Betting on Baseball: Deciphering the Odds and Lines for US Players

If you’re an American baseball fan, you’ve likely come across oddsmakers’ betting lines and wondered: how in the world do I decipher all of this? There’s no need to despair—we’re here to get you up to speed on betting lines and gambling on baseball.

What is a Betting Line?

Simply put, a betting line is a way for oddsmakers to give the public an idea of the likelihood of certain events happening. By looking at a betting line, you can try to predict whether one team will beat the other. The lines are usually provided in words or formulae that can be a little confusing at first. But with a bit of practice and knowledge, you’ll be able to quickly and easily understand betting lines.

Types of Betting Lines for Baseball

In baseball, there are two common ways to bet:

  • Odds Lines: This type of bet is based on the likelihood of one team winning. Odds lines can be given as either a “favorite” (the likely winner) or an “underdog” (the less likely winner). The odds line expresses the likelihood of each team winning in moneyline terms, such as, “The New York Yankees are -200” or “The Toronto Blue Jays are +150.”
  • Point Spreads: This type of bet combats the natural favoritism that some teams may have over others. In this case, the point spread takes into account the number of runs each team is expected to score. This means that a team can still win if it loses the game, provided that it does not lose by more runs than the point spread. The point-spread line will usually include a “+” or “-” symbol and a number, such as, “The New York Yankees +3.5” or “The Boston Red Sox -4.5.”

How to Read Betting Lines

As you begin to research and understand betting lines, it’s important to remember that your goal is to use the betting line to predict the outcome of the game. To help you with your decision, here are the two key components to understand:

  • The Odds or Point Spread: This part of the line indicates whether the favored team is likely to win. If the line includes a negative number (-) then the favored team is likely to win. Inversely, if the line includes a positive number (+) then the underdog team is likely to win.
  • The Money / Payout: This part of the line indicates the amount of money you can receive for betting on the winning team. For instance, if the line states that the favorite team is -200, and you bet $100 on them, then you’d receive $200 if they win. On the other hand, if the underdog is +150, and you bet $100 on them, then you’d receive $150 if they win.


Now that you understand betting lines for baseball and how to read them, you’ll be able to make informed decisions when betting on your favorite teams. Just remember to always research and compare the lines of different oddsmakers and to do your due diligence when placing bets. With this knowledge, your bets should bring you a bit of extra cash to cheer on your favorite baseball teams.

What are the differences between MLB baseball betting and betting on other sports?

1. Type of Bets: Baseball games and bets often include more detailed props and specialized bets than on other sports. This includes things like betting on the first team to score a runs, or betting over/under on a certain number of innings.

2. Money Lines: Unlike other sports, money line bets are based on a set amount rather than victory or defeat margins. Baseball money lines are generally expressed as a plus (+) or minus (-) number and represent the amount the player must wager to return a predetermined amount of profit.

3. In-Game Bets: Besides regular-season games, it’s also possible to wager on the results of individual innings in baseball. This means that you can wager on the outcomes of specific at-bats or how many hits will be accumulated.

4. Playoffs: Since baseball games are abundant throughout the regular season, playoffs are not as big of a betting opportunity. On the other hand, some sports books will still offer bets on the playoffs, albeit with lower maximum bets and less variety.

What types of bets can you make when betting on MLB games?

The types of bets you can make when betting on MLB games include moneyline bets, run lines, totals or over/under, futures bets, and prop bets. Moneyline bets involve betting on which team will win without any regard to point spreads or run lines. Run lines involve a point spread that put the favorites in a slightly difficult situation to win, making them offer slightly worse odds than on a moneyline wager. Totals (over/under) bets involve wagering on the total combined runs scored in the game. Futures bets involve wagering on the eventual winner of a season or a league before the season has even begun. Prop bets involve wagering on aspects of the game not directly related to the final outcome, such as how many home runs will be hit in a game or who will get the most hits.

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