When I first started betting on baseball I was a fish out of water, had no idea what a run line was or even what the over/under meant. Well if you are new to baseball bets and feel like I did back in the day then you have come to the right guide. Betting lines or odds can be entirely confusing to new bettors and that's why we are breaking down each and every aspect of how to place a MLB bet in this baseball betting guide.
We are going to use an example of a MLB game between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees in order to take you step by step through each possible bet.
Ok so when you go to a typical sportsbook like Bovada, you will comes across a baseball betting line that looks similar to this:
Date - May 5th
Boston Red Sox
O 8.5 (-120)
New York Yankees
U 8.5 (+110)
Lets break down this betting line example bet by bet. The 1st column is simply the date and the baseball games for this day. On a typical day there will be more then one game so they will all be listed under one another. In this example there are 3 different types of possible bets you can make:
Baseball Money Line Betting
The most popular bet in baseball is the Money line where you simply pick the outright winner of the game. Sounds easy enough right? Well there is a catch, sportbooks attach lines to each team to create a favorite and an underdog. Without this you would likely take the favorite every time and the sportsbooks would lose their shirts. So in order to bet the favorite you have to lay "juice", which is the slang term used by most bettors.
Using our line from above; the New York Yankees are favored over the Boston Red Sox:
New York Yankees - 150
To bet on the Yankees, it will cost you $150 to win $100. So if you made that bet of $150 on the Yankees and they win you would collect $100 + the $150 that you initially wagered. You would be up $100 in profit.
On the flip side, let's say you want to go with the underdog Boston Red Sox, which are:
Boston Red Sox +140
If you bet $100 on them to win and they do, you would win $140 plus your original $100 bet back. In this case, you would be up $140 for the underdog upset win.
One thing to keep in mind is the potential to have both teams at minus or in other words you have to lay juice with both teams. This is not uncommon in betting odds, especially in baseball. This usually happens when there is no clear cut favorite or both teams have their ace pitchers on the mound. You could see see a team at -105 and the other at -110. In this case, -110 would be the favorite to win but you are not getting any plus money on the opposing team. You still would have to bet $105 on the underdog to win $100.
MLB Over / Under Betting
If you can’t pick a winner in a game but have a hunch that it will be a pitchers duel or a homerun derby then you will want to look at the over/under total for the game. Over/Under betting allows you to wager on the total runs scored by both teams in a particular game. The oddsmakers set a betting line that represents the total number of combined runs in that particular game. You the place a bet on whether you believe the actual score will be OVER or UNDER that number. Money line odds are attached to the o/u number much like they are for picking the winning team, so in our example:
Boston O 8.5 -120
New York U 8.5 +110
The total runs for the game is set at 8.5. If you bet the OVER which is favored of the two lines, you would need to wager $120 wager to win $100. If you pick the under and win, you would win $110 on a $100 bet.
The biggest factors contributing to the size of the over/under betting line is the starting pitchers and the stadium the game is being played in. For example, any game in Colorado is going to have a huge total around 10 and up due to the fact the ball travels so far in the thin air.
Baseball Runline Betting
Runline betting in baseball is similar to a point spread for a typical NFL game. Basically, the runline represents how many runs the team has to either win by or gets spotted depending on whether you are betting the favorite or the underdog.
So in our example, the runline or point spread listed for the game is a 1.5
Boston +1.5 -140
New York -1.5 +110
The Yankees are favored to win and baseball is a win/lose bet (there are no ties) so the oddsmakers are saying that if you pick the New York Yankees to win on the runline, they need to win by 2 runs or more. On a -1.5 run line, which is the most common option for a point spread in baseball, the team you bet on has to win by two or more runs for you to win.
If you take the underdog Red Sox with +1.5 run line, they could lose the game by one run and still get you a win. Think of it this way, even before the game starts the Red Sox are up 1.5 runs to nothing, they get spotted a run essentially. Where the run line is a bit different than a point spread in say football is that the price of the bet will vary far more than a typical NFL point spread. In our example above, if you bet $100 on the Yankees at -1.5 (+110) you will win $110 provided they win by 2 runs whereas if you bet the Red Sox +1.5 (-140) you have to bet $140 to win $100 but the Red Sox could still lose by a run and win you your bet.
MLB Future Betting
Future bets in baseball are exactly how they sound, you are making a bet now for something that will be settled in the future. The most popular type of MLB future bet is betting on the winner of the world series before the season is complete.
You will get the best odds for your team of choice before the season even starts as obviously it is tougher to predict a winner before seeing any actual live performance. As the season begins and the games go by the odds will slowly decrease as teams start to separate themselves from the pack. If you got a good sense of who might be in the final two for any given year it's best to put a couple bucks on them before the season starts as your odds will be better and you will get a great return on investment (ROI).
Other typical future bets that you can bet on is the American League or National League winner, Division winners and how many games each team will win based on an over/under line.
Future betting is great for casual bettors who typically don't bet everyday, you can place a bet at the beginning of the season and potentially it can be live for the entire year. The odds are typically in your favor as well as there will be big long-shots to take a shot on.
We like Bovada for MLB Future betting as they have their lines posted really early and have many options available for individual team bets.
This is the current baseball world series outright winner odds as of February 2018. Click on image to check out live odds as they are subject to change.