Betting on baseball online is essentially the same as it is at a live sportsbook. The most popular way to bet on baseball is on the money line, but there are also numerous other ways to bet on baseball. At each of the recommended online sportsbooks below, baseball fans can wager on the money line, run line, over/under, parlays, MLB props and futures. For more information about types of baseball bets, scroll down this page.
Where to Bet
MLB Money Line Bets
Since the scores in baseball are relatively low, no point spreads are used for betting. Instead, most people bet the games straight up using the money line. Money lines are represented with a negative (-) for the favorite, or positive (+) for the underdog. Here’s how it works.
Money lines are based around the $100 figure. For negative money lines, the number after the ‘-‘ shows you the money needed to wager in order to win $100. For positive money lines, the number shows you the amount that would be won from a $100 wager.
- Boston Red Sox -180 (Favorite). Wager $180 to win $100 more, for a total return of $280.
- New York Yankees +150 (Underdog). Wager $100 to win $150 more, for a total return of $250.
As mentioned above, negative money lines indicate the favored team in a baseball game. In cases where both teams have a negative money line, the team with the higher number is the favorite.
- Los Angeles Dodgers -105 (Underdog)
- San Francisco Giants -115 (Favorite)
In this case, you would need to wager $105 on the Dodgers to win $100 in profit. For the Giants, it would require a $115 wager to win $100.
Run Line Bets
Run line bets are the MLB version of the puck line in hockey. Run lines typically give 1.5 runs to the underdog, meaning that the favored team needs to win by 2 runs in order for bets on them to win. Since the underdog has been given 1.5 runs, they’re usually considered the favorite in a run line bet. This means that you’d get better odds on the opposing team now, but they’d have to win by two runs.
- Arizona Diamondbacks +1.5 (-170). Underdog on the money line, now the favorite.
- Philadelphia Phillies -1.5 (+140). Favorite on the money line, now the underdog.
If the Phillies win this game 5-4, run line bets on them would lose. If the Phillies win 6-4, bets on them would win because they won by 2 runs, and they only gave up 1.5.
If you bet on the Diamondbacks, they need to win the game, or lose by only one run. This makes run line betting very interesting because every year there seem to be a few teams that win or lose a lot of one run games. As the season goes along, check these stats for teams and use it to your advantage. When you find a team that has a 13-4 record in one run games, they could be a great team to bet on when they’re the underdog. The same can be said for teams that lose most of their one run games.
Total (Over/Under) Bets
Total bets, also called over/under bets, are wagers based on the total number of runs that the two teams score. For example, if the score is 5-3, the total was 8.
Every online sportsbook that offers MLB baseball betting offers over/under bets. Your job is to decide if the teams will score more, or fewer runs than the over/under. Over/under bets will often use a half-run, like 6.5. This eliminates the ability to push, and every bet either wins or loses.
MLB has 30 teams – 16 in the National League and 14 in the American League
MLB Parlay Betting
Baseball parlay betting can be a lot of fun, and a way to turn a small bet into a big win. However, it can also be a money pit if you don’t know what you’re doing.
A parlay bet is a wager where multiple teams are picked to win, and added onto a single ticket. If any team on the ticket loses, the parlay is lost. Since every team on the ticket has to win, the handicapper gets greatly increased odds.
MLB baseball games can be combined with other sports into the same ticket. For example, you can have a 6 team parlay with 3 MLB teams, one NBA team, and a soccer team all on one parlay.
As mentioned above, the benefit of a parlay bet is the increased odds. However, with each team added to a ticket, the harder it is to win the bet. For baseball parlay bets, we recommend keeping your parlay down to a maximum of 4-5 teams. While there are ridiculous odds offered for 8+ team parlays, they’re almost impossible to win. Smaller parlays will win more often, keeping your bankroll replenished, and spirits up.
Baseball Futures Bets
Futures bets are wagers placed well in advance of the result. For example, you can bet on who will win the World Series well before the season even starts. For MLB baseball, online sportsbooks offer futures bets for the divisional championships, NL and AL championships, and of course the World Series.
Futures bets have a wide range of odds. For example, a favorite might have odds of 7/2, where a middle of the road team might have odds of 30/1, and longshots have odds as high as 100/1. Before a season starts, odds are based on speculation, depending on the players on a team roster. Once the season gets underway and certain teams begin to pull ahead or fall behind, the futures odds change to reflect that. So, if you think you have a dark horse, bet on them before the season starts when the odds are greatest.
Major League Baseball Prop Bets
Prop bets are bets that don’t fall into the other betting categories. For baseball, you can bet on how many strikeouts a pitcher will record, how many runs a team will score, if a certain player will hit a home run, etc..
Most online sportsbooks offer MLB prop bets, with some variety from book to book. To find the best MLB props, sign up at several online sportsbooks. You’ll be able to compare odds & vig (juice) for the same types of props, and find unique props as well.
MLB Baseball Playoff Betting
The MLB playoffs sees the most betting action in the baseball calendar year
During the MLB playoffs, handicappers can expect a larger number of bets available to them. More prop bets and live bets are offered at every online sportsbook.
When betting on the playoffs series’ rather than individual games, always look at potential pitching matchups for each game. Teams will often put their ace on the mound with just 3-4 days rest, instead of the typical 5 days like they get during the regular season. This can make a huge difference on the results of a short series.
World Series Betting
There are a number of ways to bet on the World Series. First, futures bets can be placed months in advance. When the World Series begins, handicappers can bet on each individual game, the series as a whole, or choose from hundreds of prop bets. Prop bets are any type of bet that doesn’t fall into one of the standard betting categories. For example, you could place a prop bet on the number of strikeouts a pitcher will record, or how many times a team will walk during a game.
Live betting is becoming more & more popular as well. During a game, handicappers can bet on the result of almost every at-bat or half-inning. Some common live bets would be ‘will this batter strikeout, walk, ground out, pop out, hit, or home run?’
At most online sportsbooks, live bets can be made for as little as $1, and go up to $500 per bet. During the World Series, every online sportsbook that offers live betting boosts the number of live bets that can be made.
MLB Baseball Betting Tips
MLB Betting Tip #1
MLB money lines are mostly based on pitching. If one pitcher is very dominant over the opposing pitcher, that team will generally be the favorite. Never bet on a game without knowing the starting pitchers and the relief staff. Find out how many innings per start each pitcher averages. If the favored starter only averages 6 innings per game, you have to expect that relievers will get into the game. If the opposing hitters are good, then it’s safe to assume your relievers will be pitching 9 outs or more. Are they good enough to hold a lead?
This might sound very basic, but it’s the most important aspect of betting on baseball. People who are new at betting on MLB baseball put too much emphasis on hitting, and not enough on pitching. Remember, good pitching beats good hitting.
MLB Betting Tip #2
Since the early part of the season is harder to predict, look for lines that look out of whack. Lines are set by the sportsbooks, but they move based on where the money is going (which team is getting the most bets). What can you learn about these two teams that the casual handicapper doesn’t know? Is this young pitcher that nobody has ever heard of capable of throwing 100mph heaters for strikes? Does he have a wicked curve that nobody touched during spring training? With so many games being played every day, good lines can be found if you do enough digging.
MLB Betting Tip #3
Instead of betting on 10 games a day, look for 2-3 good lines and make larger wagers per game. Stay within reasonable bankroll management rules, but look to make bigger hits on games with more value. Going 5-5 every day will cost you a lot of juice, but 2-1 will make you a mint. Also, when you’re betting on fewer teams, you’ll have more time for research before placing your bets, snowballing into a better win rate.