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.
MLB Scores Explained
Understanding how MLB scoring works can be challenging for sports bettors embracing baseball for the first time. Unlike other major North American sports, the length of an MLB game isn’t determined by a clock. The game is divided into periods known as innings, during which each team has the opportunity to score runs. The game winner is decided by which team has the most runs at the end of nine innings, with extra innings used to settle a tie.
MLB Box Scores
MLB box scores are used to keep track of every play in a game. It’s not unusual to see fans at the ballpark with pencil and paper in hand, creating their own box score. But you can also monitor them online to influence your betting strategy.
Below are examples of the batting box scores for the San Francisco Giants’ date with the San Diego Padres on the final day of the 2021 MLB regular season. The Giants enjoyed a big game, claiming an 11-4 win to clinch first place in the National League West standings and a berth in the MLB postseason.
|F. Tatis Jr||SS||3||0||0||0||0||2||1||.282|
|T. La Stella||2B||5||1||1||1||0||0||2||.250|
|L. Wade Jr.||RF||3||0||0||1||1||0||0||.253|
The batting box scores list the stats for every player that made a plate appearance in that game. They feature details of the most popular stats, including:
POS (Position): POS refers to the position of the individual player.
AB (At-Bats): AB counts the number of times a batter takes his turn against a pitcher and that turn results in the batter putting the ball into play or striking out.
R (Runs): R is a count of the number of runs the player scores in a game.
H (Hits): H is a count of the number of times a player reaches base safely after hitting a pitched ball into fair territory.
RBI (Runs Batted In): A player is credited with an RBI when a teammate successfully scores a run as a result of his actions at the plate. A batter can be credited for an RBI, even if his AB results in him not reaching base successfully, such as when a runner scores on a fly ball or a fielder’s choice.
BB (Bases on Balls): Also known as a Walk, a BB is awarded to a batter when the pitcher throws four balls before throwing three strikes during a plate appearance.
SO (Strikeout): As the term suggests, a player is tagged with an SO when he is called out at the plate after taking three strikes.
LOB (Left on Base): LOB indicates the number of times the player was stranded on base at the end of an inning.
AVG (Batting Average): AVG measures how often a batter hits safely as a percentage of his total number of ABs. This stat is measured season-to-date rather than reflecting the individual game.
Box Scores are also used to track pitcher performance, as shown below.
|R. Knehr (L, 1-2)||3.0||3||2||2||2||2||0||4.97|
Among the most common stats tracked in a pitcher’s box score are:
IP (Innings Pitched): This indicates the number of innings a pitcher has pitched in a game. In cases where the number is a decimal like 2.1 or 2.2, it means the pitcher has completed two full innings and has recorded one or two outings in the second inning. IP is measured based on how many outs have been made while he is on the mound. As a consequence, a pitcher may face several batters in the third inning, but if he leaves the game before any outs are made, the IP stat will be reflected as 2.0.
H (Hits): H reflects the number of hits the pitcher has surrendered during a game.
R (Runs): R reflects the number of total runs scored by batters that the pitcher has pitched to during a game.
ER (Earned Runs): ER reflects the number of earned runs scored by batters the pitcher has faced. Examples of common unearned runs are runs scored as the results of fielding errors, or by a batter who reaches base on a passed ball, and later scores.
BB (Bases on Balls): BB reflects the number of times a batter faced reaches base after taking four balls.
SO (Strikeouts): SO indicates the number of times a pitcher has struck out a batter.
HR (Home Runs): HR indicates the number of home runs hit by batters the pitcher has faced.
ERA (Earned Run Average): ERA measures how many earned runs a pitcher surrenders per nine innings pitched.
MLB Line Scores
An MLB line score is used to keep track of the total number of runs scored by each team in each inning, as well as the total number of hits and errors recorded by each team.
The example below shows a typical MLB line score. Again, the example is taken from the San Francisco Giants hosting the visiting San Diego Padres in October 2021.
|San Diego Padres||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||3||0||4||7||0|
|San Francisco Giants||0||0||2||5||2||0||2||0||0||11||10||1|
The number of runs scored by each team in each inning is indicated under the columns labelled ‘1’ through ‘9’, with the total number of runs shown under the column labelled ‘R’. The column labelled ‘H’ indicates the total number of hits by each team, while ‘E’ represents the number of errors committed by each team. Neither of these totals impact the final score. In fact, it’s quite common for the winning team to record fewer hits than their opponents in a game. However, hardcore fans and sports bettors rely heavily on box scores and line scores to get an at-a-glance look at how an MLB game unfolded.
MLB Standings Explained
MLB is comprised of 30 teams, split into two leagues. Both the American League and National League are divided into three divisions (East, West, Central), with each division sporting five teams. Starting in 2022, six teams from each league will qualify for the playoffs, formally known as the MLB postseason. The three division winners from each league are joined in the postseason by the three non-division winning teams with the best win/loss records.
MLB standings are simply designed, with teams ranked first to last based on the number of games won during the regular season. And since extra innings are played as needed to determine game winners, the standings do not include ties. Unlike sports such as ice hockey, where teams collect points for wins, each team’s success is measured by win percentage. However, the best way to determine how far back your team is from the top of the standings at any point during the season is by measuring ‘games back’.
|American League East||W||L||PCT||GB||Home||Away||Conf||Div||NL|
|Tampa Bay Rays||100||62||.617||-||52-29||48-33||85-57||51-25||15-5|
|Boston Red Sox||92||70||.568||8.0||49-32||43-38||76-66||41-35||16-4|
|New York Yankees||92||70||.568||8.0||46-35||46-35||80-62||36-40||12-8|
|Toronto Blue Jays||91||71||.562||9.0||47-34||44-37||77-65||42-34||14-6|
The example above shows the MLB American League East standings at the end of the 2021 MLB regular season. The Tampa Bay Rays romped to the division title while winning 100 games, which translates into a win percentage of 61.7%.
