How to Bet on Baseball 2024

Posted by Dave Consolazio .

Love ’em or hate ’em, the Houston Astros didn’t rebuild once George Springer and Carlos Correa moved on, they simply reloaded. Undefeated in the 2022 MLB playoffs, the American League champs will square off against a pesky Philadelphia Phillies squad led by Bryce Harper who – after so many years – is enjoying his Mr. October moments on a regular basis. MLB betting season isn’t quite finished as we’ll keep you posted on odds to win the World Series, where to bet on MLB games and share some basic tips and strategies to strengthen your bankroll.

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How to Bet on Baseball: Bet Types

MLB Moneyline Betting

Bet on who wins the game

MLB Moneyline Betting

When you bet on the moneyline, the goal is to guess which team will win the game.

When betting on baseball, a 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 (+).

Baseball Moneyline Example

For example, let’s say this is the moneyline:

  • Red Sox -110
  • Yankees -110

In this baseball betting example, the Yankees are the favorite. The bookmaker set both lines at (-110) in this case. So, you’ll have to wager $110 for a chance to win $100, regardless of which team you pick.

Run Lines

Bet on which team will win by a specific number of runs

Run Lines

When betting MLB run lines, you don’t necessarily have to choose a winner, but the winning team must win by a specific number of runs.

The run line 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 the Yankees, New York can lose the game by one run or win outright for the bettor to win.

MLB Run Lines Bet Example

Here’s an example of how a baseball run line would be laid out:

  • Boston Red Sox -1.5 (-100)
  • New York Yankees +1.5 (+150)

The Red Sox are the favored team to win, and must win by 2 or more to cover the 1.5 runs they are giving the Yankees.

Run Totals (Over/Under)

Bet on the game’s total runs scored

Run Totals (Over/Under)

Betting run totals 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 and you bet on over or under that number.

Baseball Over/Under Betting Example

Here’s a run total baseball betting example. Let’s say the total is set at 7.5 for a game between Boston and New York:

  • Boston Over 7.5 (-110)
  • Yankees Over 7.5 (-110)

If you believe Boston scores more than 7.5 runs and bet $110, you’ll win $100 plus recoup your original $110 wager. The -110 is the juice / vig on the bet, which means how much you need to bet to win $100. If there is a +110, you’d wager $100 to win $110.

Tip: The first thing to look for when MLB betting a total is to look at the starting pitching matchups and stadium run total betting trends.

Parlay Betting

One MLB bet where multiple outcomes must occur to win

Parlay Betting

A MLB parlay is when you place several various outcome wagers on a single ticket. The payouts on parlays are much larger than that of a straight bet, but have a much higher risk as you must 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 the entire bet.

Parlay Bet Example

Here’s an example of a baseball parlay ticket:

Bet: $50 on the Blue Jays and Astros to win.

  • Toronto Blue Jays (+150), LA Dodgers (-110)
  • Chicago Cubs (+200), Houston Astros (-110)

In this example, if the Blue Jays win and Astros lose, your parlay bet loses. If the Blue Jays and Astros both win, your parlay hits and your $50 wins $188.64.

1st 5-Innings Bet

Bet on the score or other game result within the first 5-innings

1st 5-Innings Bet

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

Here’s an example of a first 5-inning MLB bet:

  • Astros -0.5 (Verlander starting)
  • Indians +0.5 (Bieber starting)

If the Indians lead by one-or-more runs OR the game is TIED at the end of five innings, they win the bet. If the Astros lead by one-or-more runs at the end of five innings, Houston backers win the bet.

Baseball Props

MLB bets outside the end result of the game

Baseball Props

Prop bets allow you to bet on elements of the game besides the final score, ranging from which player scores first, to who sings the national anthem. One of the most popular props is will a team score a run in the first inning. Baseball props are viewed more as entertainment with limits how much you can wager on them.

MLB Baseball Futures Betting

Bet on MLB future outcomes

MLB Baseball Futures Betting

A MLB futures wager is a bet placed on an event that will happen later in the season. These 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 quickly, but if you get in early, can also be very profitable.

MLB Baseball Futures

Here’s some examples of MLB betting futures odds:

Odds to win the World Series

  • Dodgers +450
  • Yankees +450
  • Padres +750

If you place a $100 wager on the Padres to win the World Series and they do, you win $750.

Odds to win American League MVP

  • Mike Trout +400
  • Shane Bieber +600
  • Tim Anderson +850

If you place a $100 wager on Bieber to win AL MVP and he does, you win $600.

