How to Bet on Baseball

Five Methods:Developing a StrategyBetting the MoneylineBetting MLB TotalsBetting MLB RunlineBetting MLB Futures, Props, and Parlays

Sports betting is a unique subset of gambling that can be very intense. Unlike a standard roulette or craps table, sports betting--especially baseball betting--involves many factors other than pure luck. Baseball betting can be lucrative for an informed bettor. Baseball betting differs slightly from most other sports so it’s best to develop a strategy before placing your wager. Learn the basics of betting on moneylines, totals, runs, futures, and props and apply your knowledge of the sport to maximize the payout of your wagers using a parlay.

Method 1
Developing a Strategy

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    Take into account performance. There are many playing factors that you must consider when placing a bet including[1]:
    • Performance of the the starting pitcher.
    • The strength of a team’s bullpen.
    • A team’s record at home vs away.
    • A team’s record in head-to-head play.
    • A team offensive output.
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    Understand your betting options. Baseball betting lines are available everyday. You may choose from a variety of options depending on where you place your bet. Options typically include betting on moneylines, totals, runlines, and futures.[2]
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    Diversify your bets. Don’t settle on just one place to bet, often called a sportsbook. Place different wagers at different sportsbooks to ensure you are getting the best odds. Seek out the sportsbook that will give you the best payout for your bet. Shop around to find the best payouts.[3]
    • If you find that a sportsbook in a casino 30 minutes away is paying 5 cents better than your favourite local sportsbook, it's best to go with the one 30 minutes away.
    • Maximize your dollar. Join at least one betting exchange in addition to your favourite dimeline sportsbook. A betting exchange is similar to a sportsbook except players determine their own betting lines with one another. In other words, you will determine the payout with the person you are betting against.
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    Seek out dimeline odds. Dimeline odds ensures that the odds on favorite and the underdog are separated by 10 cents on the dollar, thus the term dimeline. For example, if the favored team is given -150 odds, then a line of +140 will be given to the underdog, which is a 10 cent difference.[4]
    • If you choose the favourite the payout will be less than if you bet on the underdog to win. The team with the negative sign in front of it is the favourite. The team with the plus sign is the underdog. Dimelines work in your favour because the sportsbook can’t over-shade the favourite without exposing themselves on the back side with a large underdog line. If a sportsbook offers 15 or 20 cent odds, the favourite and underdog will be separated by 15 or 20 cents. This puts you at a disadvantage so be weary. Choosing a dimeline book ensures that your winnings will be higher over the long term, regardless of who you bet.
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    Seek out betting exchanges for moneyline bets. Betting exchanges cut out the middle man and let bettors from around the world offer their own money lines directly to other bettors. This results in lines that are more favourable than any sportsbook.[5]
    • Additionally, a betting exchange won’t straddle the line. This means it won’t always separate the favourite and the underdog by exactly 10 or 20 cents. It may even be common to find no or almost no separation between the favourite and the underdog. You can’t get better than equal odds.

Method 2
Betting the Moneyline

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    Understand how a moneyline bet works. A moneyline bet is simply picking which team will win the game. If you choose the favourite the payout will be less than if you bet on the underdog to win. The team with the negative sign in front of it is the favourite. The team with the plus sign is the underdog. There is no point spread to consider.[6]
    • For example, if you are betting the Seattle Mariners hosting the New York York Yankees, the moneyline may appear Seattle +170 New York -200. This means that New York is favoured to win and Seattle is the underdog so you get more money if you bet on Seattle and they win. So if you bet $200 on New York you will win $100. However, if you bet $100 on Seattle you could win $170.
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    Strategize who has the best odds of winning. Strategizing is known as handicapping and takes in many factors. Keep in mind that even the best teams will still lose about 40% of their regular season games so it isn’t as easy as betting on the favourite. Watch for things like good pitchers on bad teams, underdogs who play well on their home field, and small favourites over underdogs.[7]
    • Keeping a keen eye during the season allows you to make informed bets. Steadily build your winnings with each well placed bet.
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    Bet the moneyline. Once you have chosen the team who you think will win, find a legal sportsbook online or, if gambling is legal at your location, place a bet at a casino, pub, or wherever else sports gambling is accepted.
    • Research which sportsbook gives the best return to your bet as not all of them set the moneyline the same. The payout is adjusted based on the odds set at the point of betting.[8]
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    Understand the 5-inning line. This is basically the same as the moneyline but only factors in the score of 5 innings of play. It is similar to placing a bet for the winner of the first half of basketball or football. The odds are usually very similar to the regular moneyline odds; however, the starting pitcher is a significant factor in determining the odds.[9]

