How to Bet on MLB

How to bet on MLB | Your guide to baseball betting

Baseball betting has been around for a while now, so it’s no surprise that the greatest stage in baseball
also sees its fair share of bets. MLB betting can be quite the curveball though, and that’s why we’re here
to guide you through to hitting every bet out of the park! This MLB betting guide will cover all you need
to know to get started with your local sportsbook.

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Understanding the basics | How to bet on MLB Odds

The first thing you have to understand when it comes to how to bet on MLB or any form of sports betting is the odds. If you’ve ever browsed through a sportsbook, you’ve probably seen a bunch of numbers next to matchups. Those
are it, and understanding those numbers is key to knowing how much you stand to win on your wager.

Let’s explain by way of example how to bet on MLB. Let’s say the Cleveland Indians are going against the New York Yankees for a playoff game. You find that the odds for a moneyline bet are (-200) for Cleveland and (+150) for New York.

This means that if you bet $200 on the Indians and they win, you’d cash out with a total of $300. When dealing with negative odds, the number in parentheses represents the amount you’d need to bet in order to win a profit of $100. So in this case, your return is actually 50 percent (i.e. $100 on a $200 bet).

On the other hand, if you’d bet $200 on the Yankees and they’d won, you’d get a total payout of $500. This is because positive odds are calculated differently from negative odds. In the case of positive odds, the number in brackets tells you the amount you’d stand to win had you placed a $100 bet. This means that you’ve netted a nice 150 percent return on your bet (The $200 that you initially bet plus a $300 reward).

MLB Betting Explained

Understandably, betting on crowd favorites won’t net you a very high return. The team with the negative odds is the one that’s favored to win, and that’s why your payout is less than twice what you’d initially bet. Conversely, the team with the positive odds is the underdog, and that’s why any bet on them will at least double your initial amount.

So in our previous example the Yankees were the underdogs, and that’s why betting on them yielded exactly thrice as much winnings as a similar bet on the Indians would’ve. The Indians, as crowd favorites, boasted lower odds because they were perceived as more likely to win.

The many different types of MLB Bets

But that’s just a simple moneyline bet though, which means a simple bet on an outcome. If your team wins, you win the bet, otherwise your bet amount is forfeit. Moneyline bets are only one kind of MLB bet, and there’s several others that regularly make it into sportsbooks. Let’s go over them:

The Runline:

The Runline is to MLB what the point spread is to the NFL, so that’s a good place to start explaining. A runline bet is basically your regular moneyline bet with an added twist; the underdog team gets a run advantage for the purpose of the bet. In the case of a sport like basketball or gridiron football, point spreads can vary immensely from fixture to fixture, with evenly matched teams having smaller spreads than one-sided matches. Since football and basketball are fast-paced games that involve a lot of scoring, this makes sense; but baseball is notably different.

This is why runline bets have a fixed spread of 1.5 runs (though you can find higher differences with more extreme odds, these are rare). This means that the favored team has to win by at least two runs for a bet in their favor to cash out, while all the underdog team has to ensure is that they don’t lose by more than one run. Because of this, runline bets will often offer you better odds than moneylines (but they’ll also carry more risk).


There are two kinds of totals bets that are generally offered in the Majors. One is your standard over/under bet that has you betting on whether the total runs scored in a game would be above or below a decided amount. The other is what’s known as a “grand salami”. The grand salami is basically the totals bet to sum up all totals bets, and it has you bet on whether the grand total of runs in all fixtures during a day would be above or below a certain amount.

First-five Bets:

First-five bets allow gamblers to place bets without having to factor in the performance of every player in the team. First-fives only deal with the first five innings of the match, so you win or lose them based on the scorecard at the end of the 5th, regardless of how the rest of the game fares.

F5s are great for casual bettors and people who don’t want to have to look into the state of the entire dugout. Usually, you just have to look at the starting pitchers and first-choice batters.


Parlays are like a consolidation of multiple moneyline, runline, F5, and totals bets. If you’ve gotten multiple tickets that you’re sure are a safe bet, it may be a good idea to instead make your individual bets into a parlay; it might net you a pretty hefty bonus on your regular return.

Parlays work by turning multiple bets into a single bet. So if you’ve bet on five different teams all winning their matches on a given day, you can instead choose to turn those five bets into a single parlay. In the case of a parlay, you’ll be looking at a substantially higher return than you’d have gotten on five individual tickets, but your risk also increases proportionately. If even one of those five tickets turns out to be a dud, you’re bust for all five.

Aside from these, the Major Leagues also see a variety of proposition bets offered the year round, which are bets on all manner of occurrences that may or may not have to do with the game. If you’d like to know more about prop bets and how they work.


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How to Bet on MLB FAQs

Understanding MLB betting odds is crucial for successful betting. Negative odds indicate how much you need to bet to profit $100, while positive odds show how much you can win with a $100 bet. For example, if the odds are (-200) for the Cleveland Indians and (+150) for the New York Yankees, what do these numbers mean for your potential winnings?

MLB teams with negative odds are considered favorites to win, so your potential payout is lower when betting on them. Conversely, teams with positive odds are underdogs, offering a higher potential payout. How does this impact your betting strategy and risk-reward ratio?

MLB betting offers various types of bets beyond the standard moneyline bet. These include the runline, totals (over/under), first-five bets, and parlays. Can you explain how each of these bet types works and when they are commonly used by bettors?

The runline introduces a point spread to MLB betting, providing an advantage to the underdog team. How does the runline work, and what is the typical spread used in MLB runline bets? How does it differ from moneyline betting in terms of risk and potential rewards?

Apart from standard MLB bets, there are proposition (prop) bets that allow betting on various occurrences within or related to the game. Can you provide more information on prop bets, what they involve, and how they can enhance the betting experience for MLB fans?