How to Bet On Sports | MLB Betting

Betting on baseball games at an online sportsbook may not be as popular with sports bettors as other options such as football and basketball, but when it comes to value and opportunity, nothing in the online sports betting world matches MLB games. Starting in early April with opening day games all across the nation right through the end of October into November with the best-of-seven World Series, there is wall-to-wall baseball betting action on the board at all the top online betting outlets.

It starts with the simple math of 30 different teams playing a 162-game regular season schedule. It continues through three rounds of postseason play that offer some the best betting excitement of the year with the top teams in both the American and National League competing for that chance to meet in each season’s Fall Classic. Once you gain a fundamental understanding of how to bet on MLB games, you will have an almost never-ending supply of action at your disposal to help build your overall sports betting bankroll.

The primary way to bet on a MLB game is with a moneyline. This is a head-to-head straight-up bet between a designated favorite and underdog. While home field advantage does exist in baseball to a certain extent given the subtle differences that exist from one ball park to the next, the biggest factor controlling the betting odds for the games is each team’s starting pitcher. A hot pitcher can single-handedly shutdown even the most potent hitting team if he is throwing his best stuff. Gaining a solid understanding of each team’s entire starting rotation as well as its bullpen is vital to posting a winning percentage betting on MLB games.

As part of our “How To” Series, read: How to Bet on Sports | College Football Betting

The set moneyline for any baseball game carries added risk for betting on favorites in the form of higher juice or commission owed on a losing bet. If you are betting $100 on the New York Yankees as a -145 favorite, you would win $100 if they win the game, but you would owe $145 should they lose. Betting on the underdog brings added reward. If the Boston Red Sox are listed as +135 underdogs on the moneyline, you win take in $135 on that same $100 if they win the game and you would only owe the $100 if the Red Sox were to lose.

Every MLB game also has a posted total line for the combined runs between the two teams in that particular matchup. If there are two really good starters on the mound, the total line could be as low as six or seven runs. If two of the top hitting teams are facing one another with suspect pitchers in the starting rotation, the total line could jump as high as 12 runs. Getting to know a team’s scoring potential in its lineup against both left-handed and right-handed pitchers is a good way to find value in the posted total line. The average pitcher might make at least 20 starts a season, so there is plenty of information available on how they have fared against certain lineups over the course of the regular season.

A third way to bet on MLB games is through the run line, which can be thought of as the equivalent of a pointspread in football or the basketball. The main difference being that a MLB run line is always set as minus 1.5 runs for the favorite and at plus 1.5 runs for the underdog. The run line also has a corresponding moneyline that has been adjusted in light of the 1.5 runs. Using the same example above; the Yankees’ adjusted moneyline with the -1.5 runs might now be +125 instead of -145 in a straight-up bet.  

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Dave Schwab
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