The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees tied for second, each with 92 wins. Both Boston and New York were eight games back of the Rays. That means Boston or New York would have had to win eight straight games - and Tampa Bay lose eight straight - for the Red Sox or Yankees to have pulled even with the Rays in the standings.
MLB standings commonly provide a breakdown of how a team has fared when playing host to their rivals and on the road, over the course of the season. Their performance in games against teams from their own league and division, as well as in interleague matchups, is also recorded.
Using the MLB Scores & Standings with your bets
As the number of US states legalizing sports betting grows, baseball fans are using MLB scores and standings in a whole new way. Instead of just monitoring the progress of their favorite teams, sports bettors track MLB stats to help them make smarter MLB betting decisions. Keeping up on the latest scores and standings can make clear whether your futures bet will pay out and give you the edge on run line and totals betting. Here are some tips to help you today:
The MLB Playoffs Race
At a glance, the MLB standings tell you where your team sits in relation to both its divisional and league rivals. That’s particularly important when considering getting in on MLB futures betting after the season has started.
Does your team have a lot of ground to make up in the division or league standings? Have they compiled a respectable win/loss record against division rivals? What does the team’s upcoming schedule look like? Will they be playing a lot of road games, or against opponents with winning records? These are just a few of the high-level questions that can be quickly answered, simply by regularly following MLB scores and standings.
Few MLB fans gave the Atlanta Braves much chance of bouncing back after opening their 2021 season on a dismal 36-40 run. The slow start dumped the Braves to a distant +3000 bet on the World Series odds after opening their campaign at +1000. But that early-season drift created opportunity for sports bettors who kept tabs on the Braves’ favorable summertime MLB schedule, which proved key to Atlanta’s turnaround and subsequent march to their first World Series title since 1995.
Finding an Edge in MLB Box Scores
Taking a deeper dive into MLB box scores and line scores can also provide you with a critical betting edge on game day. By monitoring MLB box scores, you can track how individual players performed in specific game situations, or against different pitchers. Box scores can also keep you up to date on team performance, like numbers of hits and home runs, as well as whether they have started fast or blown big leads.
They can also shed light on how pitchers have been used, including how many innings a team has been getting out of a starting pitcher, or how many relief pitchers they have used. This information can help you gauge how a manager will make use of available pitchers in the bull pen in MLB games today.
Bettors following box scores closely in 2021 knew the New York Yankees' postseason bid was bound for failure. Forced to go deep into their bullpen in each of their final three regular season games of the season, New York had limited options after the Boston Red Sox got to Yankees starter Gerrit Cole early in their American League Wild Card matchup. That proved to be a factor as Boston rolled to a decisive 6-2 win and a place in the American League Divisional Series.
MLB Run Line and Totals
MLB scores can also keep you on top of how a team is performing against the run line and in totals betting. If you’re a sports bettor who regularly plays the MLB run line, not only are you looking for wins from your team, but for them to cover the spread on the run line as well.
By monitoring MLB scores, you can quickly keep up to date with whether your team has dominated during that current win streak, or are simply eking out victories by a single run. MLB scores can provide you with an overview of a team’s offensive production and impact your MLB betting strategy.
The New York Yankees were a disappointment to sports bettors playing the run line in 2021. The Yankees compiled a 76-86 record against the spread and had covered just once in their previous five games going into their Wild Card clash with the Boston Red Sox.
In contrast, the Red Sox exceeded expectations by racking up an 84-78 record against the spread. Boston was also clearly trending in the right direction ahead of that fateful Wild Card matchup against the Yankees, covering in four of their previous five games. While such trends are not definitive, they can play an important role in guiding your betting decisions.
- Is it legal to bet on MLB online?
With recent changes in federal legislation, online betting on MLB is now legally available in over 30 US states, with more to come in the months ahead. For the latest information on your state, check out our US Gambling Laws Guide.
- How to win betting on MLB?
Doing your homework is the key to success in MLB betting. That means closely monitoring stats and trends, many of which can be determined by following live scores, MLB results, and the latest standings.
- What are the MLB scores today?
Keep up to date on all of today’s games by checking out the MLB live scores feature on this page. And don’t forget to keep tabs on the live data we provide, which gives you the latest updates on everything you need to know about today’s matchups.
- Who won MLB games today?
You can keep track of MLB results every day of the season by monitoring our MLB scores page. The live data we provide will also enable you to keep tabs on crucial info from today’s games.
- Who are the favorites to make the MLB playoffs?
Over the course of the long MLB season, it’s not unusual for teams to drop in and out of the MLB playoff picture. That’s why we provide you with the latest MLB odds from America’s most-trusted sportsbooks on which teams will make, and miss, the MLB playoffs.
- Who are the favorites to win the MLB World Series?
It’s no surprise the Los Angeles Dodgers opened as favorites to win the World Series. But can they maintain their perch all season long? We keep you up to date by offering you the best MLB World Series odds from America’s most-trusted sportsbooks.