MLB Betting Guide

MLB Betting Guide

Betting on Baseball What is & How Does MLB Work?

Betting on sports is a pastime that many people engage in. Whether they do it for fun or to make a living, sports betting can be rather lucrative. While some people enjoy betting on various sports, others prefer to hone in on one and develop their skill set in that specific field. Major League Baseball has been one of the main backbones for sports betting for many years now. 

Betting has been a part of America’s pastime since the game began to grow in popularity. While it has led to some trouble for players and coaches in the MLB, it is one of the more popular forms of betting amongst the general population. Betting on baseball requires strict attention to numbers because of the various statistics utilized in the sport. 

We will discuss this in more detail in this article. When done properly, betting on baseball can be one of the most enjoyable sports to gamble on. 

Why Bet on MLB?

Betting on baseball is no easy task. It has the most amount of games in the regular season compared to other sports, and even the best teams win around just 60 percent of the time. With that being said, baseball can provide bettors with excellent opportunities to cash in on underdogs. 

In other sports, upsets can prove to be fairly rare. But in baseball, even the worst teams win around 60-70 games. 

Those teams are often the underdogs in their matchups, so they can help bettors cash in on large paydays. Baseball is also different because each team incorporates a five-man pitching staff. So a bad team may have one excellent pitcher starting in a game which could lead the underdogs to victory. Baseball is also unique from an offensive perspective. 

The best hitters in the game get a base hit just 30 percent of the time. 

This tends to lead to frustration from bettors when they choose a team with a strong batting lineup, and the lineup fails to score more than one or two runs. But baseball is fun because it is difficult to predict. It offers chances for surprise and unexpected results. That is why many prefer betting on baseball. 

Is MLB Betting Legal?

In Nevada, betting on any sport is obviously legal. If you live in any other state, you will need to check the state laws on the issue. However, there are a number of legal sports betting websites. 

If you live in a state where betting on sports is banned, there is a chance it may not be for long. Many states are beginning to see the benefits of sports betting, and it is slowly growing in legalization. Legal Sports Reports will provide you with information about the legality of sports betting in your state. 

Baseball Betting History

Betting and baseball have seemed to go hand-in-hand for many years. In fact, owners of teams sought out opportunities to earn a profit from gambling back in the 19th and early 20th century when baseball was first introduced. 

In the year 1919, the Chicago White Sox lost eight players who were involved with a sports betting scandal in the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds

The eight players reportedly threw the series in an effort to gain money from an off-the-field bet. However, they ended up being banned for life from the game once they were deemed guilty of losing on purpose. Baseball’s all-time hitter leader, Pete Rose, is banned from entering the Hall of Fame due to his betting during his time as a manager. There have been plenty of other scandals that have surrounded the sport as well. 

The Roots of MLB Betting

During the early days of the MLB, almost every aspect of the game was gambled on. Whether it revolved around how many hits a team would get, whether a certain player would hit a home run, or simply which team would win the game. Baseball was America’s most popular sport at the time, and a big part of that was the betting aspect. 

This has remained intact even as other sports have grown in popularity, such as football and basketball. MLB offers a unique and entertaining form of gambling which many bettors still appreciate. The early roots of American sports betting stem partially from baseball, which adds to the game’s rich history. 

Online MLB Betting

As is the case in many sports, betting on the MLB online is a popular option. It provides bettors with live odds and lines, and many websites offer promotions and deals for their customers. Betting online also provides people with the chance to check hundreds of different sportsbooks. 

If you bet in a casino or offline, you will likely be limited in the different odds and lines available to you. But betting online allows bettors to look and compare various odds and lines, which can make placing their bets easier. 

One popular form of betting online for baseball is predicting the World Series winner before the season begins. The odds and lines are updated whenever a transaction is made by a team. 

For example, when the New York Mets signed starting pitcher Max Scherzer during the offseason of 2021, their odds to win the World Series increased. If a team loses a star player, they will likely see their odds decrease. Online sportsbooks allow bettors and fans to check those odds in real-time. 

How to Bet on MLB – Betting on Baseball

Moneyline Bet

The moneyline bet is the best option for beginners new to betting on baseball. This bet allows you to simply select the team that you believe is going to win the game. 

