How to Bet | Baseball

Baseball is America’s game it is a sport that America has been in love with since the 1800’s and it is still going strong. There is not another sport that can compete with the attractiveness and the smoothness of this great game. Sure, football is great and will remain great but the big difference between baseball and football is marketing. The NFL along with the media, they make up rivalries, they tell the fans who to like or who not to like. The NFL has proven to be a marketing genius. They sell their product well and they rake in a lot of money doing it. Baseball Rivalries have been around since well, as long as the Yankees and Red Sox have suited up and heard those famous words from the home plate umpire, “play ball”.

Baseball doesn’t need the same amount of mass marketing that football needs. Baseball sells itself and has since the dawn of time. Baseball is a game for everyone, for families, for fathers and sons, for fathers and daughters; it’s a game for mothers and daughters, mothers and sons and families of all types. Baseball is a game that knows no color, it never gets caught up in race wars or social division and it’s by far the most diverse professional sport in the world. 

The real beauty of baseball; from late March to late September, there is a game nearly every day. The fans don’t have to wait until Saturday or Sunday. Baseball is a game of statistics, a game of pure athletic ability but it is also a game that a normal young man, an aspiring athlete-can play if he works hard enough. 

There is nothing quite like a lazy Wednesday afternoon at Safeco Field in Seattle or Yankee Stadium in the Bronx with a hotdog and all the fixings along with an ice cold beer and 9 great innings of baseball. It’s a rite of passage for any sports fan during the spring and summer, something that everyone should experience. Baseball is always there for six months, it’s going nowhere. When that lazy Wednesday afternoon comes up and there is nothing to do; hit the ballpark for $25 or less and take in 9 innings of pure magic and relaxation. Football simply doesn’t offer the same experience as there are only 8 home games per year, they are expensive and usually not a family planned event.

Baseball is not only all of the above; it’s also a game that sharp bettors make a lot of money on. Players everywhere love to bet on baseball and for one reason; it’s beatable. The average player can win a lot of money playing baseball and the well-educated player can make a nice living playing this sport. Winning at baseball is not a myth but the player must know exactly how and why to bet. The player must know the mechanics of betting, the many different options available and how to place those bets. A good player will always know what he wants to bet before he places the bet and he will know exactly what his options are. He will know how to place the bet and how the bet that he placed works, how it will pay and what the odds mean.

This is a “how to” guide for everything to do with betting baseball. If you want to be successful in betting baseball you will study the game, you will know the ins and out of the game and you will know the good teams and why it’s can be lucrative to bet against them, you will know the bad teams and why it can also be a moneymaker to bet with them. We will teach you about lines, odds and runlines, totals, first halves, moneylines, parlays, round robins, if bets, point spread, grand salamis, and so much more. There are many ways to bet on baseball and if you want to make money this year, you must know your betting options.

First Thing is First

A Solid Money Plan | A Budget

It may sound boring, it may sound unnecessary but it’s vital to the success of any sports gambler, whether betting baseball, basketball, football, hockey or any sport. The sports gambler must know how much he can afford to spend on every game, every day, every week and every month, all season long. A budget is the lifeblood of any player and it must be adhered to and it must be followed religiously. It matters not how small or large the budget may be, the important thing here is to set a budget and never go over it. 

You and only you are the master of your budget, whether it’s $25.00 per week or $3,000 per week. You know how much you can afford to spend on sports gambling. You know what your bills and obligations are. You must plan your budget accordingly and always stick by it. If your budget is tapped out on Tuesday, this doesn’t mean you should “rob Peter to pay Paul”. Not a chance! You must be disciplined and sit on it until the next week. If your, “eating out in restaurants budget” is $125 for the week and your week starts on Monday and by Wednesday it’s gone, you should not eat out until the following Monday. Keep your gambling budget strict, just as with any other budget. Once you get over budget, gambling can become drudgery and lose its appeal very quickly. This is supposed to be fun.

The Golden Rule of Sports Betting

Never Chase a Bad Beat, if you lose you lose, it’s certainly no fun to lose, as a matter of fact, it sucks but what’s even worse, is losing two or three times in the same night or even the same game. Suck it up, gather yourself and come back next time. Do not chase one bad bet with another. This will break you and send you to the poor house very much sooner than later. 

Baseball Money Lines (American Odds)

The Money Line is by far the most popular way to bet on baseball games. What this means is that there is no point spread of any kind. You simply pick a side (a team) and you need that team to win the game straight up. There are no points of any kind. What it also means is that the house or the bookie is taking all the risk and they are the ones inviting you to the straight-up bet without a point spread. 

NOTE: Because there is no point spread and there are obviously better teams than others, the Money Line can swing drastically. 

