OddsTrader allows baseball fans to keep up with live MLB odds all season long. If you’re new to sports betting, you can learn how to read MLB odds below. We also help you keep up with moneyline odds, runline odds, props, and parlays. Also, bet smarter with stats-driven MLB computer picks.
Reading an odds table for the first time can feel like reading a different language and that’s because it is. For a new sports bettor, reading and understanding odds may even be impossible.
We’ll teach you how to bet on MLB games, how to properly analyze MLB betting odds, dive into baseball’s betting nomenclature, increase your chances of winning your bets and ultimately grow your bankroll. By the end of this guide, if you don’t feel confident and still not ready to make the right picks, our MLB computer picks page can grow your potential profits. But before you place your first MLB bet at an online sportsbook, let’s go over what the baseball gambling sharks already know.
MLB, like other sports, odds are commonly expressed in three different ways:
American odds are the most common format used by top US sportsbooks. Odds start with either a minus (-) or a plus (+) and are always a whole number (-135, +150, +250, -325, etc.)
The odds indicate how much you need to bet, which team is the underdog and which team is favored to win.
To calculate the payout for odds of -175, simply apply the following formula.
Again, for negative numbers, the value of the odds tells you how much you need to wager to win $100. In this scenario, we need to risk $175 to win $100.
The positive odds are very easy to calculate. The odds represent how much you’ll win if you bet $100. In this example, we win $165. To calculate the payout for odds of +165, simply use the following formula:
Used primarily in Ireland and the United Kingdom, fractions represent the profit you would receive for a successful bet. The following is the formula for calculating the profit for the fractional odds of 4/1.
Decimal odds are the most common format used by European sportsbooks. As the name implies, they are decimal numbers and always positive.
Below is the formula for calculating the return and profit for decimal odds of 1.59.
So…what’s the difference between profit and return?
The leading online sportsbooks offer 200+ MLB betting options in an individual baseball game. Commonly placed MLB bets include:
This is the most straightforward way to bet on an MLB game. It’s a prediction on which team wins the baseball game.The sportsbooks assess the two teams, determine an underdog and a favorite, and then release the moneyline odds. For example:
In this example, the New York Yankees are the favorite. A $100 bet on the New York Yankees would earn you a $74.07 profit if they won the game, whereas a $100 bet on the Tampa Bay Rays would earn you a $126 profit.
The runline is the closest thing you will find to a “point spread” in the baseball gambling world. The standard runline is 1½ runs, which is what we will focus on in the following:
In this example, the sportsbooks have decided that the Los Angeles Dodgers are the stronger team. You have two options:
In this example, a $100 bet on the Los Angeles Dodgers would earn you a $105 profit if they won the game, whereas a $100 bet on the Los Angeles Angels would earn you a $86.96 profit.
This is another popular MLB bet. You just need to estimate how many runs will be scored in a baseball game. The MLB sportsbooks will release a total runs line on each game.
If you expect the Milwaukee Brewers and the New York Mets to combine for at least 8 runs, you can bet on over. If you believe the game will see 8 runs or fewer, you should bet on under.
There will be a standard total run line, but you will also find alternate total run lines (usually valued at around -110 odds.) They allow you to move the line up or down, which changes the odds. You will also find alternate run lines for both baseball teams.
MLB prop bets provide you with hundreds of additional betting opportunities on any given baseball game. Prop bets focus on a proposition – whether something will happen during a game – and they are not usually tied to the result. Prop bets in baseball often fall into two distinct categories:
Player props concentrate on individual performance stats. You can bet on the total number of walks, singles, doubles, triples, homeruns, strikeouts, etc. You can also bet on the following popular metrics:
Game props might include betting on the highest scoring inning or first five innings, or whether the game goes into extra innings. You can also bet on the following game props:
Sportsbooks release MLB futures odds on a range of markets in-sea before the season begins. These odds update often and will be available to bet on throughout the season. These are often season-long or playoff-long wagers, which do not depend upon the result of a single baseball game.
Examples of MLB futures bets include:
The odds on these markets change over the length of the season, depending upon how well or poorly the teams are playing.
