Betting the Money Line
Betting the money line is very easy and intuitive, as the basic idea behind this type of wager is to guess which team will win the match outright. Most bookmakers will set the lines for evenly matched teams at -110, so you’ll be able to win $100 by wagering $110 on either side. On the other hand, if a line is set at +110, you’ll have a chance to win $110 by risking $100. For example:
Boston Red Sox -110
New York Yankees +120
If you see a lines set up in this manner, it means that the Boston Red Sox are the favorite, while New York Yankees are the underdog. Consequently, if you wager $110 on the Red Sox, you’ll have a chance to win $100. Conversely, should you wager $100 on the Yankees, you’ll have a shot at winning $120, but the risk will be significantly higher. All in all, knowing when to bet the underdog is the difference between an average bettor and a successful handicapper.
Betting the Run Line
Run line wagers are a great alternative to betting the money line, particularly if you already have some experience when it comes to wagering against the spread in other sports. When you bet the run line, you’ll usually have to choose between placing your money on the favorite at -1.5 or betting the underdog at +1.5. This simply means that a run line bet on the favorite collects whenever your team wins by two runs or more. Conversely, collecting on a +1.5 wager requires the underdogs to win outright or lose by no more than one run. Keep in mind that many sportsbooks offer non-standard spreads, which can even go up to 3.5.
Boston Red Sox +2.5 -110
New York Yankees -2.5 -110
In this example, you’d be required to wager $110 for a shot at winning $100 regardless of the side you pick. However, winning a bet on the Red Sox would require the team to win by three runs or more, while collecting on a wager placed on the Yankees would be possible even if the lost by two runs.
If you’d like to take a break from all the money lines and run lines, over/under bets would be an excellent choice, as you won’t be required to predict the winner of the match. Instead, your goal is to guess whether the combined score of both teams will be higher or lower than the total set by the sportsbook. In baseball, the totals tend to range from 6 and 11 and are often determined by the offensive skills of both teams. If a total is set at 7, betting the over will allow you to collect if the combined score of both teams is equal to 8 or more, while betting the under will result in a payout if the number of runs scored by both sides doesn’t exceed 6. Please note that most sites won’t honor over/under wagers unless there is no rainout and the game goes the full nine innings – if the match has to stop, your bet will be cancelled and you’ll receive a refund.
Parlay bets are more complicated than the wagers described above, as they allow you to combine two or more money lines, totals or run lines into a single ticket. What makes a parlay different from placing each of those bets separately is the fact that you won’t be able to collect unless you win all of your selections. This means that parlays are very risky, but this inherent risk is compensated by increased payouts – in fact, many bettors like to exploit wagers of this kind by parlaying heavy favorites, which allows them to maximize their profits despite the low odds surefire winners tend to get.
Prop bets or proposition bets are simply “gimmick” wagers that don’t fall into any of the popular categories that we’ve listed above. Bets of this kind allow you to wager on individual players and team statistics, such as the number of hits scored by the batter, the total amount of runs or even the number of strikeouts for a specific pitcher.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do MLB moneyline odds work?
Moneyline betting is the most basic baseball wager available. Oddsmakers assign a moneyline figure to each team playing on a given day. The team with the minus symbol (-) is considered the favorite, and therefore offers a smaller payout in the event of a victory.
Moneyline odds work around a base figure of $100, but are applicable to bets of any dollar amount. For example, if you were to wager on a team at -150, that number represents how much money you would need to bet in order to earn a profit of $100. A team at -180 requires a bet of $180 to return $100, and so on.
On the flip side, a team with a plus sign next to its moneyline total is considered the underdog, and will return that amount of profit on a standard bet of $100. So if you were to wager $100 on a team at +170 and that team is victorious, you would earn a profit of $170.
Wager $100 on a team at +220, and you’ll take home $220 in profit. It’s worth noting that matchups oddsmakers consider to be toss-ups will feature both teams in or around -110; you’ll need to bet that much to win $100 no matter which team you bet on. Moneyline bets are easy to understand once you get the hang of them, since the profit potential is clearly laid out for you.
