MLB Betting Guide

How to bet on baseball, apps and futures betting

Play ball! From Opening Day through the completion of the World Series, that phrase will be uttered countless times across the nation. Before that happens each and every day, sports bettors have their chance to weigh in on what will transpire on the diamond.

MLB Betting is a massive part of the sports wagering pie. Back in 2018, a study from the American Gaming Association estimated that legal sports betting would result in a revenue boost to MLB of a whopping $1.1 billion.

That’s outstanding news for the continued growth of the game, and also a great sign for sports bettors.

For now, let’s focus on what we have in front of us. From single-game bets to props, baseball futures to live betting, you’ll find a wealth of opportunities each day of the MLB season. Let’s take a closer look at everything you need to know, starting with how you can use your Android or iPhone to get in on the baseball betting online action.

Best MLB betting sites

Having a legal and regulated sportsbook at your fingertips is no longer just a pipe dream. It’s the real deal. There are a number of websites and apps you can use for MLB betting online, including our top choices below.

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Signing up for each of these sportsbooks is a breeze. Simply click on our exclusive links to take advantage of the bonus offers. From there, you’ll go through a simple sign-up process which will prompt you to enter some basic information.

After that’s all set, look for the mobile download links for iPhone / iPad and Android, which are typically located at the bottom of the main website. Follow the instructions for your device, sign in on mobile, and you’ll be all set.

The apps are intuitive and easy to use. You’ll be able to perform all of the same functions on mobile as you can on the web, such as browsing the lobby, placing bets, and adding or removing funds.

It’s tough to compete with the convenience of betting on mobile, and you’ll quickly understand why once you have messed around with the apps for a bit.

One note to keep in mind: you may be prompted to enable geolocation tracking software to use the app. This is standard procedure and nothing to worry about. In a nutshell, the software helps sportsbooks confirm you are located within state lines before placing bets.

If you’re out of state, you can still manage your account via the app. Just know that you’ll have to be back within the borders in order to place your wagers.

MLB betting odds

As with all of the major sports, baseball betting odds may seem a bit confusing at first glance. However, once you understand the nuances and go over it a couple of times, you’ll find it’s not so intimidating after all. Let’s walk through what you need to know.

How to read MLB betting lines

Whenever you come across a sport you’re unfamiliar with, start with the basics and work your way out. There’s no reason to get bogged down with advanced bets just yet. There will be plenty of time for that, and we’ll go over what you need to know there as well.

For now, understand the three main components of baseball betting lines.

  • Moneyline: This is the most common MLB wager. You’re simply choosing who you like to win the game, and that’s it. Favorites will be represented by a negative odds value, while underdogs will have positive odds attached.
  • Run Line: In lieu of a point spread, oddsmakers will place a run line on each game. It’s typically set at 1.5. For the favorite, you’ll see a -1.5, while it’ll be +1.5 for the underdog. In both cases, the side you choose has to cover the 1.5 run margin.
  • Totals: Also known as Over/Unders, totals betting revolves around the total runs scored in the game. Oddsmakers set the bar, and bettors decide if they like it to go Over or Under. A potential pitching duel could have a total of 6.5 runs, while a potential slugfest could be set at 9.5 runs or higher.

How to bet on MLB online

Now that we understand how to read the lines, let’s take a look at some examples for each of the bet types.

Moneyline betting in baseball

Each and every day during the season, you can quickly get a handle on who is expected to win by taking a look at MLB moneyline odds.

  • Boston Red Sox +100
  • Houston Astros -120

In the above example, the Astros are expected to win the game. If you place a $100 bet at odds of -120 and they do so, you’ll get back $183.30 – your initial stake plus a return of $83.30.

If you like the Red Sox to win and they make it happen, a $100 bet at odds of +100 will return $200 – the $100 bet plus a profit of $100.

Run line betting in baseball

Each game will also have a run line attached to it that’s typically set at 1.5.

  • San Francisco Giants +1.5 (-110)
  • Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5 (-110)

If you place a bet on the Dodgers, they’ll need to win the game by a margin greater than 1.5 runs. For bets on the Giants, they can lose the game and you can still have a winning bet if they keep the margin less than 1.5 runs.

Odds on run lines are generally in range on both sides of the equation and will move based on market action, just like what you’ll find in point spread-based betting in other sports.

