For bettors, nothing compares to a new baseball season for one simple reason – opportunity. Football and basketball are fun, but neither comes close to playing as many games as they do in baseball. More games mean more opportunity to play the MLB odds and potentially win money. With 162 games a season and various baseball betting options, there's plenty of action for bettors. Our experts will teach you how to bet on baseball, and the best MLB bets to make.
The objective of baseball is simple: score more runs than the other player in nine innings. Should the game be tied after nine, then the teams play extra innings until someone wins. Fans can bet real money on the game's outcome via a moneyline, runline, and/or totals in baseball betting lines:
|Team||Spread||Total||Moneyline for 2020 Season Opener|
|New York Yankees||-1.5 +135||Ov 7.5 +100||-140|
|Washington Nationals||+1.5 -160||Un 7.5 -121||+120|
The outcome of games is only one of many ways to bet in baseball. Most sportsbooks will offer fans the chance to bet on future results, such as: division winners, the American League Championship Series (ALCS), the National league Championship Series (NLCS), and the World Series winner. Like games, they will include a moneyline and/or total:
|AL West Division Winner|
|Los Angeles Angels||+525|
Other team-oriented futures bets include win totals and making the playoffs:
|Houston Astros Regular Season Wins|
|Houston Astros Markets 2020 — To Make the Playoffs|
Examples of player-oriented future bets would include the regular-season awards. Many sportsbooks will also take bets on the leader of various statistical categories, i.e., home runs, runs batted in (RBIs), stolen bases, and strikeouts
These will also include a moneyline and/or total:
|Houston Astros Markets 2020 — To Make the Playoffs|
Books will also offer totals bets in various categories for players. Fans can bet on whether the player will cover the over or under for that category:
Giancarlo Stanton Markets 2020Total Home Runs by the Player — Excluding Playoffs
With the sheer volume of player and team statistics sportsbooks track in baseball, fans can make endless baseball bets. The only limitation is what each sportsbook wants to take wagers on.
The idea behind moneyline betting is to level the playing field by creating a balance between the risk and reward of betting on either team. We all like to bet on favorites because they are more likely to win. But because of that, bets on favorites pay less.
For example, in the season opener, the New York Yankees (-140) are favored to beat the Washington Nationals (+120).
Should the Yankees win, you would have had to bet $140 to win $100. They are more likely to win as the favorites, hence a smaller reward (payout) for less risk. But should the Nationals win, a $100 bet will win $120.
Bettors can win more on underdogs, which makes up for the risk involved in betting on them.
Still confused about moneyline bets? Get the full brief on how moneyline and other odds work with our sports odds guide.
Runline betting acts just like the point spread for a football game. Favorites don't just have to win; they have to win by more than the runline.
Underdogs can lose a game, but if they lose by less than the runline, the bettor wins.
In the season opener, the runline is 1.5 runs. So, for a bet on the Yankees to pay out, they will have to win by at least two runs (or more than 1.5). Consequently, the Nationals can lose by a run (less than 1.5) and still pay out.
Use our odds calculator to find out how much your runline bet can potentially win.
Totals, or team totals, work just like the over/under wagers listed for NBA and NFL games. The number listed by sportsbooks will be the total number of runs scored by both teams. Bettors can bet on whether they think the total number of runs scored in the game will be more (over) or less (under).
For the season opener, the total is 7.5 runs. Should the Yankees and Nationals score at least eight and cover the over, it pays out at +100. But if they score seven or less, the payout is -121.
You know how to read baseball betting lines and how to bet on baseball games, now it's time to start making wagers. Don't pick just any old game and go with the moneyline, though. Some bets are going to be better than others. So, how do you figure out which ones are the best baseball bets?
First, you must do your homework. Information is key, and with baseball, there is plenty available. As for what the best bets are, they will be a mixture of value and likelihood of winning:
Recreational bettors like to vote on the over since more runs tend to equate to a more exciting game. Because of them, the house will increase the odds on the under, giving it more value. When games are in domes, without weather being a factor, conditions favor the pitcher.
That may seem counterintuitive since they lose more often than win. But when they do win, since the odds are plus, they pay out more. If you were to bet solely on underdogs, you can come out ahead despite winning less than half of your wagers.
Oddsmakers are learning the rosters for every team and figuring out how to adjust accordingly early on. You are going to be more likely to find value at this time. But don't wild bet on underdogs; be sure and do your homework first to identify the better bets.
Whatever you do, don't bet on every game. That is not a sound baseball betting strategy. Some bettors say, 'you have to be in it to win it', but those are probably trying to borrow money off you. You should only bet on the games that you feel confident about.
Avoid heavy favorites, too. They may seem like sure bets because of the odds, but the best teams lose to the worst ones with surprising frequency. While the odds are a large minus number, the payout is small if you do win. But when you lose, the loss will hurt your bankroll. They just aren't worth it.
What is a good baseball betting strategy to use on games? The answer to that question depends on what you are looking for.
If you are just looking for some recreational betting to make games more interesting, then put your money into futures bets. The odds of winning these wagers are not great, and you have to wait to get paid. But your money will not be lost after a single game either.
