How to Bet on MLB – Baseball Betting Guide

Learn how to bet on MLB baseball with moneylines, totals, and run lines. You’ll also learn about first 5 inning bets, parlays, and the Grand Salami. MLB run line betting is like hockey puck line betting. Always compare sportsbook moneylines to find the best value. Review current odds to win the World Series, American League Pennant, and National League Pennant below.

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Chapters

  1. Current Matchup Odds
  2. Straight Bets
  3. Exotic Bets
  4. MLB Betting Futures
  5. Futures Odds Case Study
  6. MLB Season Win Totals
  7. Live MLB Odds

Current Matchups

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Next 10 MLB Game Odds
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How to Bet on MLB Baseball

This tutorial has two sections. The first contains common MLB straight bets. These include the moneyline, over-under total, and run line bets. Winning sports bettors should stick to these bets. They’re the most profitable in the long haul.

The second section discusses exotic MLB bets. These include the parlay, if bet win-only, parlay card, and props. Careful, all of these bets come with a higher house edge. Smart handicappers only place these wagers when they think they have an advantage.

MLB Straight Bets

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How a MLB Moneyline Bet Works

A moneyline bet is placed on a team or side to win the game outright. Some sportsbooks also offer moneylines for the first 5 innings.

Favorite
The favorite will have a minus number. A minus number indicates how much you risk to win $100.

Underdog
The underdog will have a plus number. A plus number indicates how much you win for risking $100.

Placing a Moneyline Bet
Select “Moneyline” from your sportsbook’s betting menu. It may also be abbreviated as “ML”. Next, select a game segment: game or first 5 innings. Finally, select either the favorite or the underdog.

Sportsbooks include the juice in each moneyline. They usually add 10 cents commission to each side. A -220 true odds favorite would get a -230 line, while a +150 true odds underdog would get a +140 line.

MLB Moneyline Example

Moneyline
Game
Line & Odds
Oakland Athletics
Houston Astros
8/13/22 7:10 pm EDT
+250
-315
  1. The Oakland Athletics are the underdog. Risk $100 to win $250.
  2. The Houston Astros are the favorite. Risk $315 to win $100.

Example Result: Houston wins.
All favorite Houston Astros bettors win. All underdog Oakland Athletics bettors lose.

Note: If the game ties, all moneyline bets push. All bets will be refunded.

More Moneyline Info

Our moneyline video explains this bet completely. The entire moneyline tutorial also includes useful tips and strategies. Use the reference section to convert Moneyline odds to equivalent Fractional or Decimal values. Note required break even percentages for moneyline odds.

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What are MLB Baseball Dime Lines?

A Dime Line is a quantity of juice, or vigorish, a sportsbook charges to take a bet. A dime equals 10 cents. Dime lines have 10 cents difference between the amount you bet on the favorite and the amount you win on the underdog.

A 20 cent line means there are 20 cents difference between the favorite’s line and underdog’s line.

How to Find MLB Baseball Dime Lines

  1. Open your sportsbook’s MLB Baseball odds page.
  2. Remove + and – signs from each team’s moneylines.
  3. Subtract the underdog value from the favorite.
  4. If the difference is 10 or “10 cents”, you have a dime line.

MLB Baseball Dime Line Example

Moneyline
Game
Line & Odds
Oakland Athletics
Houston Astros
8/13/22 7:10 pm EDT
+140
-150
  1. The Houston Astros are the -150 moneyline favorite.
  2. The Oakland Athletics are the +140 moneyline underdog.
  3. 150-140 = 10. This matchup has a dime line.

Why Bet a Dime Line?

Taking a Dime Line means you’re betting at half the juice. The house edge between 2 closely matched teams is just over 2%. That’s much lower than a 20 or 30 cent line. Always look for dime lines when shopping MLB baseball odds. Don’t pay the sportsbook more vigorish than you have to!

How a MLB Total Bet Works

A total bet line combines the estimated final scores of each team including extra innnings. Sportsbooks may also offer total lines for the first 5 innings. You bet on whether the actual result will be Over or Under the sportsbook’s line.

Placing an Over-Under Total Bet
Select “Over-Under Total” from your sportsbook’s betting menu. Next, select a game segment: game or first 5 innings. Finally, select either the over or the under.

Pick the Over or the Under

Taking the Over
Over will be abbreviated as “o”. A bet on the Over wins if the final total is greater than the sportsbook’s line. For example, consider a 4.5 run total line. If the actual game total is 5, over bettors win.

