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MLB Odds & Betting Lines

Understand moneyline bets and more with our in-depth guide to MLB odds. We’ve got all the information you need to raise your betting game and lay your wagers with confidence. Our live data stream will give you the latest updates, sportsbook bonuses, and the best MLB lines today.

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Page  created  19 Apr, 2022
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Who is Daniel Coyle?

Daniel Coyle is a sports writer based in Montreal, Canada. Daniel has written about sports and sports betting for over 25 years. His work features in an array of print and online media, including Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, Sportsnet.ca, NESN.com, Montreal Gazette, and The Globe & Mail.

How to Read MLB Odds

Just like other major team sports, in MLB betting it’s possible to wager on all of the action the diamond sees. Of course, it’s important to understand that MLB betting lines vary widely in their complexity, and in their potential to provide you with big payouts. The most important key to success is knowing where to start, as well as how and when to get in on the various available betting opportunities. To help you get comfortable, follow these four steps to learn how to read MLB betting odds:

Understand betting the line

There are a variety of betting lines to choose from on every MLB game. But, before you lay your first bet, it’s important to understand how to read the betting line. Sportsbooks around the world typically use one of three formats to display betting odds: American, decimal, and fractional. As the name suggests, US sportsbooks most typically use the American format, which is based on Vegas odds. With this format, odds are presented as positive or negative numbers to indicate the underdog and favorite.

Let’s say, you are betting on a favorite with -140 odds. That means you must wager $140 to win $100 on a successful bet. Alternatively, if you bet on an underdog with +140 odds, you only have to wager $100 to win $140. Moneyline odds are also used to determine the size of the payout on betting lines like the run line and over/under.

The MLB run line enables you to bet on the margin of victory or defeat in a specific game. Also popularly known as MLB over/under betting, totals betting enables you to wager on whether the total number of runs scored by both teams in a game will be over or under a set number.

All these odds are subject to change from the moment they are released, due to factors like weather, injuries, pitching changes, or other unforeseen circumstances. By taking advantage of the latest updates from our live data stream, you can monitor odds as they change, and lay your bets when they’re just right.

Get to grips with the vig

Every bettor wants to beat the sportsbook, and there’s nothing better than cashing in on a big winning ticket. But like any other business, US sportsbooks need to generate consistent revenue to keep their sites running and continue to offer you competitive betting odds. That’s where the vigorish comes in. The vigorish is the fee that a sportsbook collects on each bet they accept. The vig, also known as the juice or house edge, is built into each betting line.

ATLANTA BRAVES -110

LOS ANGELES DODGERS -110

Let’s say you want to place a bet on a baseball game that is listed as a pick ‘em, with each team having an equal chance of winning. As a result, the true odds for each team to win would be -100, which would generate $100 of winnings on a $100 bet. But as illustrated in the example above, the sportsbook is offering odds of -110 on each team. That means a $100 bet would generate winnings of just $91, with the sportsbook keeping the remaining $9 as the vig.

Of course, the vig can vary widely from bet to bet, and sportsbook to sportsbook. That is particularly true with moneyline and run line bets, where one team is heavily favored over another. In these cases, sportsbooks may charge larger vigs. While it is impossible to avoid paying the juice, understanding how it works can give you an edge when shopping for value wagers. And you can learn more about how odds work by trying out our betting odds calculator.

Monitor line movement

One of the keys to success in sports betting is doing your homework. That means keeping up on new information about the teams and players you plan to bet on as it becomes available. Our live data stream will keep you informed about changes in betting lines, as they happen. But you can increase your chances of winning by staying informed on the news from your team, and around the league.

Is the team coming home from a long road trip? Is there rain or cold weather in the forecast? Have any key players suffered injuries? And who will the starting pitchers be that day? These are among the most common factors to consider prior to making your wager. Any changes might have a dramatic impact on the movement of betting lines.

Line movement is not limited to the moneyline odds on which team will win the game. It also includes the over/under and run line. For example, let’s say the projected pitching matchup in our hypothetical Braves @ Dodgers game has Los Angeles ace Walker Buehler facing Atlanta southpaw Max Fried. If suddenly, Fried is unable to play and is replaced by an unknown pitcher, the sportsbooks will respond by shifting the betting line to account for the revised pitching duel. However, any bets already made will keep the odds they were originally given.

Another key factor in line movement is the behaviour of bettors. Let’s say a large majority of bettors choose to back the Dodgers in this matchup. The sportsbook will eventually respond by shifting odds until they achieve a balance, with an equal amount of betting dollars getting laid on each team.

Shop around for the best lines

Now that you are armed with all the up-to-date news and stats about teams and players, and understand how the sportsbooks are calculating odds, it’s time to go shopping. With the arrival of legal sports betting in a growing number of states across America, MLB fans have never had so many reputable sportsbooks to choose from when it comes to betting on “America’s National Pastime”.

