How to bet on baseball
If you are new to betting on baseball or if you are looking to expand your knowledge. We have built a baseball betting guide to help your wagering. We cover the basics from how to read a betting line, money line bets, and we have some more advanced topics like betting the -1 line and some spring training advice. If you can’t make it to Las Vegas to wager, we have a guide to betting on baseball from anywhere. Good luck and let’s start with the most basic MLB betting of all….
Reading an Baseball (MLB) Line
If you are new to baseball betting, then the first step is to understand the betting line.
Let’s start off with an example;
801 New York Yankees (-115)
802 Boston Redsox (+104)
The away team is listed first and then the home team. The +/- is used to let the public know what the current odds on the game are. At (-115) the Yankees are the favorite. The Redsox at (+104) are the underdog. With a dime line both teams can be listed with a minus. An example could have both teams at (-105). The reason for the -105 is to provide the sportsbook a commission on the game. The dime line is the vig or commission the sportsbook charges to make bets.
When you are betting on any sports. There will be a number to the far left of the game and that will be the betting number to provide over the phone or if you are in a Las Vegas sportsbook.
In this example. If you wanted to bet on the Boston Redsox to win the game. You would tell the sportsbook writer;
“I am making a straight bet on 802 for a hundred dollars.”
The reason for saying a straight bet is so the sportsbook writer can go to the straight bet screen on his computer instead of the parlay screen.
Baseball Betting the Money Line
The MLB money line bet is a bet you place on the team you think will win a given game. The more heavily a team is favored, the wider the difference in the odds between the two teams. This is considered the most basic bet of all. In an MLB baseball game, you are just picking the winner. In the example given above you might see the odds in the money line as follows:
Toronto Blue Jays: +155
New York Yankees: -170
You’ll notice that the Yankees are favored. If you wager $100 on the Blue Jays and they win, you will make $155; however, you’ll have to wager $170 on the Yankees for a $100 return. For most gamblers this is the type of bet they start out making. For some that is enough but if you are betting on big favorites then you will see odds like -275 or even a -300 when a top pitcher is going. It is hard to make a living with wins this small unless you are wagering thousands of dollars on each game.
There is also the occasional upset. This is a real possibility in baseball because the odds are set by who the starting pitcher is. If the Dodgers send Clayton Kershaw to pitch, then he may well be -300. He could be doing great but if the Dodgers are only up 2-0 in the seventh, then you will need to worry about a manager taking him out of the game because of his pitch count. If he is taken out. Now, you are stuck will a -300 bet on a below average set of relievers. If I make a bet on this big of a favorite, I will either make a run line bet at -1.5 or I will make a live bet in the game if the starter is taken out. Both of these bets are covered later.
Baseball Betting Total – Overs and Unders
In an MLB total bet AKA, a baseball over under wager, you are betting on the total amount of runs made by both teams combined. Sportsbooks will look at each game and come up with a number that they think will reflect the predicted number of runs. Since this is one of the most common bets made in baseball. Every MLB game will have an over under bet available. The number of runs can change dependent on the amount of action on one side or the other. This is also a good bet to do some bet shopping. The number of runs might be the same at several online sportsbooks but the odds can differ from one book to another. An example of a total bet:
In a game between the Blue Jays and the Yankees, you might see the odds listed as follows:
Over 8.5 -110
Under 8.5 -110
In this case, the sportsbook in question thinks there is an equal chance of going over or under the 8.5, so the odds are the same. However, in many circumstances these odds vary due to the low run-scoring nature of baseball. In sports like the football or the basketball, totals will normally always have odds of -110 for both under and over.
It’s important to note you don’t need to wager the full amount listed in the examples listed above. You will receive a pro-rata amount for your stake allowing you to bet just $11 on the unders to win $10, or $5 to win $4.50.
In this bet both the over and the under are listed as -110. If you like the over then shop around at several books because it is likely that one or two books will have the over listed at +100 and the under at -120. There is also a good chance of finding a sportsbook with the over at 9 and +110 for this game. This would mean a total of 9 runs scored in the game would be a push instead of a win but if they score 10 or more your return on your bet would increase by 20%. Something to consider if you think they total will go well over the posted amount.
MLB Baseball Betting – Parlays
MLB baseball parlays are a very popular wager to make in baseball, allowing you to bet on up to 12 teams at a time. The way this type of bet works is simple – pick your teams, watch them play and if all of them win, you win. These bets can add up quickly and be very lucrative, however if one team lets you down you’ll lose your parlay. If you have a smaller bankroll you might consider Parlays as the way to go; however, single bets are considered to be the safer option.