Totals betting in baseball

If you want to get a sense of which games may be high- or low-scoring, then check out the MLB totals odds.

  • Over 8.5 (-110)
  • Under 8.5 (-110)

Let’s say the above line applies to a game between the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees. Oddsmakers have set the benchmark, and you now have to decide if you think the total runs scored will be Over or Under that number.

Once again, odds will be in range on both sides of the equation, but they will shift based on market action.

Other types of popular MLB bets

In addition to those three basic bet types, there are a number of other ways to bet on MLB.

Here are some of the more popular choices and examples for each.

First five inning betting in baseball

This is an MLB bet type which has gained a good deal of traction in recent years. As opposed to picking the winner of the whole game, you’re simply choosing who you think will be ahead after the first five innings.

  • Minnesota Twins +105
  • Oakland Athletics -115

As the oddsmakers see it, Oakland is more likely to be leading after the first five innings are in the books. MLB first five inning betting has grown in popularity as it theoretically takes bullpens out of the equation and allows bettors to focus on the starting pitching matchup.

Alternate run line betting in baseball

As opposed to the traditional 1.5 run line, MLB alternate run line betting allows you to shift the line to something you find more attractive.

  • New York Mets +2.5
  • Washington Nationals -2.5

Naturally, the odds and potential return will shift when you place wagers on these alternate lines. However, it’s also an interesting tool to boost potential returns on heavy favorites or to gain extra insurance on underdogs.

Innings betting in baseball

Series Futures BettingThis is a quick turnaround wager which typically revolves around whether or not a run will be scored in the first inning.

  • Yes +115
  • No -145

If you have a good feel for how teams start off – as well as how well the opposing hurlers fare in the early going – then MLB innings betting may be a good area for you to focus on.

MLB Series betting

The MLB season can be a grind, and anything can happen on a daily basis as a result. For those who want to have more control over that variable, consider MLB Series betting in which you’ll be picking the overall winner of full sets of games.

  • Philadelphia Phillies +130
  • Atlanta Braves -120

In the above example, let’s say these two NL East rivals are playing a three-game set in Atlanta. You expect the Braves to win the series overall, but you wouldn’t be surprised if the Phillies took a game. You can place a bet on Atlanta to win the series. As long as they win two of the three games, you have a winning ticket.

MLB futures betting

A futures bet is a wager you’ll place on an event that has yet to happen, such as a Cy Young or MVP award winner. When betting futures in baseball, the World Series is a popular choice.

  • New York Yankees +350
  • Los Angeles Dodgers +400
  • Houston Astros +600

And so on. There will be odds listed for each team as long as they remain in contention. These bets can be great for those who have a knack for spotting dark horse contenders, as well as for bettors who have a fantastic feel for how the season will play out.

MLB Futures Betting World Series

While predicting the winner of the upcoming World Series is the most popular facet of MLB futures betting, the opportunities don’t end there. Sportsbooks will offer markets for a number of different events that attract betting interest, including:

  • League MVP Awards
  • League Cy Young Awards
  • League Rookie of the Year Awards
  • AL Pennant Winner
  • NL Pennant Winner
  • Division Title Winners
  • Playoff Qualifiers
  • Team Win Totals

The MLB futures betting market makes for a great way to get a handle on the general perception of teams and players. This can be especially useful heading into the season as you get a refresher on how to bet and begin to place your single-game wagers.

Prop betting in baseball

In addition to all of the above game wagering opportunities, you’ll also find a slew of side bets for each game on the docket. MLB prop bets can be player- or team-based. They revolve around something that may happen during the course of the game.

  • Total Runs Scored in First Three Innings – Over/Under 2.5
  • Team to Score First Run in Game
  • Winning Side plus Margin of Victory
  • Total Number of Runs, Hits, and Errors by Side
  • How Many Strikeouts will Stephen Strasburg have? Over/Under 7.5
  • Will Aaron Judge hit a Home Run?
  • Who will have more Total Bases – Mookie Betts or Paul Goldschmidt?
  • Will Either Side Hit a Triple?

MLB prop bets open up a whole new world of possibilities. Those who have a real good read on team-based metrics can find success, as can those who have a fantasy baseball mindset.

MLB win totals explained

While the futures market remains active year-round, it can be a little slow in the offseason. However, interest kicks back up several notches when MLB win totals are released.