At Online Gambling, it’s our mission to help you find the best bets. We recommend the most trusted sportsbook sites in America that offer the best MLB bets today, and where you can put your understanding of betting options, line movement, and the vig to the test.

MLB Moneyline Bets

When it comes to reading MLB odds, the moneyline is the simplest type of betting line. It also provides a way to determine the payouts for other types of bets.

ATLANTA BRAVES +120
LOS ANGELES DODGERS -140


The example above illustrates how an MLB moneyline bet will be presented by your favorite US sportsbook, with the odds coming directly from Vegas. In this case, the Los Angeles Dodgers are pegged as -140 favorites. That means you must wager $140 to win $100. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Braves are listed as +120 road underdogs. That means a successful $100 bet on the Braves will generate winnings of $120.

Implied probability

Odds displayed as implied probability can often be easier to understand. Simply put, implied probability is the conversion of odds to a percentage. In addition to helping you understand how much vig the sportsbook is taking on the bet, implied probability shows your chances of winning, which can help you decide which way to go on the MLB odds today.

LOS ANGELES DODGERS -140

Taking Los Angeles’ -140 odds from our hypothetical Braves @ Dodgers betting line, and using our odds calculator, we can determine that the implied probability of a Dodgers win is 58.33%. This number factors in the vig the sportsbook is charging on that bet. Based on the extensive homework you have already done, and your ability to keep up on line movement, you now must make a decision as to whether your team will win more than that implied probability, and make your betting decisions accordingly.

If the team you are considering is pegged as a heavy favorite, or if the implied probability is not in line with your own handicapping, you may find better betting value in the run line or over/under. Let’s say a team is listed as a -300 favorite. That translates to an implied probability of 75.00%. However, you will have to bet $300 to win $100.

MLB Spread/Run Line

Another way of looking at the run line is as the MLB point spread. In NBA or NFL betting, the point spread fluctuates while the moneyline odds remain largely stable. But with the run line, the spread is almost always set at 1.5. The associated moneyline odds are subject to fluctuation based on the wagers being placed by bettors.

How spread/run line betting works

Getting back to our hypothetical Braves @ Dodgers game, LA sports +150 odds of winning by a margin of more than 1.5 runs.

ATLANTA BRAVES +1.5 (-175)
LOS ANGELES DODGERS -1.5 (+150)


That means, if the Dodgers defeat Atlanta by at least two runs, a $100 bet wins a tidy $150. Alternatively, the Braves sport -175 odds of keeping it close. That means if Atlanta can avoid losing by more than 1.5 runs, a $175 bet will win $100.

Of course, a number of factors can impact the run line, both before and during a game. A serious injury, pitching change, or bad weather can lead to fluctuations in the moneyline odds associated with the run line. With live betting, the run line changes dynamically, based on in-game action. And while ties are an extreme rarity in baseball, if our hypothetical Braves @ Dodgers game were to end in a tie, sports bettors taking the Braves on the run line would be cashing in.

Is it profitable?

There is nothing sweeter than cashing tickets. But since you must win on average 55% of your bets to break even, it is so important to evaluate the potential payouts of your bets before wagering. Let’s take another look at the Braves @ Dodgers game and compare the difference in potential winnings between bets on the moneyline and the run line.

Moneyline

LOS ANGELES DODGERS -140
Bet $140 to win $100

Run Line

LOS ANGELES DODGERS -1.5 (+150)
Bet $100 to win $150

With the above moneyline bet, the Dodgers have an implied probability of winning of 58.33%, and to win $100, you must bet $140. With the run line bet, Los Angeles sports +150 odds of winning by at least two runs, with an implied probability of 40.00%. The Dodgers covered on the run line in 50% of their games during the 2021 season, adding to their prospective betting value.

But if you’ve done your homework, you’ll know all about the Dodgers shaky performance in Atlanta, where they finished 2021 on a five-game losing streak as a road favorite. With that trend in mind, it may be time to reconsider your betting strategy, and research the value of taking Atlanta as the underdog.

MLB Over/Under

Over/under betting, also known as totals betting, enables you to bet on whether the total number of runs scored by both teams will be over or under a specific number.

ATLANTA BRAVES @ LOS ANGELES DODGERS O 9.5 (-115)
ATLANTA BRAVES @ LOS ANGELES DODGERS U 9.5 (-105)


The above example illustrates how the over/under line (or total) is typically presented at a sportsbook. In this case, the total is pegged at 9.5 runs, with the OVER (represented by O) potentially paying out on -115 moneyline odds. The UNDER (represented by U) sports -105 moneyline odds.

That means if the Dodgers and Braves combine to score a total of nine or fewer runs, a $105 bet on the UNDER will pay $100. Alternatively, if 10 or more total runs are scored, that’s a winner for the over, with a $115 bet winning $100.

Why the over/under changes before a game

Like the moneyline and the run line, the over/under is subject to line movement right up until the first pitch. And like other MLB betting lines, the over/under is influenced by an array of factors. When it comes to run production, changes in the health status and availability of big hitters and defensive stars alike can result in a big boost or a sudden drop in the over/under total.