Is it legal to bet on baseball?
It certainly is – provided that you live in one of the states that has adopted legalized betting. As of the start of the 2019 Major League Baseball season, seven states have joined Nevada in adopting full-scale legalized sports wagering: New Jersey, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, New Mexico and Mississippi. Two others – New York and Arkansas – have passed a sports betting bill and are well on their way to joining the party. Another 28 states have at least introduced a bill, while a handful of others – most notably Florida – have no bill on the table and aren’t anywhere close to providing legalized sports betting.
It’s also noteworthy that sports betting itself is not prohibited by U.S. law, so you won’t go to jail for placing a bet no matter where in the United States you’re located. Regardless, it’s better to stick with sportsbooks that have established themselves as legal entities within approved states – and there is no shortage of options at present, with DraftKings, FanDuel and William Hill among the more notable options available. And gaming companies aren’t the only ones getting in on the fun, with sports media company theScore expected to launch its own sportsbook in New Jersey later this year.
How much do starting pitchers impact the odds of an MLB game?
Of all the factors bettors should consider when making a baseball bet, the starting pitchers is among the most critical. A first glance at the moneyline odds might suggest that team caliber has a lot to do with the final numbers, but a deeper look reveals that starting pitchers have a major impact on the odds, as well: After all, the New York Yankees are a great team, but would they really be favored against the rival New York Mets with Jacob DeGrom on the mound for the opposition and C.C. Sabathia taking the ball for the Bronx Bombers? Likely not, despite the fact that the Yankees are much better than the Mets.
When determining how to break down your research, it’s critical to learn as much as possible about the starters for the game in question, and sniff out any meaningful trends you can factor into your bet. Is one starter much better at home than on the road? Does one starter pitch much better at night that during the day? The more information you have on the starters, the more prepared you’ll be to assess where the real value plays are. But be wary: starting pitchers aren’t the be-all and end-all here, and it’s your responsibility to look into every factor that might contribute to a final betting decision.
How do MLB runlines work?
While betting on the moneyline the most straightforward way of determining which team you believe will prevail straight-up, there are a number of alternate bet options you can choose from – and one of the most popular of these is the runline. This is designed to even things up, so to speak, by giving the favored team a 1.5-run handicap while boosting the underdog by the same 1.5-run total. This shifts the odds dramatically, which accomplishes a couple of things – and adds an element of intrigue in the process.
Let’s say the Yankees are -120 on the moneyline to defeat the Cleveland Indians, who are installed at +100. With the Yankees as the favorite, the runline offers a Yankees -1.5 betting option, which means that you only profit on a New York bet if the team wins by two or more runs. It’s riskier, but offers better odds; in this case, you would get the Yankees -1.5 at +155. Conversely, the Indians +1.5 would pay at a far lower rate (-175) than the straight moneyline play, since you still get paid off if they lose by a run.
What are some other bet types players should consider?
With so many different betting scenarios at your fingertips, the whole thing can seem a bit overwhelming. Here are a few additional bet types you can focus on as you get comfortable with the world of MLB wagering:
Totals betting – also know as Over/Under – is probably the next easiest option aside from moneyline picks. Each game has a run total listed, and you can wager on whether you believe the teams will combine to score more or fewer runs than that listed number. You don’t have to settle for the posted total, either, with the majority of sportsbooks offering alternate totals with different odds for each.
Prop bets – come in many forms, and provide plenty of opportunities to profit. You’ll be able to wager on in-game developments like which team scores first, which type of home run is the first one hit (solo shot or grand slam?), or how many combined hits the teams will produce. Take a long look at the props list of a given game to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Futures bets – can be made at just about any time of the year – and they might just be the easiest wagers of all. Simply choose which futures bet you’d like to make (over/under team win totals and World Series champions represent the bulk of MLB futures bets) at the selected odds, and hold onto your ticket. The only issue: you usually have to wait until the very end of the season to find out if you’re a winner.