Sportsbooks will place an estimated number of wins on each team, and bettors can then decide if they like the team to go Over or Under that amount.

  • New York Yankees 101.5
  • Los Angeles Dodgers 100.5
  • Houston Astros 96.0

Win totals will be listed for all 30 MLB teams. As you would expect, odds will fluctuate on the Over/Under based on market action, as well as based on how the teams perform during the season. MLB win totals are a fantastic way to remain engaged all season long.

How MLB live betting works

Also known as in-play betting, this is one of the most popular advancements in sports betting in recent years. These are wagers you can place after the action has gotten underway. Odds and markets move fast here, and opportunities will vary. Here’s a sampling of what you may see.

  • Outcome of Next At-Bat
  • Race to a Number of Runs – i.e. first team to reach 3 runs etc.
  • Over/Under on Total Hits in Game
  • How many Pitches for Next Inning of Play?
  • Outright Winner of Game

When it comes to MLB Live Betting, mobile apps are a must. These are fast-moving markets in which appealing opportunities can pop up in an instant. As always, use discretion and only select the wagers you feel most comfortable with.

MLB baseball betting trends

Anytime you’re handicapping a game, it should be treated as an event in and of itself. That means priority is given to the matchup at hand, starting pitching matchup, recent play, and other facets that you deem important.

That said, taking a look at MLB betting trends can also be helpful. Here are a few of the things you’ll want to check out.

  • Historical Head-to-Head Record for the two teams
  • Team record vs. opposing pitcher
  • Team Record on Over/Under for season-to-date
  • Team Record vs. Run Line for the year
  • Home/Away splits for moneyline, run line, and totals
  • Record in Last 10 games for both teams
  • Ballpark factors on Over/Under
  • Day/Night splits for moneyline, run line, and totals

There are times when checking out the above information will produce nothing of value, but there are also plenty of spots in which you’ll find nuggets of information that you can use to your advantage.

What is Public Betting?

Pro oddsmakers are very good at what they do, and sportsbooks aren’t in the business of giving money away to bettors. As a result, having a sense of which way the winds are blowing in terms of public betting interest can be helpful.

There are a few main ways that you can get a handle on the overall public sentiment for a game. First up, pay attention to line moves from the time they are released until the time you place your bets.

Have there been any significant moves in the odds or total? If so, first see if it has anything to do with injuries, lineup changes, starting pitcher questions, or weather factors. If not, then there’s a good chance a good deal of action came in on one side of the equation.

Once you determine the direction of the move, you can gain a sense of which side is being backed more heavily. For example, if oddsmakers make the odds on the Under more favorable than what’s on the Over, a lot of Over bets on the total may have come in.

Next, there are sites out there that track public betting action in percentage form. Keep in mind that sites such as these are not checking every single book out there, but most are checking more than a few.

If nothing else, it’s a good way to get a temperature read on the day’s games. Last but not least, there are plenty of prognosticators out there who freely share their picks on the day’s games.

Once you have a good sense of the consensus on a slate of games, you can then pick your spots and see where there may be a good place to employ a contrarian approach – i.e. betting against the public. After all, the public betting community isn’t always right.

Daily fantasy baseball

DFS apps for MLB bettingThere are tons of devoted fantasy baseball players who track their team’s performance all season long as they try to win their leagues. While that’s fun and all, daily fantasy baseball takes the enjoyment to a whole other level.

DFS MLB affords users the opportunity to play whenever they want. There are no rosters to manage or waivers to worry about. Just simply pick a lineup you like whenever you play while staying under the salary cap.

Even better, users enter their lineups in contests where they have a chance to win real prizes. The two biggest operators in the industry, DraftKings and FanDuel, both offer major tournaments with some eye-popping top prizes. You can compare DraftKings and FanDuel here to see how each site stacks up for fantasy baseball.

There are other ways to play as well, including 50/50s and head-to-heads. You’ll find all of the different contest types at various buy-in points for all budgets. Signing up for an account is a breeze, and DFS MLB is legal in more than 40 states across the US to boot.

For those looking for a different way to play, Monkey Knife Fight is a newer player on the scene which has gained a good deal of traction. The site offers a game style which can best be described as a hybrid of DFS and prop betting.

As opposed to lineups and salary caps, users simply find the choices they find to be most appealing and play away at the buy-in point that corresponds with their comfort level.