Taking the Under
Under will be abbreviated as “u”. A bet on the Under wins if the final total is les than the sportsbook’s line. Consider again a 4.5 run total line. If the actual game total is 4, under bettors win.

MLB Total Example

Total
Game
Line & Odds
Oakland Athletics
Houston Astros
8/13/22 7:10 pm EDT
8.5 o -117
8.5 u -103
  1. The Over-Under Total line is 8.5.
  2. Over bettors believe the final total will be greater than 8.5. They risk $117 to win $100.
  3. Under bettors believe the final total will be less than 8.5. They risk $103 to win $100.

Example Result: Final run total is 9.
The 9 run final total is over the sportsbook’s 8.5 run line. That means all over bettors win.

If the final run total was 8 or fewer, all under bettors would win.

Note: Tie bets are possible when the total is a whole number like 8, 9, 10, or 12. Your bet will be returned if the final run total equals the line. This is also called a push. All bets will be refunded.

More Over-Under Total Info

Our total betting video makes the over under bet easy to understand. The reference section explains how to calculate the value for the opposite side of the line when sportsbooks charge more than -110 juice. Note, most sportsbooks provide juice for both sides of a line at their websites. Calculating the opposite side is only necessary when viewing condensed third party odds tables.

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How a MLB Run Line Bet Works

The run line is similar to a football or basketball point spread bet. A run line bet is made on the expected score difference. The run line attempts to equalize two mismatched competitors. Favorite teams give runs to the underdog. The underdog takes runs from the favorite.

Sportsbooks commonly offer run lines for the game or first 5 innings. Major events like the MLB playoffs and World Series may get run lines for the first 5 innings.

Placing a Run Line Bet
Select “Run Line” from your sportsbook’s betting menu. Next, select a game segment: game or first 5 innings. Finally, select either the favorite or the underdog.

Pick the Favorite or the Underdog

Taking the Underdog
Underdogs have a plus sign next to their run line. An underdog bet wins if the final score difference is less than the run line. A +1.5 run underdog must win outright, tie, or not lose by more than 1 run.

Taking the Favorite
Favorites have a minus sign next to their run line. A bet on the favorite wins if the final score difference is greater than the spread. A -2.5 run favorite must win by 3 or more runs for your bet to win.

MLB Run Line Example

Run Line
Game
Line & Odds
Oakland Athletics
Houston Astros
8/13/22 7:10 pm EDT
+1.5 +120
-1.5 -141
  1. The Houston Astros are the -1.5 run favorite.
  2. Favorite bettors risk $141 to win $100 on Houston.
  3. The Oakland Athletics are the +1.5 run underdog.
  4. Underdog bettors risk $100 to win $120 on Oakland.

Example Result: Houston wins 7-5.
The final score difference is 2 runs. 2 runs is greater than the 1.5 run line. That means all favorite bettors win.

If the Oakland Athletics lost by 1 run, tied, or won outright, all underdog bettors would win.

Note: MLB run lines always contain ½ runs. The most common run line is 1.5. 0.5 and 2.5 run lines are less common.

No MLB Game Market Live Example TBD: Check back soon!

More Run Line Info

Watch our spread betting video and read our complete point spread tutorial. You’ll also find betting strategies, spread to moneyline conversions, and other insights.

MLB Baseball F5 or First 5 Innnings Bets

F5 or First 5 Inning bets are moneylines, totals, and run lines for the first 5 innings of a baseball game. Sportsbooks grade first five inning bets after 5 innings have been played. Think of these bets like a first half bet for a football or basketball game.

Handicapping First 5 Inning Lines

Because starting pitchers only play about 5 innings, this bet can win or lose on their performance. Additionally, you’ll need to consider the strength of your team’s batting lineup and their ability to produce runs early in the game.

Finally, compare the F5 Inning lines to the game lines. This can be helpful for spotting value, especially if the sportsbook has mispriced one of the game segments.

Exotic MLB Bets

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MLB Baseball Parlay Betting

A parlay bet combines 2 or more selections into one bet. Run lines, Point spreads, over-under totals, moneylines, and some prop bets are commonly combined to make a parlay bet.

How to Place a MLB Baseball Parlay Bet

  1. Select 2-15 run lines, totals, moneylines, or a combination of all three.
  2. Matchups from other sports like football, basketball, soccer, or hockey can be included.
  3. All selections must be correct to win.
  4. Each tie reduces a parlay payout by 1 selection. For example, a 3 selection parlay with 1 tie becomes a 2 selection parlay.