Example: The Kansas City Royals are playing the Seattle Mariners and for the sake of this example let’s say that the Royals are 40-20 through 60 games and the Mariners are 20-40through 60 games. The Royals are a much better team. This means the Money Line will highly favor the Royals. 

Kansas City Royals -150
Seattle Mariners +140

In layman’s terms; this means that if you want to bet on the Mariners $100 will win you $140 + your $100 back for a total of $240.

If you want to bet on the Royals, you must bet $150 in order to win $100, for a total return of $250

Every once in a while, you might see an even odds line, his means that the line setters (oddsmakers) have decided that this particular game is too close to call and they place the game at even odds.

Royals +100
Mariners + 100

In this case, you win even money. If you bet $100, you will win $100 + your $100 back for a total of $200. It does not matter how the sportsbook has the money displayed. One team may be displayed as -100 and the other as +100. Either way, on either team, the odds are even money and whichever team that you decide to bet on will pay even money, dollar for dollar. Remember, you need the team that you bet on to win the game straight up. It can be 1-0, 5-3 or 10-9. It matters not what the score is, as long as your team is the winner.

Money Line Wagering Tips to Remember

In baseball, pitching means everything so in order to make a wise and reasonable assessment of which team has the greater chance of winning, you must know the pitchers and their win-loss records. The win/loss records of starting pitchers for individual games have a large bearing on which way the money swings. The line movers (oddsmakers) use this as a standard guide. 

When betting the Money Line you will always have the option of locking in the pitcher (or otherwise known as “listed’)-Listed Pitcher. If you are betting on a team because you feel that the pitcher is dominating or you simply like his chances more than the opposing pitcher, you can lock him in with your bet. This means that if your pitcher does not get the start if he is scratched before game time or for any reason, he does not start, the game will have “no action” and you will get your money back. It is a no bet, no action. 

NOTE: For a Money Line baseball wager to have action, the game must go a full 4 ½ innings for the home team or 5 complete innings for the visiting team. Most all of the online sportsbooks follow “Vegas” rules, however, this may vary. Be sure to read the rules section of your favorite online sportsbook. 


The first five innings is a great way to bet on baseball if you are an impatient gambler, or if you are the type of gambler that wants to bet on a second game but use the winnings of the first game to bet the second game.

 A first five innings bet is exactly that; you are betting the outcome of the first five innings only and not the entire game. This is a great way to bet when dominating pitchers are starting any one particular game. The pitcher has a much greater chance of playing well during the first five innings and a greater chance of slowing down in the later innings. Betting the first five innings increases the bettors chance of winning when the pitcher is dominate or vice versa; I.E. betting against a not so dominate pitcher. 

Giants -200 (first five innings) meaning, you must wager $200 to win $100 or for every $2 wagered, you win $1.

If you bet the home team and the home team is winning the game after 4 ½ innings; you have won, the bet. If the road team has the lead or the game is tied after 4 ½ innings, you still have the bottom of the 5th inning, in hopes the home team wins or in hopes the road team maintains the lead or tie. A tie would be a push and you will get your wager back. The advantage of betting on the first 5 innings, is pitching. If you believe that your pitcher can hold off the other team through the first 5, then this is the bet for you.

Total runs are also offered for the first 5 innings. You can bet over the total combined runs through 5 innings by both teams or under the total combined runs. The odd on totals are also based on a money line such as Giants/Dodgers 1st 5 innings, 3.5 over -105, under +125. The over must go to at least 4 runs, the under must stay at 1, 2 or 3, total combined runs.


Las Vegas oddsmakers figured out a way to make sports betting more attractive than just simply offering a game line. They figured it out with totals. Totals are a great way to bet on a game, have fun and win some money but have absolutely no rooting interest. When a gambler bets on the total, he is betting that the total combined score of both teams will go over or under the set total for that game. It’s that simple. You either root for a lot of points to be scored or you root for great defense.

San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Total Over/Under 7.5 (-110) meaning, you would need to bet $110, to win $100 or for every $1.10 wagered, you will win $1.00.


Alternate lines can be a lucrative way to make a ton of money but you had better be good and you had better know your stuff! This is not only a great way to win a lot of money; it’s also a great way to lose a lot of money. Know the game well, know the players well, be educated on the particular game that you are betting on alternate lines will pay big. 

San Francisco Giants -1.5 (-180)


A parlay is a multiple bet; a bet with more than one team. The payouts on parlays are much larger than that of a straight wager. There are good and not so good aspects of betting parlays. The good is the large payout. The not so good is; every team on your parlay must win. If one team loses, then you lose the entire bet. You can bet 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and as much as 8 teams, on any given parlay card.

