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MLB betting explained: Types of bets, FAQs and where to bet on MLB

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With the growing popularity of sports betting, more and more baseball fans need MLB betting explained to them so they understand how to bet on MLB games.

At its core, betting on baseball isn’t that different from betting on other sports. However, MLB betting strategy and MLB betting guides are a little unique compared to other sports.

MLB betting explained

If you’re in need of a baseball betting explanation or seek MLB betting advice, you’re in the right place.

We’re covering the basics of how to bet on MLB games and all of the different types of betting that take place for baseball games. Whether you need MLB betting explained in full, you’re hoping to clear up some questions you have, or you just want MLB betting tips, we have everything that you need to know.

How does betting on MLB work?

The reason why many fans need MLB betting explained is that MLB betting can be somewhat complex with a lot of different ways to bet. The most common form of betting is simply betting on the winner of a particular game.


The catch is that good teams are rarely given great odds, meaning the payout will be less if you bet on the team that’s expected to win rather than the betting underdog in the game.

Of course, baseball bets can also be made against the spread, which is a common form of betting in other sports as well. At the start of every MLB game, the team that’s favored has a spread of -1.5, which means they need to win the game by at least two runs to cover the spread whereas the underdog can win a bet against the spread by losing the game by one run.

Virtually every baseball game begins with a spread of 1.5 runs, although this can quickly change once a game begins, which is something to remember for anyone doing live betting.

The other common method of betting on a baseball game is to place a bet on the total runs scored in a game. Before every game, there is an expected run total placed on the game by oddsmakers.

Bettors place wagers on whether or not the combined runs by both teams will be over or under that total. Typically, even odds are placed on both the over and the under, although sometimes those odds can be skewed one way or another.


In addition to the most popular forms of betting, there are countless other bets that can be placed on a particular baseball game depending on the sportsbook. There are game props, many based on how many runs are scored or when they are scored.

There are player props based on whether certain players get hits, home runs, or RBIs and whether a pitcher will get the win or record a certain number of strikeouts. Some sportsbooks will also offer alternative spreads or allow bettors to place wagers on the exact score of the game, among countless other bets.

How do you read a baseball betting line?

In a baseball game, it’s common for one team to have a negative moneyline and one team to have a positive moneyline. This is used for betting on the result of the game without any concern to the spread.

The team with the negative moneyline will be the favorite. They will also have a runline of -1.5 at the start of the game, which means they must win by at least two runs if you want to place a bet on them to win against the spread.

Meanwhile, the underdog in the game will have a positive moneyline line. This means the payout is larger if they win because the oddsmakers aren’t expecting them to win. This team will also have a runline of +1.5, meaning they can win a bet against the spread by losing by one run. 

What does runline mean in baseball betting?

The runline in baseball is the same thing as the spread in sports like football or basketball. It helps to even out the odds for both teams by forcing the team that’s favored in the game to win by a certain number of runs in order to be the winning team against the spread (or runline).

Every MLB game begins with one team favored by 1.5 runs. Even if the moneyline odds are even and the game is being treated as a tossup, one team is always favored by 1.5 runs. Of course, once a game begins, the live odds on the runline can change quickly.

For instance, if the team that’s favored by 1.5 runs scores a run in the first inning, the runline could increase to 2.5 or 3.5 runs. This doesn’t impact any pre-game bets, although it matters for bettors who wish to place a wager after the game starts.

What does plus odds mean in MLB betting?

Plus odds in baseball refers to the team that’s an underdog in a certain game. When a team is an underdog and wins a game straight up without taking the spread into account, that bet will typically payout more than the original bet.

For example, if a team has a +150 moneyline, that means that a bet of $100 will payout $150 in profit. This entices bettors to place wagers on teams that are an underdog and less likely to win because they can make a bigger profit if their bet is accurate.

This is actually a common MLB betting strategy because baseball can be such a fickle sport from one day to the next. After all, even bad teams win 60-plus games per season, so picking the right games when those bad teams win a game can be a successful strategy.

How does the moneyline work in baseball betting?

The moneyline in baseball betting works the same as it does in other sports. The moneyline is a bet on what team will win straight up. There are no spreads or other factors; all that matters is what team wins.

Of course, the moneyline for both teams is rarely the same. One team will likely be favored with a negative sign in front of their moneyline, meaning the payout is smaller if you bet on that team and it wins.

For example, if a team has a -175 moneyline, a bettor will need to wager $175 in order to make a $100 profit. On the other side, the other team in that scenario could have a moneyline of +150. Betting $100 on that team will result in a $150 profit if they win. However, that +150 moneyline indicates the team is considered a mild underdog.

Different MLB betting markets 

Depending on the sportsbook, there could be almost countless MLB markets. As mentioned, betting on the moneyline, the runline, and the total runs in a game are the most common types of MLB betting.

However, there are also markets for specific innings, especially whether or not runs will be scored in the first inning. Since baseball is often played in series during the regular season, there are bets on what team will win a three-game series against the other.

Batter and pitcher props are also popular for betting on baseball. For a particular position player, it’s possible to bet on how many hits, home runs, RBIs, runs scored, total bases, stolen bases, singles, doubles, or triples a player will have in a game.

There are similar bets for pitchers. The player props for pitchers involve a pitcher’s strikeouts, outs recorded, runs allowed, hits allowed, walks allowed, and whether or not they will be the winning or losing pitcher in a game.

There is also a futures market in baseball for both teams and players. This is usually popular before the start of a season. However, even during the season, it’s possible to place bets on what team will win each division, what team will win the World Series, what teams will play in the World Series, what teams will make the playoffs, and how many games each team will win during the regular season.

For players’ futures, the bets revolve around what players will win postseason awards and whether a player will reach a certain statistical milestone.

Betting on MLB at FanDuel

Betting on baseball at FanDuel can be an excellent experience for both novice and experienced bettors. In addition to the three basic types of betting, FanDuel offers innings bets, player props, alternative runlines, and countless other game props for every MLB game.

FanDuel also offers a tool that makes it easy for bettors to put together multi-bet parlays on MLB games. There is also an extensive guide for inexperienced bettors who need MLB betting explained in greater detail.

Betting on MLB at BetMGM

BetMGM is an excellent venue for all types of betting, including MLB betting. For each MLB game, the BetMGM sportsbook suggests game props and multi-bet parlays to help introduce new players to these concepts rather than bettors coming up with their own, which they are also able to do.

On the BetMGM site, it’s easy to navigate to various game props and player props in addition to finding the three primary types of baseball betting, making MLB betting as user-friendly as possible.

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