More Parlay Bet Info

Our parlay betting tutorial explains this bet in detail with examples and suggested betting options. Learn what happens when one or more parlay selections tie.

The reference section discusses the difference between standard parlay odds and true odds.

Winning bettors should always choose the parlay over separate straight bets. Your +EV (expected value) is much higher for a winning parlay.

MLB Baseball If Bet Win-Only

An if bet win-only is a sequence of 2-7 straight bet selections. The next selection only sees action if the previous selection wins.

Think of an if bet win-only as a simple chain of “if – then” statements. If my first selection wins, then my second selection sees action. If my second selection wins, then my third selection sees action, etc.

Why place an if bet win-only bet?
Make multiple bets when you only have money for one. That makes if bets ideal for players with small bankrolls.

The if bet win-only is a single action wager.

How to Place a MLB Baseball If Bet Win-Only

  1. Select 2-7 run lines, moneylines, totals, or combinations of all three from one or more different sports leagues.
  2. Your next selection sees action if the previous one wins.
  3. The sportsbook will grade a tie selection as a loss.

MLB Baseball If Bet Win-Only Example

Let’s place a 2 selection if bet win-only. We’ll risk $160 on the first selection. Note how the odds affect the potential payout.

Chicago Cubs +1.5 -160 Run Line
Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees 8.5 o -110 Total

The following tables show different outcomes depending on each selection’s result. Remember, the sequence ends after the first losing selection.

This table shows the Win/Loss result when both selections win.

Both Selections Win
Selection Result Risk/Win Total Win/Loss
Chicago Cubs +1.5 -160
Run Line
Win $160 Risk
$100 Win
$100
Tampa Bay Rays vs.
New York Yankees o 8.5 -110
Total
Win $110 Risk
$100 Win
$200
($100 + $100)

The second selection, Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees o 8.5, sees action after the first selection won.

You win $200 for risking $160 because both selections were correct.

More If Bet Win-Only Info

Our helpful if bet win-only tutorial offers an in-depth explanation of this bet.

The reference section compares the performance of 2 losing straight bets versus a losing 2-selection if bet win-only.

Hint: A losing if bet win-only is less costly than separate losing straight bets. The if-then sequence ends after the first loss while separate straight bets cannot be canceled.

MLB Baseball Parlay Card Betting

A sportsbook will create a list of run lines, point spreads, totals, or player props from one or more leagues. The list will be printed on paper for in-person betting or found on a sportsbook’s website for online betting.

Your parlay card wins if all your selections win. A tie selection counts as a win if you bet a “ties win” parlay card.

Your parlay card loses if any of your selections lose. It also loses if you bet a “ties lose” parlay card and one of your selections tied.

Sportsbooks offer 3 types of parlay cards. Rules and payouts vary for each:

  • ½ Point Parlay Card (most common)
  • Ties Win Parlay Card
  • Ties Lose Parlay Card

A common parlay card minimum bet is $2. Parlay card maximum bets will be subject to sportsbook approval. Most players bet less than $100 per card. Maximum payout amounts range $100,000 – $200,000.

How to Bet a MLB Baseball Parlay Card

  1. Parlay Cards are readily available at Las Vegas sports books. Bet “off the board” parlays at online sportsbooks.
  2. Review all matchups and player props. Make 3-12 selections. Fill out your card carefully.
  3. Ties are subject to the parlay card’s rules. Ties aren’t possible with ½ point parlay cards.
  4. Return to the sportsbook with your winning receipt or stub to collect winnings. You may also collect your winnings by mail.

More Parlay Card Info

Our parlay card tutorial offers a comprehensive explanation of this popular exotic bet. It also includes an image of a real parlay card. Review each parlay card’s potential payouts. The more selections you make, the more you can win.

Each payout is fixed in advance. Be sure to read the rules. Carefully review minimums for prop bet cards, contingencies for tie bets, and how to claim your winnings.

Important: Parlay cards are like lottery tickets. They must be filled out completely. Bubble-in your selections with a good pencil or pen. Retain the card until all matchups have finished.

Note the redemption mailing address. Winning cards can be mailed in for a return check.

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MLB Baseball Prop Betting

A prop or proposition bet is side bet placed on an event that isn’t dependent on the game’s final outcome.

Common prop bets are for whether a particular event will occur or not. One side of the bet will be “Yes”, the other side “No”. The sportsbook will offer odds for each outcome.

