How to Bet on MLB: Basic Rules and Betting Types

MLB betting reflects that deep history and love of statistics with a wide array of betting options that come all aspects on the baseball season, individual games, and individual player performances. Here’s a look at some of the popular betting options, and how you get the most out of your MLB betting experience this summer.

In addition to being America’s pastime, Major League Baseball is widely recognized for its reverence of statistics that cover all aspects of the game, dating back to the turn of the 20th century.

Here is a list of the best legal MLB bookies for American bettors.

Game Line Odds

With game line odds, you can get in on the action by betting on which team will emerge as a game winner, the margin of victory by which they will win, and how many runs will be scored.

Moneyline betting in MLB lets you bet on the game winner, with payout determined by moneyline odds. In the example below, the Toronto Blue Jays are pegged as -160 favorites, which means you must wager $160 to win $100 on a successful bet. The Atlanta Braves sit as +140 underdogs, which means a a successful $100 bet will win $140.

To Win

Atlanta Braves                                 +140

Toronto Blue Jays                            -160

Runline betting in baseball operates on the same principle as puck line betting in hockey, where one team is listed as a 1.5-run favorite and the other as a 1.5-point underdog on a point spread. However, unlike the NBA and NFL, where widely varying point spreads are accompanied by moneyline odds that rarely exceed -120, the runline provides stability on the spread with wide variance in the moneyline odds.

As illustrated below, the Blue Jays are pegged as the favorites to defeat Atlanta by at least 1.5 runs, with a successful $100 winning $150 if Detroit can pick up a multi-run victory. Once again, the Braves are the underdogs, but the expectation of a close game is reflected in the short -180 odds of Atlanta staying within two runs of the Blue Jays, with a successful $-180 bet winning $100.

Runline Betting

Atlanta Braves                                 +1.5 (-180)

Toronto Blue Jays                            -1.5 (+150)

MLB totals betting enables you to wager on the combined total number of runs scored by both teams in a game, regardless of which team wins. In the example below, the total is set at 9.5 goals with moneyline odds attached to both the OVER and UNDER.

In this example, the OVER is pegged as a -120 favorite, which means a $120 bet will win $100 if the two teams combine to score more than 9.5 goals. The UNDER is a +105 underdog, which means if the two teams combine to score 9.5 or fewer goals a $100 bet will win $105.

Totals Betting

Atlanta Braves                                 O 9.5 (-120)

Toronto Blue Jays                            U 9.5 (+105)

Five-inning betting adds an intriguing layer of complexity to your MLB betting experience. Five-inning betting follows the same principles as moneyline betting, but with two important differences; the announced starting pitchers must throw at least one pitch in the game, and your bet is determined as a winner and loser after five innings of play instead of at the completion of the game.

Parlay wagering enables you to take advantage of enhanced odds by combining multiple MLB game line bets on a single ticket. For example, you can combine moneyline bets from multiple games, or a moneyline bet from one game with a totals betting from another, and runline bet for a third, but every wager on your ticket must be a winner for you to cash in on a big payday.

MLB Futures & Props

While game line odds enable you to wager on multiple facets on an individual game, MLB futures and props betting options let you bet on the performances of individual teams and players over the course of one day, or the entire season.

Common MLB futures bets including wagering on which team will win the World Series, as well as betting on divisional and league pennants. Other futures including betting on which players will take home individual awards such as the Cy Young Award as top pitcher, American League and National League MVP winners, and each league’s batting champions.

With MLB props, you can wager on the performance of individual teams and players over the course of a single game or the entire season. Typical props wagers include pre-season betting on how many regular-season wins each team will compile, and whether a specific team will make the MLB Post season.

Other props include betting on the number of home runs a slugger will hit, as well as batting averages for individual hitters, and the number of strikeouts and wins a pitcher will rack up.

Once again, moneyline odds are attached to every selection available on the MLB futures and props, but parlaying is usually limited on these types of bets.

Photo by Jose Morales 

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