Spring Training, Regular Season and Playoffs

For the 2020 MLB season, here are some of the key dates to keep in mind.

  • February 11: Pitchers and Catchers begin reporting for spring training.
  • February 16: Position players start reporting to camp.
  • February 22: Spring training games begin
  • March 26: Opening Day
  • July 14: MLB All-Star Game
  • September 27: Final Day of Regular Season
  • September 29: MLB Postseason begins
  • October 20: Tentative date for Game 1 of 2020 World Series

From February through October, you will have plenty of opportunities for MLB online betting. There are some important points to consider for each portion of the schedule.

MLB Spring Training 2020

In comparison to the regular season, there’s just not much betting action on spring training games due to the unpredictable nature. However, that hasn’t prevented MLB from frowning upon it anyway. League offices have actually encouraged books to stop offering lines on these games, but that hasn’t deterred operators.

First-Half of MLB Regular Season 2020

The MLB regular season is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be preseason favorites who start off slow and projected also-rans who get off to blazing hot beginnings. Consult MLB win totals for a guide on projections heading in, and then pay close attention to momentum once the games that matter begin.

Second-Half of MLB Regular Season 2020

After the All-Star break, we should have a good sense of which teams are for real and those who are not. As always, matchups rule the day, but continue to keep a close eye on hot and cold streaks. This can also be a great time for contrarian thinking as you scout out potential upsets.

MLB Postseason 2020

By the time we get here, we’re dealing with the class of the sport for the season at hand. There are bettors who love the MLB playoffs and others who shy away and feel there’s not enough of an edge. Starting pitching and bullpen matchups become even more critical this time of year.

For betting purposes, remember the adage about the MLB season being a marathon as opposed to a sprint. You’ll have plenty of chances to make your move, but you can also pace yourself to stay in the race all season long.

Key baseball betting tips

When it comes to betting on sports, it’s always a good idea to have a clear game plan. It’s the same with baseball betting. For starters, normal handicapping rules apply: matchup, momentum, and trends are among the things you’ll want to check out.

Digging even deeper, there are some specific MLB betting systems that have proven to be quite popular. Here are a few that you can consider adding to your repertoire.

Don’t go too heavy with huge favorites

Everyone likes a sure thing, but is it really that great of a deal when you’re only getting odds of -200 or more? There will be spots during the season where these bets make the most sense for a slate of games, but finding better value will have a bigger impact on your bottom line. Pay close attention to the games in which the favorite has odds under -150 and pick your spots.

Underdog betting can be quite profitable

This one comes with a big caveat: Don’t just randomly bet on plus-money underdogs and expect to turn a profit. They’re underdogs for a reason, and they’ll lose more than their fair share of games as a result. However, a strategic approach of spotting upsets ripe for the picking – even pitching matchup, team momentum – can lead you to some nice returns.

Shop for the best lines

Moneyline betting is a huge focus for MLB, but not all lines are created the same. For example, the Chicago Cubs could be the consensus favorite over the visiting Milwaukee Brewers. At one book, you find odds of -140 on the Cubs side, while another has them listed at -130. Such a seemingly small number may not seem like a lot, but it can absolutely add up over the course of a season.

It’s important to remember that there isn’t one single fail-proof MLB betting system. However, if you understand several and look for spots where they can be implemented correctly, then you could be on the path towards more winning tickets.


What is futures betting in baseball?

A futures wager is a bet that’s placed on an event that has yet to happen. For Major League Baseball, popular markets include the winner of the next World Series and players who might win MVP or Cy Young awards.

What does action mean in betting?

An ‘action’ bet means that your wager will be live even if there’s a change in starting pitcher from what was originally announced.

What happens to my bet if a game is suspended?

This will vary based on the sportsbook you are playing on, so consult the official rules for clarification. As a general rule of thumb, games with a clear winner after five innings will be considered official if the game is called due to weather.

What does f5 mean in baseball betting?

This refers to bets which revolve around which team will come out on top after the first five innings of play. Wagers of this type have been rising in popularity as they reduce the bullpen impact on the outcome of a game from a betting perspective.

How do round robins work?

A round robin bet allows users to select a group of teams and then make parlay bets with different combinations on the same betting ticket. For example, you could choose eight MLB teams as the base for the ticket and then make parlay combinations that include two to four of those teams.

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