An example of a MLB parlay bet:
Los Angeles Dodgers +110
San Francisco Giants -110
Toronto Blue Jays +110
New York Yankees -110
Cleveland Indians +110
Detroit Tigers -110
The three games above, all home teams are listed as -110 & on road teams are +110. You will not find this in real betting but for our example it is sufficient. If you bet on of the home teams (3 teams) at place $100 on your three team parlay. You will need all three-teams to win for you bet to win. If you had made this bet, then the ticket would be worth $700. The $100 bet and the $600 won. If you had bet on three dogs at +110 and all three teams had won. Then your bet would be worth $926. The $100 bet and the $826 won. Remember, in parlay betting. Every team must win or push for the ticket to be a winner.
Offering 162 games per season and more betting opportunities than any other sport, baseball can be quite the lucrative sport to wager on if equipped with a winning strategy. Be sure to spend some time looking at each game, invest your cash wisely and enjoy the game while maximizing your return.
MLB Baseball Betting – The Run Line
MLB baseball betting basics, the run line bet. This is a common bet available on all MLB baseball games. When the sportsbook is deciding the run line odds. The sportsbooks will look at a game and decide which of the two teams are favored, then offer a bet where the underdog will be given an advantage in terms of runs (usually 1.5, but sometimes more). For example, let’s say the Toronto Blue Jays are playing the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. In this situation, the New York Yankees would usually be considered the favored team, so a sportsbook may list the game as follows:
For a money line bet
Toronto Blue Jays: +160
New York Yankees: -180
For a run line bet
Toronto Blue Jays: +1.5 -125
New York Yankees: -1.5 +105
You would need to wager $125 on the Blue Jays in order to win $100. Your wager would be considered a win if either the Blue Jays win the game or lose by a solitary run (the +1.5 would cover this).
If you were to back the Yankees, you would need to wager $100 to win $105. Moreover, you would only win your wager if the Yankees were to win the game by two runs or more. If they won by a solitary run it would not be enough to cover the -1.5.
If you are in Las Vegas and going to make a run line bet on a MLB game. Make sure you let him know it will be a run line bet upfront. He needs to enter the run line portion of the bet before he enters the team number you are betting on. Just a way to save time and keep you from walking away from the counter with the wrong bet on your wagering ticket.
The odds described above follow a format used by most American sportsbook. However, many international sportsbooks offer decimal or fractional odds. Here is the above example rewritten in decimal odds (fractional odds in brackets):
Toronto Blue Jays: +1.5 (4/5)
New York Yankees: =1.5 (21/20)
MLB betting the Minus One Run Bet
MLB baseball minus one run bet is an easy thing to understand. It is just a combination of the money line bet and a run line bet on a favorite.
MLB baseball minus one run bet Example:
Team Money Line Run Line
Dodgers -110 (-1.5) +160
Giants +100 (+1.5) -180
In this scenario the Dodgers are favored on the road against the Giants. If you were to make a bet on the Dodgers on the money line for a $110 you would win $100 if they won the game. If you were to bet $100 on the Dodgers on the run line they would need to win by at least two runs for you to win. The payoff would be more, a $160 win. A minus one line would be betting on the Dodgers on the money line and on the run line in the same game. There are several different combos to use when managing your bankroll on a minus one bet. The most basic is an insurance bet. In this case I could bet $110 on the Dodgers on the money line and $100 on the Dodgers on the Run Line. If they Dodgers win by one run, they I break even on my bets. Winning a $100 on my money line bet while losing my run line bet. If they Dodgers win by 2 or more runs then I would win both bets. A $100 from the money line bet and a $160 from the run line bet. Of course, if the Dodger lose then I lose both of my bets.
Bankroll management of the minus one bet. The bet above is a very basic betting baseball betting strategy. Early in the season I tend to use this formula for my betting. After about a month into the season I will go over the run differential trends to see which teams win by one run and which win by more than a run. If I have a team that wins more than 30% of their games by two runs or more then I start to adjust the bet distribution in favor of the run line. It is important to note that I have the away team as the favorite and I am giving -1.5 runs. If the home team is the favorite, then the run line bet becomes more precarious. If the home team is trailing or tied going into the ninth inning, then the only way for them to cover the run line bet is for a home run to be hit with someone on base. It does happen but not enough for me to include it in my money management. Because of this when I make a home run line bet it is usually for half of what I would have bet on an away run line. If I am willing to make my bet distribution on an away team of 60% run line and 40% money line. Then on a home favorite I would bet 30% run line and 70% money line.