prefer to make a smaller bet but still want a chance to win big then parlay bets could be for you. Parlay bets are bets are made up of several wagers usually over several games. For a parlay bet to pay out you would need to correctly predict each of the wagers that make up the bet, for this reason a parlay bet can be thought of as a high risk, high reward bet.

A secondary benefit to parlay bets is that a single bet can be made over several games so it can be useful for those that like to have at least a small amount of money on every game they watch, without having to risk a high amount of funds.


Runlines, also known as betting "against the spread" are one of the largest markets for MLB betting, It's known as a handicap market, meaning a sports book will give a particular point spread for the favourites to beat the underdogs by, such as 1.5 runs. This means that if the favourite wins by 2 runs or more then they have "covered the spread" or conversely if the underdogs don't lose by more than 2 runs then they have covered the spread instead. Below is a clear example:

Chicago Cubs +1.5

New York Yankees -1.5

For the Yankees to "cover the spread" they would need to beat the Cubs by at least two runs. For a runline bet on the Cubs to win, the Cubs only need to avoid defeat by two or more runs.

For new Baseball bettors it is worth remembering that roughly 28% of games in the history of the MLB have been decided by only one run.

Betting on the top half of the game (first 5 innings)

Betting on the first 5 innings in a game can be a good way to make the most of the uncertainty during the settling-in period at the beginning of the regular season. These types of bets are often labelled as "F5 Bets" with US sportsbooks. For teams that have had major changes in their roster or their coaching staff it can take them longer to get up to speed compared to teams that are more established.


In Major League Baseball you can bet on the combined final score of the game i.e. the total number of runs scored by both teams, hence the name "Totals". A sports betting site will normally offer the chance to bet on a Total for the game normally "over" or "under" a certain figure, usually somewhere between 5 and 10 but much like prop bets most good online sportsbooks offers the opportunity to create your own Totals bet but be aware that the odds on these can vary wildly.

MLB logo

Tips for Beginners

1. Avoid the Big Favourites

Oddsmakers know that recreational bettors love betting favorites. As a result, they’ll capitalize on public bias and adjust the odds accordingly. This means that popular teams like the Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs and Dodgers will normally be overpriced because the average bettor will bet on them based on their reputation, not their recent form or rankings. So make the wise move and avoid these popular teams and instead look for potentially under-priced underdogs.

2. Make the most of Plus-Money Underdogs

In order to break even when betting on football and basketball, bettors must win 52.4% of the time (assuming -110 juice), however, if MLB bettors avoid big favorites and consistently bet on plus-money underdogs (+120, +150, +170) they can win less than half of the time and still finish the year in profit. To put it simply, when underdogs lose, you only lose what you risked, but when they win, you enjoy valuable plus-money payouts.

3. Bet Against the Public

The average Baseball bettor bets based on his or her gut instinct. They normally choose to bet on their local team, or a team with a star player they like. This is a completely acceptable way to bet but unfortunately for them it isn't normally very profitable.

They can also fall victim to what is known as "recency bias". If a team played really strongly in their last game then the public sentiment is that they will do well again. If the team looked very poor before then they will likely not support them, or even bet against them. Though form can be a good indicator it can be misleading if looked at over too short a period.

By going contrarian and betting against the public, a bettor is able to capitalize on public bias and take advantage of artificially inflated numbers. As an added bonus, they also place themselves on the same side as the sportsbooks and as well know, the house usually wins.

4. Use Several Sportsbooks

One of the most common mistakes a new bettor makes is betting through only one sportsbook. This is a bad idea as it forces the bettor to accept whatever lines their book is offering regardless of the true odds of the game. Instead, we suggest opening multiple accounts at several different online betting sites so that they are able to find the best odds for the bet they want to make.

For example, say you want to bet on the Seattle Mariners to win. One sportsbook may be offering +130 while another is posting +135, on a $100 bet this will only affect the winnings by $5 but if you don't look for the best odds every time you bet then these small changes will add up quickly and you could end up losing out on hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a year.

5. Know the Weather

An often overlooked but important part of baseball wagering is the weather itself. As anyone with a basic understanding of wind will tell you, if the wind is blowing hard out of the stadium then the ball will travel much further, conversely if there are gale force winds blowing into the stadium then it is much less likely that a batter will knock it out of the park.

Another interesting, but less important factor is the height of the stadium above sea level. For instance, Denver is at 5,280 feet so the air resistance is approximately 86% of what it would be in Seattle at only 10 feet above sea levels so the ball will fly roughly 20 feet further in Denver than it would Seattle.