Parlay odds:

Baseball Parlays
2 team: 13/5               3 team: 6/1
4 team: 10/1               5 team: 20/1
6 team: 40/1               7 team: 75/1
8 team: 150/1             9 team: 250/1
10 team: 400/1          11 team: 500/1
12 team: 600/1    

As you can see from that list, if you can hit a parlay it’ll pay out your money very well. Even hitting a four-team parlay pays out a very nice ten times your bet. But remember, if you lose any of those games, you automatically lose the parlay.


Round Robins are a popular way to bet vs. the parlay because you can lose a game or even more and still win something. Round Robins allow the player to make a series of parlay bets that are intertwined and if you do come up short as in a parlay, not all is lost. If the gambler bets a three-game parlay and 2 games are winners but the third one comes up short; the bet is lost; not the case in a Round Robin.


If you place an 8-team round robin by 2 ways, you will have 28 bets.

Here’s a look at a three-way, two team round robins. You are betting on the New York Yankees -1.5, Boston Red Sox -1.5, and the Oakland Athletics +1.5, with each parlay going for $10.

Round Robins    

Parlay 1:                                       Parlay 2:
Yankees -1.5                                Yankees -1.5
Red Sox -1.5                                Athletics +1.5
Betting $10 to win $26                 Betting $10 to win $26

Parlay 3:    
Red Sox -1.5    
Athletics +1.5    
Betting $10 to win $26
So basically you are betting $30 to win a possible profit of $78. Round Robins basically give you a way to have multiple parlays spread out across the board, and even if you lose one, you still have two more going in order to take in a profit. Below is a chart explaining the different number of bets for each number of picks and ways that you bet it.

Picks/Ways/Number of Bets    

8 picks/2 ways/28 bets    8 picks/3 ways/56 bets
8 picks/4 ways/70 bets    8 picks/5 ways/56 bets
8 picks/6 ways/28 bets    7 picks/2 ways/21 bets
7 picks/3 ways/35 bets    7 picks/4 ways/35 bets
7 picks/5 ways/21 bets    7 picks/6 ways/7 bets
6 picks/2 ways/15 bets    6 picks/3 ways/20 bets
6 picks/4 ways/15 bets    6 picks/5 ways/6 bets
5 picks/2 ways/10 bets    5 picks/3 ways/10 bets
5 picks/4 ways/5 bets      4 picks/2 ways/6 bets
4 picks/3 ways/4 bets      3 picks/2 ways/3 bets


If bets are a fun way to bet on multiple games but not fully commit to a parlay. A parlay is “one and done’ meaning when you take one loss the entire parlay is shot, no longer good and you may as well tear the ticket up! 

There are two types of if bets, single action and double action, single action is normal if bets and the next bet will be placed only if you win. A push cancels the next bet. Double action means that the next bet will be placed with a win, a push, or if the first action is canceled for any reason. Here’s an example of an “if bet”.


Atlanta Braves -1.5 vs. Chicago Cubs +1.5                      Bet $11 on Atlanta -1.5 to win $10

If this game wins, then another bet is placed on the following game    

Florida Marlins -1.5 vs. Houston Astros +1.5                    Bet $11 on Florida -1.5 to win $10


Future bets are bets placed for future action. These bets are typically offered on which team will win the American League Pennant, the National League Pennant and the World Series. Future odds are also offered on an individual playoff series and World Series. These odds are usually offered before the series begins and even during the series.

The oddsmakers’ factor in many different scenarios when setting the lines for future bets. They consider the year before or how a playoff team finished the current year. Future bets can be very lucrative. The key is learning and following the game well and striking quickly, as odds change quickly.


Prop bets are popular because they have multiple offerings and are often payable before the end of the game.


Who will score the 1st run of the game; will team a score in the 1st inning, how many home runs will be hit in a game? Over/unders on how many hits each team or each player will have over/unders on the number of errors for a team, etc. There are many different prop betting options on each game, and most of them have odds that will vary by the bet. For example, the bet of “who will score first,” will most likely favor one team one way or the other. The odds will vary by which side has more action, but will typically start at even money.

Baseball is truly a great game and will always be “Americas Pastime”. It’s an all-encompassing sport that crosses age gaps, gender gaps and best of all it’s not political and never sees color. In fact, baseball is by far and away the most racially diverse sport in the world. 

If you love to gamble on sports then baseball is most definitely a great option. It’s accessible, it’s played nearly every day and all of the great online sportsbooks offer it as a wagering option. Find a great online sportsbook that caters to MLB Baseball, as a matter of fact, find two or three of them and have several at your disposal. Enjoy the 2018 MLB season and stay tuned for more specialized and in-depth baseball betting options.

About the Author
Brad Mullins
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