Method 3
Betting MLB Totals

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    Determine how betting totals work. The total betting line is also called the Over/Under Total and means that you are wagering on the total number of runs scored. An oddsmaker will establish a betting line and you must determine whether the total number of runs by both teams will be over or under this set line.[10]
    • For example, if the Seattle Mariners are playing the New York Yankees the line can be set at 8.5o - 130, 8.5u +110. this means that it is favoured that both teams will score over 8.5 runs. So you must bet $130 to win $100. The minus sign in front of the $130 means that it is favoured that both teams will score at least 8.5 runs.
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    Handicap the game. There are many factors to consider before placing a wager. When betting totals you must consider offensive output, pitching, stadium, and weather. Some stadiums produce more runs than others and open fields can be affected by the weather.
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    Place the bet. Find a legal sportsbook online or a casino, pub, or other sports betting establishment. Calculate the best payout for your game before placing your bet. Some sportsbooks may offer better odds than others.
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    Bet team totals. Team totals are exactly as it sounds. Bet on the total amount of runs a single team will make in a single game rather than the total amount of runs produced by both teams. For example, Seattle may have a Team Total of 4 over - 125. So if you wager $125 that Seattle scores over 4 runs, you win $100.[11]

Method 4
Betting MLB Runline

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    Understand the runline. Similar to a point spread in football, the run line is how many runs a team will win by; however, the MLB runline will usually be set at 1.5. The odds will be set based on this number. In some cases there will be alternative run lines set at 2.5 or more.[12]
    • For example, a runline can be seen as Seattle -1 1/2 +140. This means that Seattle must win by at least two or more runs for you to win your bet. The +140 represents the payout odds so if you bet $100, you will win $140.[13]
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    Strategize before placing your bet. Runlines are different than totals and moneylines. Evenly matched teams may payout better odds but be difficult to handicap. Pitching is a good starting point for your game analysis.
    • Make note of alternate runlines as those are runlines that have been flipped. This makes the favourite the underdog and vice versa. In certain scenarios, like when you feel the underdog has a good chance of covering the runline, you can increase your payout.
      • For example: Team Moneyline Runline Alternate Runline New York Yankees -150 -1.5 (-110) +1.5 (-250) Seattle Mariners +140 +1.5 (+100) -1.5 (+220) Wagering -1.5 on Seattle you receive +220 rather than +100 on a +1.5 runline.[14]
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    Place your bet. Find a legal sports book at your location or online. Keep in mind that most sportsbook set the Runline at 1.5 so research which sportsbook gives the best payout.

Method 5
Betting MLB Futures, Props, and Parlays

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    Watch the entire season to bet Futures. Baseball futures are wagers that are available for the entirety of the season. You may place your wager during the offseason, regular season, pennant races, and the post season. The odds will be updated and posted each week.[15]
    • Baseball future bets include who will win the world series, who will win the pennant, who will win the Cy Young award, etc. Keep in mind that the odds change each day as the season progresses. Future bets are challenging because performance, injuries, and personnel moves can all dramatically change your odds of winning and where the sportsbooks set the betting lines.
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    Have fun with prop bets. Not all sportsbooks offer prop bets. Prop bets aren’t usually related to the score of the game but rather the stats of individual players. For example, a prop bet could be which player will have the most RBIs, runs, and home runs in the game?[16]
    • You will see the players name and the payout of the bet. For example, Ken Griffey Jr. (SEA) -110
    • Prop bets are fun because you may bet on your favourite players. That can also be very profitable if you catch a player on a streak.
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    Maximize a bet with a parlay. A baseball parlay means that you combine two or more bets to create a greater payoff. All of the parts of your wager must win for you to win your parlay. This is especially useful if you put little down. There are many MLB games in a day so each parlay can increase your payout.[17]
    • For example, you may bet the moneyline of one game and parlay the total of another game to increase the payout odds of that single bet.


  • There are plenty of places where you can go to place baseball bets. The easiest place is on the Internet, as most sports books have online sites where you can use credit or debit to place bets. Online sports books will have easy-to-follow tutorials and they will guide you towards making your first bet. If you prefer live interaction, nearly every casino has a sports betting area. The casino employees will gladly assist you in making your first bet.

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Categories: Baseball