MLB Baseball Season Win Totals
Season win totals are a combination prop and future bet. These bets are available before the season begins.

How to Place a MLB Baseball Prop Bet

  1. Select the game or event from your sportsbook’s list of upcoming matchups.
  2. Each prop bet outcome will have moneyline odds.
  3. Make a selection and bet your desired amount.
  4. Your bet wins if you picked the correct outcome.

Note: Some props cannot be added to parlays.

More Prop Bet Info

Read our expansive prop betting article. These bets are popular with knowledgeable sports handicappers if the numbers are right.

MLB Baseball Grand Salami Betting

The Grand Salami is a prop bet on the combined run total of all games from a given day. Decide whether the total will be over or under the sportsbook’s line.

The Grand Salami is a daily MLB prop bet. It’s available at advanced sportsbooks that service a large crowd of regular sports bettors.

How to Place a MLB Baseball Grand Salami Bet

  1. Visit your sportsbook’s MLB baseball odds page.
  2. Select MLB “Props”, “Specials” or look for the “Grand Salami”.
  3. Decide whether the combined total of all runs scored in today’s games will be over or under the sportsbook’s line

Note: The Grand Salami line usually includes a ½ run to prevent tie bets. See MLB baseball total betting above for further explanation.

MLB Grand Salami Example

In the following example, 125.5 is the Grand Salami line. Odds for over and under are provided to the right of the line. This bet wins or loses just like a single-game over-under total bet.

Grand Salami
Today
Line & Odds
Grand Salami
MLB Daily Run Total
8/02/22
125.5 o -110
125.5 u +120

If the day’s combined run total is 126 or more, all over bettors win. On the other hand, if the day’s combined run total is 125 or fewer, all under bettors win.

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MLB Futures: World Series, National Pennant, American Pennant

2022 World Series Odds

Team
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Astros
Phillies

Case Study: How MLB Futures Odds Work

Futures odds change throughout the season. For example, the likelihood a team will win the World Series varies with their performance. A team on a strong winning streak, likely to make the playoffs, will become a World Series favorite. On the other hand, a team on a losing streak, unlikely to make the postseason, will become a longshot.

2019 Washington Nationals World Series Odds

A great example of how futures odds can fluctuate is from the 2019 season. At the start of the season, the Washington Nationals had the following futures odds to win the World Series:

Opening Day – Washington +1900

This means that at the start of the season, a $100 bet on the Nationals to win the World Series that October would pay $1,900. Not a bad payout, but Washington had a rough start to the season. After starting 17-25, here is where the Nats’ odds stood:

May 25 – Washington +3700

Because of the team’s poor start, Washington had less of a chance to reach the playoffs, which is a vital step to be able to make the World Series. But that wasn’t the low point for the Nats:

June 15 – Washington +5500

Washington didn’t show many signs of improvement, sitting at 32-38 in mid-June, so with less time on the calendar to turn things around, their odds got even longer. But it didn’t stay that way.

August 16 – Washington +2700

The Nats got hot over the summer and were 66-55 in mid-August, bringing the team closer to its preseason projection of potentially being a playoff team.

October 18 – Washington +140

The Nationals not only made the playoffs, but they won the Wild Card game over Milwaukee, beat the Dodgers in the Division Series, and then swept the Cardinals in the National League Championship Series. The Nats were then just slight underdogs against the Houston Astros in the World Series.

MLB Season Win Totals

The season win total is part prop, part future hybrid. The plus and minus values assign odds to either side of the team’s win total line. This bet functions like a total bet. Choose either over or under the sportsbook’s line.

Example Boston Red Sox Season Wins

  • 110.5 u -140
  • 110.5 o +180

This win total line includes ½ games. That means no tie bets are possible.

Options:
Risk $140 to win $100 that the Boston Red Sox win less than 110.5 games. A result of 110 or fewer wins.
Risk $100 to win $180 that the Boston Red Sox win more than 110.5 games. A result of 111 or more wins.

Handicap a team’s MLB win total using its upcoming schedule, likely starters, and any recently drafted players. Remember, you can bet bet under the sportsbook’s line if the win total is too high. If you believe a team is likely to have a losing season, bet under a win total line that looks too high.

MLB Season Win Totals by League

2022 MLB American Season Win Totals
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2022 MLB National Season Win Totals
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Tip

Place small bets. Your money will be tied up until the wager can be graded. This commonly happens at the end of the season. Or, when the team can no longer win enough games to exceed the win line. Then the under wins.

MLB Odds Comparisons

MLB Required Reading