You can also bet on a specific inning or on the first five innings of a baseball game. Sportsbooks release the same key betting options – spreads, totals, money lines and props – on innings and first five innings within a game. See the following for an example of a “first five innings” bet:
In this example, the Chicago Cubs are the favorite. A $100 bet on the Chicago Cubs would earn you a $69.93 profit if they won the game, whereas a $100 bet on the San Diego Padres would earn you a $125 profit. At the end of five innings, if the game is still tied, the wager is canceled and you’ll get your money back (if you bet moneyline.)
A parlay bet lets you combine predictions on multiple games into a single wager. For example, let’s say you like these four bets:
If you combined them into a four-team $100 parlay, you would earn a profit of $1,582. The winnings from each leg roll over onto the next leg, meaning the profit compounds inside the parlay, leading to large payouts. However, if one leg fails, the parlay fails and you lose the bet.
Alternative options include:
MLB betting sites allow you to keep betting on games after they have started. This type of betting is also known as “live betting” because moneylines, the runlines, total points lines, props, and alternate lines will refresh as the game goes.
You can continue betting until close to the game ending, but make sure to do your research, you don’t want to be betting based on emotion or you’ll quickly drive your bankroll down towards $0.
Let’s say for example the Cincinnati Reds are playing the Arizona Diamondbacks and the odds to start the game are:
In the top of the 8th inning with two outs in the inning, the odds have adjusted to reflect the current score (diamondbacks are the favorite to win at -270 odds, pre game odds were -133.)
Since the teams’ season is divided into many series of consecutive games against the same opponent, you can also wager on the winner of the series.
You can bet on MLB games legally in many different states, including Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. The list of states where sports gambling is legal will continue to grow and it’ll be available nearly nationwide. Just make sure you sign up with a licensed online sportsbook such as DraftKings, BetMGM, FanDuel, PointsBet, or Caesars Sportsbook.
The best MLB betting sites include DraftKings, BetMGM, FanDuel, and Caesars Sportsbook. If you are looking for a broad variety of bets and useful features, Fanduel is a great option, while BetMGM is the best for bonuses and odds boosts.
BetMGM, FanDuel, and DraftKings are the top ranked sportsbook apps for MLB betting. They all have very high average ratings on Google Play and the App Store.
You can bet on MLB games by downloading a sports betting app or visiting an online sportsbook website. OddsTrader allows you to compare the odds at the country’s leading sportsbooks, ensuring you maximize your potential profits each week. You can browse a range of betting options, including totals, moneylines, run lines, either for the full game or for a specific inning or first five innings.
For most people it takes years of experience to perfect the art of betting on the MLB. At the start of the baseball season, establish your bankroll (set an amount of money you’d like to bet with.)Sports gambling professionals are very disciplined at managing their bankroll. This helps them stay in the game and not run out of money if they go on a losing streak.
Before placing a bet, make sure to do your research, here’s some ideas of things to look at:
There are many things you should consider before placing a bet on an MLB game. Amongst these things are:
Rule number one of handicapping sports. Never place a bet unless you know who’s playing. This might seem obvious but who’s active for the game has a massive impact on the odds. So much so that when the game day status of key players like an all star starting pitcher are unknown most sportsbooks will not release the odds to the public.
The consensus generally refers to which team the majority of the public are placing bets on. It’s not uncommon for popular teams to receive 80% or more of the wagers. This can cause problems for the sportsbooks and opportunities for handicappers who know how to take advantage of these situations.
MLB games are heavily influenced by weather and altitude. When the weather is deemed severe, games are often canceled or postponed for another day. A game being canceled isn’t a major deal as any money wagered on the game is refunded. Rain, altitude, temperature, humidity and wind (wind strength and direction) can have a major impact on runs scored in a baseball game.
It means that an MLB team is a 3.5-run underdog in the spread betting market. If you bet on that team to cover the spread, they must win the game or lose by up to 3 runs for the bet to pay off.
The run line is a form of spread bet. Because baseball is a lower scoring game than basketball or football (like hockey and soccer), so you will not find a high point spread.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are currently the favorite to win the 2022 World Series (odds at +400).
You can bet on baseball online in a variety of states including Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming. Sportsbooks offer websites and mobile apps for MLB and college baseball bettors.
Yes, you can bet on non-baseball sports online in the same states listed above! The most popular sports to bet on are NBA, NFL, and college sports like NCAAB and NCAAF. You can also bet on the following sports: