How To Bet On MLB Games
Picking winners in Major League Baseball can be a tough task for even the most seasoned bettors. There are so many variables to consider when handicapping an MLB game that it can be difficult to know where to start. However, by understanding the basics of how to bet on MLB games, you’ll give yourself a much better chance of coming out ahead in the long run.
But before we get into MLB betting itself, let’s take a quick at the legality of betting on baseball games.
MLB Betting & The Law
After the US Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on single-game wagering in 2018, states may now legalize sports betting for themselves if they so choose. As it currently stands, nearly two-thirds of all US states have authorized some sort of legal sports betting — some via mobile apps while others strictly through in-person bookmakers.
So, before placing any bets, be sure to check with your local authorities to make sure that you’re doing so within the confines of the law. This is doubly true for bettors outside the United States, each of whom will need to navigate entirely different regulations.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get into how to bet on MLB games.
Understanding MLB Odds
The first thing you need to understand when beginning to bet on baseball is what the odds mean. MLB odds will usually be presented in one of two ways: American odds or decimal odds. American odds are the most common, and they represent how much you would need to bet in order to win $100. So, if the odds are +200, that means you would need to bet $100 to win $200. Decimal odds are less common, at least in North America, but are more straightforward than American odds. The numerical value you see represents how much you would win for every $1 you bet. So, if the odds are 2.00, that means you would win $2 for every $1 you bet. Or is the case of a $100 bet, you stand to win $200.
Types of MLB Bets
MLB Straight/Moneyline Bet
A straight bet is the most common type of baseball bet, and it simply means that you’re picking a team to win outright. So, if you bet on the Yankees at +200, that means you think they’re going to win the game.
A moneyline bet is effectively the same as a straight bet, except that the odds are often presented in decimal form. So, if the Kansas City Royals are 3.00 on the moneyline, that means you would win $300 for every $100 you bet.
MLB Runline/Spread Bet
A runline bet is similar to a point spread in other sports like football or basketball. In order to win a runline bet, not only does the team you picked have to win the game, but they also have to do so by a certain margin. So, if the Red Sox are -2.5 on the run line, that means they have to win by three or more runs for your bet to cash. Similarly, if the Cubs are +2.5 on the run line, that means they can lose by two runs or fewer and you would still win your bet.
Whether you decide to bet on moneyline or spread will really depend on how confident you are in the team that you’re backing. For example, if you think an underdog team is a lock, then a moneyline bet is probably your best option. However, if you believe that same game will go down to the wire, then a spread bet could give you some extra security in case of an unfortunate ending.
MLB Totals Bet
A totals bet is also known as an over/under bet, and it’s a wager on whether the final score of the game will be above or below a certain number. So, if the total is set at 8.5 and you bet the over, that means you’re betting that there will be nine or more runs scored in the game. Conversely, if you bet the under, that means you’re expecting eight or fewer runs to be scored.
These are just a few of the most common types of MLB bets that you’ll come across. However, there are plenty of other options out there including prop bets, futures bets, and online live betting. Let’s take a look at those now.
MLB Prop Bets
A prop bet is a wager on something that’s not directly related to the outcome of the game. So, for example, you might bet on whether a certain player will get a hit in their first at-bat or if there will be a home run hit in the game. MLB prop betting is usually only available online, and it can offer a very large edge for bettors deeply familiar with certain players’ (such as new MLB prospects) or teams’ tendencies.
MLB Futures Bets
A futures bet is a wager on an event that will take place at some point in the future. So, for example, you might take a look at the MLB wildcard standings and make a futures bet on who will win the World Series before the playoffs even start. MLB futures bets usually offer very good value due to the large amount of time that elapses between placing the bet and the actual event taking place, but are often difficult to win at a high rate, so make sure not to overleverage or bet more than you can afford to lose.
MLB Live Betting
Live betting is a relatively new innovation that allows you to bet on MLB games as they’re being played. So, for example, if you see that a team is down by a lot of runs but they have a strong lineup coming up, you could bet on them to make a comeback. MLB live betting is only available online, and it can add an extra level of excitement to watching the game, especially during MLB extra innings.
Now that you know how to bet on baseball, it’s time to start putting your knowledge into practice.
Where To Bet On MLB Online
Americas Cardroom is one of the most popular online poker rooms for US players, but they also offer a very good sportsbook. They have a wide range of MLB betting markets available, and their odds are usually very competitive. They also offer a good selection of other sports, so it’s a great option for those looking to bet on multiple sports.
Tips For Selecting An Online Sportsbook
There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing an online sportsbook. First and foremost, you want to make sure that the site is safe and secure. The last thing you want is to have your personal information or money stolen. For this reason, make sure to only choose sportsbooks that have been operational for at least 5 years.
Second, you want to make sure that the site offers good value. This means competitive odds and lines as well as bonuses and promotions that can help you boost your bankroll. Americas Cardroom, for example, offers a 100% first-deposit bonus worth up to $2,000. To claim it, simply download the ACR software and begin playing, no bonus code is needed!
Finally, you want to make sure that the site is user-friendly and easy to navigate. The last thing you want is to waste time trying to figure out how to place a bet or having the site lag out just when you’ve found the betting line you’ve been waiting for.
MLB Betting Strategy
Now that you know how to read the odds, it’s time to start thinking about strategy. First, baseball is a very long season, so you need to be patient and disciplined with your betting so as not to bust your bankroll too early. Second, due to the large amount of data and information available, baseball can offer a very large edge for those who are willing to do their homework.
Keep in mind too that baseball is a low-scoring sport relative to other sports like basketball or football. That means that even a small lead can be difficult to overcome, and comebacks are rarer than they are in many other sports. With that in mind, betting on the favorite isn’t always a bad idea; in fact, favorites win around 55% of the time in MLB so if the odds are right, siding with the favs may be a reasonable approach.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that baseball is a game of streaks. A team that’s hot can stay hot for a while, and a team that’s cold can stay cold. That means that although each matchup should be bet independently, it can often be a good idea to ride a winning team – who is likely having fun and feeling confident — and bet against a losing team that may be feeling some pressure to perform. However, at a certain point – once the public’s bets have become increasingly concentrated either for or against a particular team — the odds may no longer offer any value on joining along for the ride. In fact, this is often when the sharpest bettors will start to bet against the public, looking to take advantage of market overreactions.
Finally, don’t get too caught up in trying to pick nothing but winners. In any given season, there are going to be teams that outperform expectations and teams that underperform. The key is to find value in the odds; in other words, to find bets where the odds are better than they should be. For example, if you think a team has a 50% chance of winning but the odds are +125, that’s a bet worth making assuming the rake is less than 25% (if it’s not, you’ve got a bigger problem to deal with than picking a winner). Over time, if you can find enough of these value bets, you’ll come out ahead even if you don’t win 55% of your bets.
MLB Picks and Parlays
A parlay is a bet that combines two or more individual wagers into one single bet. For example, you could parlay the New York Yankees -1.5 and the Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5 and if both teams win by 2 runs or more, you’ll cash in a nice profit.
Parlaying multiple bets is a great way to increase your potential winnings, but keep in mind that the more bets you include in your parlay, the harder it will be to win. A two-team parlay has a roughly 16% chance of hitting while a four-team parlay has just a 4% chance.
Paying for MLB Picks
Also be wary of people selling MLB picks as the vast majority cannot beat the line themselves (if they could, they’d be much too busy counting their cash to run a pick-selling business). Not to mention that even if they can beat the house, the extra “juice” you’d effectively be adding to your bets by paying for picks will undoubtedly negate any edge you could possibly gain through the process. Even those offering free MLB picks or advertising on social media to “get your MLB picks today” will likely try to upsell you in the future and convert you to a paying (and usually losing) customer.
By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to becoming a successful MLB bettor. Just remember to stay disciplined, do your homework, and always look for value in the odds. If you can do that, you’ll give yourself a great chance to profit in the long run.
MLB Betting FAQ
How do you read money lines?
In MLB betting, the favorite in a game is listed as the team with the minus sign (e.g. -150) and the underdog is listed as the team with the plus sign (e.g. +120). If you bet $100 on the favorite, you would need to wager $150 in order to profit $100 whereas a $100 bet on the underdog would profit you $120.
What does +1.5 mean in betting baseball?
In baseball, the run line is 1.5 runs and works similar to the point spread in other sports. That means that a team has to win by 2 or more runs (or lose by 1 or fewer runs) in order for a bet on that team’s run line to cash.
What does over 9 mean in baseball?
The over/under in baseball is the number of runs that are expected to be scored by both teams combined. If the number is 9 and you bet the over, you’re betting that the two teams will combine to score 10 or more runs. If you bet the under, you’re betting that they’ll score 9 or fewer runs.
What does a +200 money line mean?
In general, a money line of +200 means that a $100 bet would profit you $200. So if you bet $100 on the underdog and they win, you’d get your original $100 back plus an additional $200 in winnings.
What happens if you bet $100 on a +140 money line?
If you bet $100 on a money line of +140, you would profit $140 if the team wins. So if you bet on the underdog and they win, you’d get your original $100 back plus an additional $140 in winnings.
Why would you bet on negative odds?
Sometimes, the favorite in a game will have negative odds (e.g. -200). That means that if you bet $200 on that team, you would only profit $100 if they win. So why would anyone bet on a favorite with negative odds? The answer is simple: because they think the favorite is going to win and are willing to take the lower odds to bet on what they believe is the right side.
Why would you bet on the favorite?
The favorite is the team that is most likely to win according to the oddsmakers. So if you think the favorite is going to win, you would bet on them. Of course, betting on the favorite means that you’re risking more money in order to win less. But sometimes, the extra risk is worth it if you believe strongly in their chances to win the game outright.
Can you parlay the same game?
Some betting establishments will allow you to parlay the same game, for example by picking a side as well as a total, however not all will so it’s best to contact your specific bookmaker to check.
Is it smart to bet parlays?
Parlays are generally seen as a high-risk, high-reward bet. That’s because you’re essentially betting on multiple games at once and the more games you include in your parlay, the higher the odds (and potential payouts) will be. But with that high potential payout comes a greater chance of losing your entire bet. So while it can be tempting to try to hit it big with a parlay, you need to be careful and make sure not to overdo it. Many professional bettors refuse to bet parlays or do it very sparingly.
What is the difference between a parlay and a teaser?
A teaser is similar to a parlay in that it’s a bet on multiple games at once. But with a teaser, you get to adjust the point spreads and/or totals in your favor before placing the bet. So if you’re looking to increase your chances of winning, a teaser might be the way to go. However, keep in mind that the payouts for teasers are usually lower than for parlays since the odds are already in your favor before you even place the bet. Teasers are generally most valuable in NFL betting and least valuable in NBA betting.
Is it better to straight bet or parlay?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It depends on your personal preference and risk tolerance. If you’re the type of person who likes to take a lot of risks, then a parlay might be for you. But if you prefer to play it safe, then a straight bet is probably a better option for you.