The moneyline bet will be set up something like this:

The negative moneyline means that bettors need to put in that much money in order to win $100. So you would need to bet $300 to make $100 if you bet on the Dodgers in the above scenario. 

On the other hand, a positive moneyline indicates the amount of money you can win by putting in just $100. So if a bettor selected the underdog Rockies in the above scenario and their bet came to fruition, they would get their $100 back and make $240 in the process. 

Runline Bet

A runline bet is similar to a point spread in other sports. However, other sports that score more total points will have various numbers when it comes to the spread. Because baseball is a lower-scoring game in general, it utilizes the number 1.5 in the spread. 

So the favorite entering a game would have a runline of -1.5, while the underdog would have +1.5. The favorite would need to win the game by at least two runs in order to have a successful bet. 


The total is the over/under for the total amount of runs scored in a game. So if a total is set at over/under 5.5, the teams playing in the game would need to combine for at least six runs to hit the over. Oftentimes, a lower total will be presented when two good pitchers are on the mound. So if Jacob DeGrom is dueling against Walker Buehler, the total would likely be lower. 

However, if subpar or struggling pitchers are on the mound, that will likely lead to a higher presented total. These are important factors to consider when betting on the total for an MLB game. 

Future Betting

Bettors can make bets before the season begins on a number of different things. The most popular future bet is predicting who will win the American League and National League. 

This allows bettors to calculate a team’s overall talent and moves they made during the offseason and cast a bet on who they believe will make it to the World Series. Of course, they can also check the odds and lines and see who the favorites are to win the pennant. 

Additionally, bettors can also predict who will win certain awards, such as the Cy Young or MVP. 


Parlays are one of the riskiest but more lucrative forms of sports betting. They represent an opportunity to bet on more than one game and combine your bets for one large amount of winnings. 

But if you bet incorrectly on one game, your entire parlay will come crashing down. Parlays tend to be more popular amongst experienced bettors. But they are certainly one of the more exciting, albeit stressful, bets you can make. 

Prop Bets

Prop Bets are minor bets you can make that don’t revolve around picking a winner and whatnot. Instead, you can make a prop bet on how many strikeouts a pitcher will have in a certain game. Or if a certain player will hit a home run. 

They are a lower-stress way of betting on baseball that still provides an opportunity for solid winnings. Prop bets are often utilized by beginners. But even the most experienced bettors will bet on props as well. 

First Five Innings

One other form of betting on the MLB is betting on the first five innings of a game. Since an MLB game lasts at least nine innings, betting on a winner can be difficult with the uncertainty of a bullpen. 

But the first five innings allow bettors to be confident in a team’s starting pitchers and place their bets on which team they believe will hold the lead through the first half of a game. Some teams also tend to score runs earlier in games which can be a statistic utilized by bettors in this category. 

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MLB Betting FAQs

The legality of betting on baseball varies from a state-to-state basis. You will want to research if sports betting is legal in your current location. Also, some states require bettors to be at least 21 years old, while others list the minimum age at 18.

It is important to research information about players and how they have been performing in recent games. If a team has their best pitcher scheduled to start a game, they may be a wise choice to place a bet on.

Many states allow bettors to bet online. However, you will once again want to check your state’s laws and restrictions on the matter.

There is no one best sportsbook. Bettors may want to compare a number of different sportsbooks before placing their wagers. Or, they may find that one sportsbook is more reliable than others. But this is a matter of opinion.

You can bet on baseball anytime during the season or even before the season with futures betting.

Sportsbook odds stem from oddsmakers who research the fight and design the odds and lines in accordance with the game. They are not always perfect, but they do a good job of summarizing the lines and odds.

There are plenty of experts worth listening to when it comes to baseball betting advice. They can be found on various sports websites or even on YouTube if you look up MLB betting advice.

Bettors must first find a legal sportsbook in their state, and then they can choose how much money they want to bet for any given game. And, of course, heading to Vegas and placing a bet is always an option.

ESPN and other sports websites often provide statistics for all sporting events, including baseball. If you google stats and trends online for a certain team or game, you will find results as well.