If Dodgers slugger Mookie Betts goes from a hot streak to the injury list, the total might dip. But if Atlanta is missing Gold Glove outfielder Adam Duvall, or Austin Riley’s hot hand at third base, against a vaunted Dodgers attack, the total could inch up.

Starting pitchers have the most dramatic impact on the total. Let’s take Walker Buehler as an example. During the 2021 MLB season, the Dodgers ace was among the MLB leaders with a sparkling 2.47 ERA, and surrendered more than three runs just four times in 33 starts. Walker’s impressive numbers will have a clear impact on the total every time he is scheduled to start.

But if Walker were to be injured, and a less dominant pitcher were to start in his place, the total would be well positioned to make a significant climb. Such lineup changes are not uncommon, further heightening the need to do your homework before hitting the sportsbooks.

How to bet MLB over/under

As discussed, expected starting pitchers have a huge impact on the over/under, as do changes to the batting lineup and who’s playing defence. However, other factors also influence where the total will be set, and how the line will move before first pitch.

The styles of play of the teams involved, the game location, and game time can all play a factor in your MLB totals betting decisions. Typically, better teams score more runs. Seven of last season’s 10 postseason clubs were also among the ten highest-scoring teams in baseball. However, exceptions exist, such as the New York Yankees, who claimed a wild card spot despite sporting MLB’s 19th-ranked offence.

Game location is also a factor. The high altitude in Denver makes betting the over a popular wager when the Colorado Rockies play home games at Coors Field. Facing teams that have endured a long road trip, or who have enjoyed few days off could translate into golden opportunities for high-powered teams to run up the score.

Conversely, home-field advantage tends to work to the benefit of even the weakest clubs in baseball, with just 10 of MLB’s 30 teams allowing more runs than they scored when playing at home in 2021. That often adds lustre to betting the under when good offence-first teams visit struggling teams that must place an emphasis on defense.

FAQs

Is it legal to bet on MLB online?

Following recent changes to legislation, a growing number of sportsbooks are now operating legally in over 30 US states. Plans for further expansion are announced every day. Take a look at our US Gambling Laws Guide for the latest information from your state.

How to win betting on MLB?

While it’s important to understand how MLB betting odds work, the key to successful betting is doing your homework. You can also take advantage of our live data stream to keep up on game results, upcoming matchups, and rapidly changing odds at the most trusted sportsbooks in America.

How do I read MLB odds?

MLB odds are commonly displayed on US sportsbooks using American odds. A team that is favored will sport negative odds, while the underdog will have positive odds. The negative odds indicate how large your wager must be to win $100, while positive odds indicate how much you will win if you bet $100.

What is a moneyline bet in MLB?

Simply put, an MLB moneyline bet enables you to wager on which team will win a game, with the payout determined by negative or positive odds. Moneyline odds are also used to determine the size of the payout when betting on the over/under or run line.

Why does the line move in MLB betting?

Many factors can contribute to line movement including player injuries, changes in starting pitching, bad weather, and the recent performance of the two teams involved in the matchup.

What is spread betting in MLB?

MLB point spread betting is also known as run line betting. It enables you to bet on the margin of victory or defeat of a team in a game. Unlike point spreads in the NFL and NBA, it is the moneyline odds that fluctuate in run line betting, while the spread typically remains pegged at 1.5 runs.

Should I bet against the spread in MLB?

Run line or MLB point spread betting adds a layer of complexity to your betting experience. While it is more challenging to bet the run line, it offers a more lucrative payout than the MLB moneyline. It is important to do your research, and shop around for the best odds before laying your wager.

Should I bet on the over or under on MLB games?

There are many factors to consider when researching the over/under. Who the starting pitchers will be, key injuries in the batting lineup and on the field, and the location of the game can all contribute to changes to the total. Good teams score more runs, a statistical fact that could help drive your betting decision. But nothing beats diving into the news and stats to find a betting edge before wagering on totals.

What are MLB Vegas odds?

Vegas has been the Mecca of sports betting for decades. And even with the rapid expansion of sports betting across the country, that hasn’t changed. Sin City remains the primary source of MLB odds found at America’s best sportsbooks.

Where can I find the best MLB odds?

With the number of legal and regulated sportsbooks increasing every day, it can be tough for even the sharpest bettors to keep up with all the options now available. That’s why we offer you the best MLB odds from America’s most trusted sportsbooks.

Can I make money from betting on MLB games?

Sports betting is not for the faint of heart. To break even in MLB betting you must win an average of 55% of the bets you place. However, with an increased understanding of betting principles, strict bankroll management, and a commitment to research, you will start cashing tickets more often.

What are the odds for MLB games today?

We provide you with the latest MLB odds from America’s best and most trusted sportsbook sites, along with MLB scores, past results, and information on upcoming games.