Gambling 101: Major League Baseball Betting

Our Sports Gambling 101 series continues with a breakdown of Major League Baseball betting. What are the most popular MLB wagering options and how do bettors get in on the action?
Author:
Publish date:

As the oldest professional sports organization in North America, Major League Baseball was founded in 1903 when the National League and American League merged. While the merger created the World Series, the NL and AL operated as separate legal entities until they fully integrated prior to the 2000 MLB season. A variety of pregame and LIVE betting odds are offered daily during the 162 game regular season. Let’s dig deeper into the various MLB betting options.

Run Line MLB Point Spread Betting Options

Different from football and basketball point spread odds, and puck lines in hockey, run lines are offered as the primary baseball spread betting option. Pregame run lines list the favorite at -1.5 runs and they must win the game by two runs or more. Underdogs open with a +1.5 run head start and need to win outright or lose by just one run. Ties are not possible with standard run lines and tickets are graded after nine innings plus any extra innings that may be played.

MLB Run LIne Betting Odds

Bettors need to pay attention to juice on run lines as the amount varies depending on the teams. From the odds example above, Chicago is a -1.5 run line favorite against underdog Philadelphia who receive +1.5 runs. If the Cubs win, by at least two runs, bettors earn a $140 profit on $100 wagers. If the Phillies win outright, or lose by one run, the return is $100 for every $160 bet. Run lines are adjusted prior to the start of each inning and are popular LIVE betting options.

Moneyline MLB Betting Options

Also known as straight up betting odds, MLB moneylines require bettors to select the game winner without a point spread being involved. Unlike football and basketball odds, which can be priced at (+/-1000) or more, average baseball moneyline odds range from (+100) to (+/-300) depending on the caliber of the teams. From the odds example below, New York bettors pay $165 to win $100 while Toronto backers bet $100 to earn a $140 return.

mlb odds 2

Game Total MLB Betting Options

MLB game total options ask bettors to predict whether the combined final score will be UNDER or OVER the total runs posted by bookmakers. In the San Francisco vs. Colorado odds example below, the game total is listed at 9.5 combined runs. UNDER bettors win $100 on $124 bets if the total score is 9 runs or less. OVER bettors earn $102 on $100 bets if 10 or more runs are scored. Based on the juice, UNDER (-124) is the favorite and OVER (+102) is the underdog.

MLB Game Total Betting Odds

MLB Futures and Prop Betting Options

Baseball propositions, plus futures betting options, are available during the preseason, throughout the regular season and during the playoffs. Regular season win totals is the most common MLB team prop option. Popular player props include MVP and Cy Young winners, plus a variety of hitting and pitching options. MLB futures include division winners, AL and NL champions, plus the outright World Series winner. Here is a sample of MLB 2020 Fall Classic futures.

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook

Shop Around for Best Priced MLB Odds

Prior to placing bets, on any baseball wagering option, bettors are advised to shop around for the sharpest odds and best prices. Funding betting accounts at two or more sportsbooks is the best way to compare the various lines available. That’s illustrated in our World Series sample odds as players receive better prices on the Dodgers, Astros and Braves at FanDuel. Bettors backing the Twins or Rays to win the Fall Classic receive added value with the prices at DraftKings.

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

MLB Betting Bottom Line

Straightforward and easy to track, baseball betting research is a fairly quick process. Comparing starting pitchers, checking offensive stats of both teams, plus the current standings, reveals valuable handicapping information. MLB teams play each other up to 19 times every season so head-to-head history, plus recent results, should also be reviewed. Due to the leisurely pace of play, inning-by-inning LIVE betting options are always plentiful and placing wagers is simple.

MORE GAMBLING TERMS YOU NEED TO KNOW