Baseball Betting Guide


Watching baseball is one of the oldest American past times since the MLB (Major League Baseball) organization was founded in 1903. Ever since then, betting on baseball has been a popular hobby as it is a great way to add some excitement to a game that has quite a lot of downtime involved. Even though the MLB is the dominant force in the world of baseball betting, there are still numerous other baseball leagues around the world that you can place bets on such as the Japanese, Mexican, and Korean leagues.

Baseball is a lot like other sports in that the weather causes many different game conditions to change. The humidity, temperature, and wind are all variables that can be responsible for making it harder or easier to hit the baseball. The hotter it is, the thinner the air becomes which allows the ball to travel further than usual. The less humidity there is, the thicker the air becomes which makes it harder for the ball to fly far.

Sometimes extremely inclement weather can also cause a game to become delayed or postponed so no matter which bet type you choose to make on a baseball game you should be checking the weather for that day. Speaking of bet types, let’s take a closer look at all of the possible options you have as a baseball bettor so that you will have a clearer understanding of what to do when you are in a sportsbook staring at a literal wall of potential options.

Moneyline Bets in Baseball

One of the most basic bets you can make in baseball is a moneyline bet where you just have to pick which team is going to win the game with the most runs scored. That’s it, it’s really that easy! The public generally chooses the favorite team in these types of bets even though baseball leads all major sports in underdog win percentage at 42.3% of games.

The team that is favored to win usually has negative odds listed next to their name which indicates how much money you need to bet to profit $100. For example, if the New York Mets are playing the LA Dodgers and the moneyline odds on the Mets are -140 then this means you will need to wager $140 in order to profit $100 from the Mets winning the game.

The underdog team will always be listed with positive odds next to their team name and this number lets you know how much money you will profit if you wager $100. If the Padres are listed as a +240 underdog against the Yankees then this means you will need to wager $100 in order to profit $240 when the Padres win the contest.

5-Inning Bets in Baseball

Most sportsbooks will allow you to make baseball bets that apply to just the first 5 innings of the game. This type of bet can come in handy if you do not have time to watch the entire game or you simply are not interested in doing so.

A 5-inning bet can also be useful if you really like the starting pitcher that a team is trotting out that day but you do not like the bullpen behind him. Just be aware of the fact that the payout odds on a team starting a really good pitcher will be skewed in their favor pretty heavily in a 5-inning bet so your payout will not be very high in comparison to betting that team for the entire game.

Totals Bets in Baseball

Sometimes you just know a baseball game will be high-scoring but you are not sure which team will win in the end. For moments like these, there are totals bets where you can bet on how many runs will be scored in any given game. This is the second most popular way to bet on baseball behind only the moneyline bet.

The way a totals bet works is that sportsbooks will generally give a line which represents the number of runs they think will be scored on average and then you choose whether the actual score will be over or under that line. If the score of the game adds up to the exact same number as the totals line, then the bet is a push and you will receive your bet back.

The payout odds for a totals bet in baseball is generally set between -120 and EVEN, which is not a very wide range at all. If a specific game is set at -120 odds for the over side of the totals bet then you will need to wager $120 to win $100 profit on that selection if the score goes over the totals line. If the odds are set at EVEN then if you bet $100 you will profit $100 when you win which makes it a completely fair bet.

Runline Bets in Baseball

A runline bet is a lot like a spread bet in football except the spread for a game that has not started yet will always be set at -1.5/+1.5. There are sometimes alternate lines that you can bet on before the game starts such as +4.5/-4.5 runs, but the payout odds for each will be noticeably different.

Live betting on runlines after the game has already started is popular in baseball and there will be many different numbers presented as the runlines in that format. However, it is good to be aware that the payout odds you receive on a live bet will be noticeably worse than what you would receive with the same runline numbers before the game starts.

If you make a wager on the team that is favored with a -1.5 runline then you need that team to win the game by at least 2 runs in order to win the bet. If you instead decide to pick the underdog which receives a +1.5 point handicap then you need that team to either lose the game by 1 point or win the game outright in order for you to win your bet. Since there is no way to score half of a point in baseball there is no way to push on these bets, you will always lose or win money as the outcome.

Parlays in Baseball

A parlay is when you combine two or more selections into one bet where every single selection you choose has to be a winner in order for the bet to payout. If you pick 13 teams and only 12 of them win, you will receive $0 for your efforts but the major compromise here is that the payouts are massive when you actually pick every selection correctly.

The most popular way to make a baseball parlay is with a moneyline bet but it can be done with runline bets and totals bets as well if you are feeling extra frisky. The more teams you pick, the higher the payout will be if the bet wins and if you make a parlay with a lot of legs that includes mostly underdogs your payout will be even more insane due to the positive odds each one is getting. If you are going to pull off such a high-variance stunt anywhere it might as well be in baseball which has the most underdog victories over the last five years compared to any other major sport.

Futures Bets in Baseball

You don’t need a crystal ball to see what might happen in the future anymore since Vegas oddsmakers are constantly offering odds on who will win the next big upcoming baseball games. Even though it is towards the end of the regular season you can still find futures bets available for which team will win their division, which team will win their league pennant, and which team will win the World Series.

Futures bets are usually available before the season even starts and the odds are constantly being updated to reflect who the true favorites are. Just keep in mind that anytime you make a futures bet your money will be held in limbo until the actual event takes place, which could be months from now.

Prop Bets in Baseball

There are two different types of prop bets in baseball, the team prop bet and the player prop bet. A team prop bet will ask you to predict whether the entire team will accomplish a certain feat by the end of the game while the player prop will ask you to predict just one specific player’s achievements. The exact prop bets that are offered will vary greatly from sportsbook to sportsbook so don’t be afraid to shop around a little bit before you decide what to bet on.

A player prop will usually pit one player against another player and ask you to choose which one will get more hits, home runs, bases, etc. If you are live-betting, then player props can be even more specific since they will allow you to bet on things such as whether or not you think a player will strike out or get a hit in a specific at-bat.

Some online sportsbooks such as Bovada will allow you to wager on a baseball team prop that asks you to predict how many total hits, runs and errors a team will score. They will present you with a line, usually between 25 and 35, and you must choose whether you think the total sum of hits, runs, and errors will go over or under this amount. This type of team prop really is a great way to enjoy a baseball game without having to root for one side or the other.