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MLB Betting Explained

This is the Betting Brain Guide to Gambling on Major League Baseball and was written to give bettors a complete understanding to betting on baseball games.  If you already have an understanding of betting on MLB games, see our MLB betting tips to increase your odds of winning by placing smart bets.

With the combination of the sheer volume of games and the multitude of statistics available on each and every player, baseball is a sport that is perfect for betting. Every day throughout the season you’ll find a large selection of games to wager on, and here you’ll find a rundown of the different bet types you’ll be able to place on each of these games.

MLB Betting – Money Line Bets

Betting on Baseball is simpleThe money line bet in baseball is the simplest of all – you are placing a bet on which team will win the game. Here is an example of how a money line bet will look.

  • NY Mets                  +140
  • Philadelphia Phillies   -120

The Phillies are the favorites here, and if you were to place a bet of $120 on them you would win $100 if they were to win the game. A bet on the Mets here of $100 would see you win $140. A money line bet will always see a winner, as the bet will pay out on the overall winner of the game even if the game goes to extra innings. Although the odds are always offered in terms of $100, you’ll be able to place a bet of whatever stake you want and be paid out on a pro rata basis. As an example, if you decided to place a $5 bet on the Mets here, you would win $7 (as $5 is 5% of $100, you’ll win 5% of $140 which is $7).

MLB Betting – Run Line Bets

The run line is the baseball equivalent of the point spread, looking to even up a match up by subtracting runs from the favorite and adding runs to the underdog. In baseball, the run line is always set at either +1.5 or -1.5.

Here is an example:

  • Red Sox    (+1.5)       -140
  • BlueJays   (-1.5)        +120

In this game, if you were to back the BlueJays, you’d win your bet only if they win by two or more runs. The Bluejays would have actually started this game as the favorite in the money line, but having the runs taken off them in the money line now means that for this market they are the underdog (this happens in many baseball games). A $100 bet on the BlueJays here would see a profit of $120.

A bet on the Red Sox here will win if either they win, or if they lose by a single run – and a $140 wager on them to do so will result in a profit of $100.

Totals Betting in Major League Baseball

A totals bet in baseball is a wager on whether or not there will be over or under a given number of runs in the game – and this is the combined number of runs by both sides.

Here is an example:

  • Over 9.5 runs:     -110
  • Under 9.5 runs:   -110

Here, by placing a bet of $110 on either outcome, you’ll win $100 if you predict correctly. On occasions, the totals number will be a whole number, maybe nine, and sometimes that exact number will be the outcome – in this scenario the bet will be considered a “push” and the bet is effectively voided, your stake being returned.

Props and other Bets

The three bet types listed above are by far and away the most popular bets placed on every game of baseball, however some sports-books also offer a wider range of markets. These might be a bet on which team is leading after four innings, whether there will be extra innings, first team to score, most team hits and many more. You may also find prop bets, which feature two individual players and you’ll place a bet based upon performance.

MLB Betting – Futures

As well as the great variety of bets surrounding individual games, you’ll also be able to place longer term bets based upon the whole season. The most popular of these is a bet on which team will win the World Series, although you’ll also be able to wager on the American League and the National league championship series winners as well. Individual divisions also feature, so if you like the Padres to win the NL west for example, you’ll be able to put your money where your mouth is.

Related Page: Our Top MLB Betting Tips

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