Baseball Live Betting

Bet on moneylines, run lines and totals in real-time

Baseball Live Betting

LIVE betting in baseball depends on the sportsbook you are using. Every betting site will have in-game MLB moneylines, run lines and totals, but props wagers will vary by sportsbook. Common MLB LIVE prop betting options are runs, hits, or strikeouts in a given inning.

2022 MLB World Series Odds

The Philadelphia Phillies finished 14 games behind the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves in the National League East Division. They went on to sweep the Cardinals in the Wild Card round, take 3-of-four from the aforementioned Braves and knock out the big budget Padres out West. With five players making $19-million-or-more this season, championships don’t always come cheap.

Houston remains undefeated this postseason after sweeping the Mariners in the ALDS and Yankees in the ALCS. They won the American League West Division by 16 games as Dusty Baker returns to the World Series as -190 series favorites to win a baseball championship.

TeamOdds to Win 2022 World Series
Phillies+165
Astros-190

Recommended Baseball Betting Strategies

Note Trends & Injuries

Note Trends & Injuries

Trends in baseball, bet it at the team or player level, matter. This can go for a hitting streak, average strikeouts per game or winning streak. Ride the hot streak if the matchup makes sense, but don’t get tunnel vision.

It’s easier to track these trends when a player and team are healthy. Injuries are part of the game, but can wreak havoc on a manager’s and bettors strategy. However, you can use last-second roster changes to your advantage and, if lucky, find better MLB odds before bookmakers have time to make the change.

Track trends and injury updates on team social media channels for the latest information.

Embrace Analytics

Embrace Analytics

The evolution of advanced statistics and sabermetrics in baseball has turned off the casual fan, but those looking to bet on baseball need to embrace the metrics as part of their research and strategy.

Sabermetrics are very helpful when targeting player prop bets versus a moneyline, straight-up wager. For example, a pitcher with a high K/9 rate (strikeouts per nine innings) facing a lineup known for striking out often could be worthy of a Over/Under total strikeouts prop bet.

Know the weather

Know the weather

Most baseball bets are on the MLB moneyline, bettors can still find value betting on totals. One big factor to consider when betting 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.

Avoid public teams as big favorites

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 run line 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 run line to improve odds should be part of your baseball betting strategy.

Props over Outcome

Props over Outcome

For various reasons, the value of a starting pitcher earning a win has been diluted somewhat and because of this, the risk associated with a straight up moneyline bet is greater than focusing on player props.

If you go with a strategy that a strong starting pitcher is going to dominate a weak hitting lineup, that’s fine. However, once that starting pitcher is removed from the game, say in the 6th or 7th inning, all bets are off as to how the bullpen will perform. With new rules now forcing relief pitchers to face at least three batters, weak bullpens are being exposed and costing starting pitchers, and the bettors who back them, big wins.

Don’t forget about the umpires

Don’t forget about the umpires

Umpires are human and like all of us they have inherent biases. It’s valuable to look at the umpire betting trends before making a MLB 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.

Shop Run Lines

Shop MLB Betting Futures

Shop Run Lines

The smartest MLB bettors take the time to shop run lines and futures odds for the best value on the side they’re looking to bet. If you want to back a 1.5-run favorite, odds are that team is -1.5-run favorite at most sportsbooks online, but on the off-chance one book has them pegged as 0.5-run favorite, this might entice you to submit a wager at their outlet.

The same philosophy applies to futures bets like odds to win the 2022 World Series. If you’re convinced the New York Mets are going to win and Sportsbook A has their World Series futures at +700 and another posted Mets +800, you have the opportunity to win $100 more for every $100 wagered if you take Mets +800. All it took, was a few minutes of your time to compare odds at a few online sportsbooks. Time can truly be money.

Bet on Baseball Resources

Mobile Sports Betting

Mobile Sports Betting

Bet on baseball – anywhere, anytime. Here are our favorite places for MLB sports betting online from your mobile phone.

Mobile Sports Betting
Real Money Sports Betting

Real Money Sports Betting

Put your money where your mouth is — Here are some of our favorite real money sportsbooks for MLB sports betting online.

Real Money Sports Betting
Safe Sports Betting

Safe Sports Betting

For peace of mind, here are the safest and most secure betting sites to wager on baseball.

Safe Sports Betting

How to Bet on Baseball FAQs

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Dave Consolazio

Dave Consolazio has been passionate about writing and sports journalism since his high school years. He has a degree in Broadcast Journalism from USC where he worked with the school's radio and television stations. His work has been featured in SportsbookReview, Sports Illustrated and SB Nation. Dave's experience ranges across multiple fields in the gambling industry. You can find his sports, casino, and poker articles in GambleOnline.co.

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