How Baseball Betting Works
If you didn’t know or aren’t sure about all the workings of betting on baseball, then you came to the right place. In this article, I will be describing to you all of the different ways you can bet on baseball as well as the different sportsbooks you should take a look at to bet as efficiently as possible. After reading this I guarantee you will have the confidence to approach any baseball game with the knowledge of a veteran bettor. Let’s get to it.
Moneylines are easily the most common way to bet on baseball. You just pick the team you believe will win and pay the spread as follows. There are times when you will see drastic differences between the moneyline of an underdog and a favorite, which simply means one team is that much better bet than the other. Quick example of a MLB moneyline:
San Diego Padres +300
Los Angeles Dodgers -325
In this game, the Dodgers are considered heavy favorites over the Padres. That means you will have to put down $325 to bet on the Dodgers in order to win $100. In turn, to bet for the Padres you need to bet $100 in order to receive a $300. The reward is definitely higher, but so is the risk. Oddsmakers make the odds balanced, so there is equal betting on both sides. So, if they notice that betting is leaning heavily on the Dodgers side they will continue to spread the difference until the betting becomes more balanced.
A 5-Inning line is similar to the Moneyline, but instead of determining the winner after the whole game you are betting who will be ahead after five innings. This is equivalent to determining who will be ahead at halftime of a basketball or football game. The factor taken into account in these spreads is the starting pitching matchup because starters are more likely to have a lasting impact on a game’s first five innings over the entire game.
These are the second most common way of betting in sports and is also known as over/under. This allows the bettor to wager on what the total runs scored between the home and away team. You have probably seen it multiple times, but in case you haven’t here is an example:
Los Angeles Dodgers/San Diego Padres Over 8.5 (+105)
Los Angeles Dodgers/San Diego Padres Under 8.5 (-125)
In this example, you can see that the game’s total is favored to end at 8 runs or lower combined. This means you must pay $125 to get $100. A lot of factors play into these odds which makes it that much more enticing for bettors.
A runline is similar to betting on the spread of a basketball or football game, where you often see a spread of -4 or -5 (the favorite must win by 4 or 5 points). In baseball, the runline is usually either -1.5 or -2.5, which means the favorite must win by 2 of 3 to cover the spread. This is what a normal runline looks like:
San Diego Padres +300 +1.5 (+140)
Los Angeles Dodgers -325 -1.5 (-160)
Often with runline betting, the odds makers look to make the wagering closer to 1:1 then moneyline that way bettors are taking a much lesser risk. In this example, the Dodgers have a runline of -1.5 with -160 odds, which means you only need to risk $160 to win $100 instead of the $325 for the moneyline. At this point it all depends on which line you feel more comfortable with and which you feel requires the least amount of risk.
One of the more uncommon ways of sports betting is the alternate runlines. Alternate runlines are exactly as they sound; they are runlines that are reversed. This adds more risk, but more reward as it makes the underdogs favorites and the favorites underdogs. The example below will explain with the moneyline, runline and alternate runline shown:
Moneyline Runline Alternate Runline
San Diego Padres +300 +1.5 (+140) -1.5 (+330)
Los Angeles Dodgers -325 -1.5 (-160) +1.5 (-340)
If you have a lot of confidence in an underdog that is exactly what you use the alternate runline for in order to get the most payout for your pick. As seen above, with the Padres being overwhelming underdogs you only need to pay $100 to win $330, but they must beat the surging Dodgers by at least two runs. Always a catch of course.
Season and Future Wins
The final type of wagering you can make in baseball is the future and season wins. These bets are usually always made before the season starts, but because of the long wait needed for these to make profit they aren’t as popular. An example of a future win bet would be whether a team makes the playoffs, wins the division or wins the World Series. You will often see lines on World Series odds made before spring training and gradually change throughout the season.
A season win wager is similar to a totals bet, but instead you are betting on what a team’s win total for the season will be. These odds usually stick around -110, but can be adjusted to how the sportsbooks see fit.
If you have ever visited a betting site you probably noticed that there are multiple lines for each game. This is because there are different sportsbooks to pick from. One of the most important things you need to focus on when deciding which sportsbook to go with you must make sure that they are offering dimeline odds. This means that the difference in odds between a favored and underdog team will always be 10 cents. For example, if the favorite is given -130 odds, then the underdog will have odds +120.
It is in the sportsbooks favor to make sure the odds aren’t too far apart or else the bet line will lean heavily on the underdogs. Some lines will feature a 20 cent odds. These are usually targeting inexperienced bettors, so it is important to avoid these sportsbooks as much as possible. It only puts you at a disadvantage. For bettors who prefer to deal with the moneyline, there are much better options then sportsbooks and they are called betting exchanges. We broke down the best sports betting websites to help you gain the edge and gather the best sports betting odds.
In betting exchanges, there is no oddsmakers making the line for you because, you are the oddsmakers! On these sites people from all over the world place their own bets and this often balances the books more than anywhere else. It is even common to find a an equal line (e.g., -110/+110). These are the best you can find! So, make sure you don’t stick with just one sportsbook because having a variety of sportsbook memberships allows you to seek multiple lines until you find the best one.