Bettors looking to make a profit however should stay away from futures. They will tie your money up all season, and you will not have a chance to make it back if you lose.
If you are looking to bet on games, the basis for every strategy is the same: do your homework. Be aware of the baseball betting lines and if they have changed. Know who the starting pitchers are, and how they have been pitching. Be mindful of anyone battling injuries, coming back from injuries, or trying to play through them. Are they in a pitcher or hitter-friendly park?
With the wealth of data available in baseball, it's easy to lose yourself in the numbers. But you will not know what you need until you become familiar with what data is available. Shop around for your betting lines, too. They will not vary greatly, but a few extra points will mean more money in your pocket (if you win).
As for some specific single-game baseball betting strategies:
Betting on underdogs can be exciting and pays well (when they win). When it comes to divisional games, both teams know each other well, which gives the underdog a better shot at winning. They will still lose more than they win, but with the moneyline being longer, you win more.
You want to win more money, but don't like rolling the dice on underdogs. Try combining two or more heavy favorites into a parlay (one bet with multiple legs/games). The more games you add, the higher the payout. But you also take on more risk. If one leg loses, you lose no matter how many other legs won.
If there are multiple games you feel good about, don't bet one massive parlay. Break them down into many smaller ones. That way, you can minimize the risk a little while still getting a nice payout.
The public can often get emotional about a game. Rather than bet with a cool head, they let emotion sway their decision making. So, as the money on one side grows more substantial, the house will shift the odds to try to compensate. This will, in turn, create some inflated odds for the house. It will also result in a higher payout for those who bet against the public and with the house. This strategy is only advisable when the public is heavily leaning towards one side.
Betting on baseball games can be challenging. Even the best teams will lose around 40% of their games. So, how can you increase your chances of coming out on the winning side more often than not?
Following these baseball betting tips will help you avoid some of the more common pitfalls, and make smarter bets:
That is the basis of every baseball betting strategy. With the plethora of data available, you never have to guess. Every decision should be an informed one.
While the idea of betting against your team may sound criminal, they are not going to win every game.
It is much harder to make a rational, informed decision about a game after a few beers. You are also going to be more likely to let emotion take over.
Decide in advance how big your bankroll will be for the season and keep to it. Bet in increments that will make it last as long as you want it to. Resist the urge to bet more to make up for losses, too.
Pick a team or niche and learn everything about it. Know the team or niche well, and it will become easier to make informed bets as the season goes on.
As much as computer geeks hate to admit it, their programs are not infallible. Make sure the betting slip says what it should say before logging off to watch the game.
It is possible to make good money betting on baseball games, but it takes time and patience. For every bettor who struck it rich on an underdog, hundreds, if not thousands, lost it all.
Some of these tipsters are paid by sportsbooks to promote specific bets. Rather than make money on games, they are trying to make money off you.
Now that you're ready to bet on baseball, you want to know how to find the best sportsbooks. But how do you sift through all of the online baseball betting sites to find the best one for you with so many options these days?
Start by comparing odds different sportsbooks offer on the same game to find the best odds. Shop around for the best promotional offers, too. Then, ask yourself these questions:
If it is difficult to deposit money and place a wager, betting will not be nearly as much fun as it could be.
Everyone banks differently, so the more reliable options a sportsbook has, the better.
If you are just looking for games, this may not be a big deal. But if you are looking for prop bets or futures bets, some books will carry a wide variety while others will just offer the basics.
You want a sportsbook that you depend on and trust. If you can't rely on them to have up-to-date odds or trust them with your personal information and money, it is time to find a different sports betting site.
That will depend on where you live and your country's laws. Regulations in some countries/states are more restrictive than others. But if there are no restrictions, you can place bets at the sportsbooks we recommend on this page.
The answer depends on where you live. Since the US Supreme Court struck down the law making it illegal, many states have passed laws legalizing sports betting – but online baseball gambling is not legal in every state. In the rest of the world, whether you can bet on baseball will depend on your country's gambling legislation and whether the sportsbook offers wagers on baseball games.
When you are looking at the betting line for an MLB game, the 1.5 will be referring to the run line, which is essentially a point spread. If the number is negative, the team must win by at least two runs for bettors to count it as a win. Should it be positive, that team just has to win by a run for bettors to win.
So, even if your team wins or loses the game, bettors can still win as long as the run line is covered. When used as part of a sound baseball betting strategy, they can be a great way to make some money.
'TT' refers to 'team total' bet, which is basically baseball's way of saying over/under bets. The number listed will be for the total number of runs scored by both teams in the game. It is not uncommon for bettors to hedge their bets (reduce their risk) by putting something down on either the over or under.
It depends on how you bet on a given game. If you bet the run line, your team will either have to win by two (-1.5) or win by 1 (+1.5). Bet the team totals, and it depends on if the total score of the game (both teams) is more or less than the sportsbook's total. But if you took the moneyline, then you win if the team you chose won the game.
'F5' refers to the line on just the first five innings of a game. This can be a great choice if the starting pitcher tends to start strong for the first five innings, then gets tired and gives up a few runs before getting pulled. It is easier to feel confident in betting on just the first five innings since starting pitchers are often good for at least five innings.