A Complete Guide to MLB Baseball Betting and Odds

MLB baseball has long been a fan favorite in many countries across the globe. So, it should come as no surprise that finding a reliable and trustworthy sports betting book that allows you to do some baseball betting on your favorite baseball teams is easy.

Even the European sportsbooks tend to offer a wide range of baseball betting opportunities, which can range from basic bets such as moneylines and props to multi-selection combination bets. As a result, many veteran baseball bettors prefer to compare the odds between sportsbooks to get the highest payout.

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baseball betting

Types of Baseball Betting Options


In baseball, the MLB moneyline wager is the easiest bet you can make. This type of wager is not a point spread like the NFL or NBA. The only requirement is you pick which team will win the game. Bookmakers set a moneyline value for each team in every game. The favorite is marked with a (-) and the underdog with a (+).


With runlines, the sports bettor doesn’t necessarily have to choose a winner, however, the winning team must win by at least two runs. The runline in baseball is typically set at -1.5 and +1.5 and is essentially the point spread. If the sports bettor picks the Boston Red Sox at -1.5, the Red Sox must win the game by 2 or more runs, if he chooses to wager on their opponents, the New York Yankees, the Yankees can lose the game by one run or win outright.

Types of Baseball Bets
  • Moneylines
  • Runlines
  • Run Totals
  • First 5 Innings
  • Parlay
  • Futures
  • Prop
  • LIVE Betting

Total Betting

Totals betting is simple, you’re looking at the combined number of runs scored by both teams. This number is generally listed between 7.5-9.5, though in some ballparks such as Coors Field in Colorado, you may see the total in the double digits, and you bet on over or under that number. The first thing to look for when betting a total is to look at the starting pitching matchups.

1st 5-Innings Bet

A 1st 5-innings bet allows a baseball bettor to bet the MLB moneyline, runline or total on the outcome of the first five innings of the game. The reason for making a 1st 5-innings bet is to try and handicap just the starting pitchers and taking the bullpens out of the wager. To win a 1st 5-inning bet, the first 4 ½ innings must be completed. The bet is void if a game rains out after three innings.


A baseball parlay is a ticket in which you bet on multiple games. The payouts on parlays are much larger than that of a straight bet, but have a much higher risk as you have win every game that you bet on. There are pros and cons of betting parlays. The good is that parlays have larger payouts. The problem with parlays is they are difficult to hit as one bad pick can ruin your entire bet.


A futures wager is a bet placed for an event that will happen later in the season. These types of bets are usually on team standings and individual player achievements. A Houston Astros fan might place a futures bet on the Astros to win the World Series, or Alex Bregman to lead the American League in home runs. Future odds can change very quickly and be very profitable, but can tie up your bankroll for months.


A baseball prop is a bet made that may not have anything to do with the final score of the game. An example of a prop bet would be how many strikeouts would Clayton Kershaw get in this game. One of the most popular props is will a team score a run in the first inning. Baseball props are viewed more as entertainment as most books will limit the amount you can wager on them.

Live Baseball Betting

Live betting in baseball depends on the sportsbook you are using. Every betting site will have in-game MLB moneylines, runlines and totals, but props wagers will depend on where you are placing your bets. Common live prop betting options are runs, hits, or strikeouts in a given inning. For the most part, you can also make these bets at mobile sportsbooks on your phone.

What are some tips for baseball betting?

Know the weather

Most baseball bets are on the MLB moneyline, bettors can still find value betting on totals. One big factor to consider before placing a bet is the weather. If the wind is blowing out from home plate, the ball is likely to travel further and that can make the difference between a long fly ball and a home run. The same goes for if the wind is blowing in toward home plate. That 10-mph wind can hold a fly ball up just enough to be caught on the warning track.

Baseball betting

Don’t forget about the umpires

Umpires are human and like all of us they have inherent biases. It is valuable to look at the umpire betting trends before making a bet. Some umpires are influenced by the crowd, which is handy for home teams. Some umpires have tight strike zones leading to more walks, more base runners and ultimately, runs, which is great information if you are leaning towards the over. Meanwhile, others may have giant strike zones, leading to more strikeouts and batters chasing pitches, which benefits under bets.

Avoid public teams as big favorites

Sportsbooks know that casual bettors love to bet their favorite team and favorites. That means popular teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers and Cubs are always a bit overpriced. These inflated lines mean you are going to get smaller payouts when you win and pay more for them.

The runline can help improve the odds in situations like this but anytime you are betting on a public team, like the teams listed above, the line will be inflated with public money from casual bettors. Using the runline to improve odds should be part of your baseball betting strategy.

MLB Betting Glossary

MLB Term Definition
Slip / Ticket another word for bet slip in which your wager is printed on
Run Line a type of bet where one team must win by a certain amount of runs (i.e. Nationals -1.5 run line, means they must win by 2 or more runs)
Push a sports betting term for a tie and wagers are returned to the player
Moneyline (ML) another term for an outright win sports bet. When betting the moneyline you believe one of the two teams (or player) will win the event.
Parlay a multi-game, multi-event bet, in which 2-or-more wagers must be correct in order for the ticket to cash. Because you are betting on more results to happen successfully, parlay bets often enjoy great odds than single bets.
Juice / Vig is another term for cost of placing a bet and is easier to show an example than define. When you look at a moneyline bet on an oddsboard, it’ll look something like: Yankees -115 Indians +110
Prop / Proposition Bet – these typically have to do with a certain player or team achieving a certain goal threshold within an event. An example of a prop bet would be Gerrit Cole OVER/UNDER 9.5 strikeouts
Specials an off-shoot of prop bets, specials are unique to a certain time frame. For example, during MLB playoffs, who will score more points/runs, the Redskins or Nationals?
LIVE betting some sportsbooks allow you to bet LIVE while the game is being play
Run Total the over / under bet of how many runs a team or two teams combined will score
F5 a baseball bet term for first five innings and helpful with alternate bets
L5 / L10 shorthand for last five games, last 10 games
Futures betting on a future event or outcome (i.e. the Yankees are +200 to win the 2021 World Series)

Baseball Betting FAQs