As the oldest professional sport in North America, Major League Baseball has a rich history and there is no doubt that sports betting has entwined itself into a sport that’s been around for 117 years. MLB betting and odds have been available for decades - legal or not, and to this day the MLB is our main summer focus as sports bettors.
There are over 2,430 Major League Baseball games played during the regular season, with each team playing 162 games. This is double the output than you’d see in the NBA or NHL and makes for plenty of betting opportunities during the summer months, and we aren’t even counting Spring Training or the postseason.
The MLB is made up of 30 teams, with 15 teams in the National League and 15 in the American League. All but one team reside in the United States, the only Canadian team is the Toronto Blue Jays. The MLB started in 1903, though historically, the founding of the National League can be dated back to the 1860s.
Best Online Sportsbooks for Betting on the MLB
Now that you have a good idea of how to bet on the MLB, we can look at where to bet on your favorite professional baseball teams. Above we have listed for you the most important MLB betting sites.
Even though your state may have legalized sports betting already, there are still many that haven’t passed laws or updated legislation yet, so offshore sportsbooks are still the best option for betting on the MLB.
Finding a reliable online sportsbook that offers the best MLB betting odds, MLB bonuses and a variety of deposit options should be your main priority. All sportsbooks are different, so shopping around for the best MLB betting odds and the best features are of the utmost importance before betting on any baseball games.
How the MLB works?
After the regular season ends (after the first Sunday of October), ten teams enter the postseason playoffs. Six of the teams are division champions with the best record, and four wild card teams from their respective leagues. The wild card teams play against each other and the winners participate in the division series play.
The winners of the best of five-game Division series move on to the American and National League Champion Series. These are best of seven series and the winners are champions of their respective leagues and pennant winners. These two pennant teams move on to play in the World Series.
An average MLB season can provide countless betting options for sports bettors and can get overwhelming to say the least - so let’s go through our MLB betting guide, and familiarize ourselves with popular betting options and how to bet on the MLB.
How to Bet on the MLB
Let’s take a look at MLB betting odds first:
MLB Betting Odds
MLB odds are those numbers you see next to a team name, whether they’re positive or negative. This denotes how likely a team is to win the game. With the positive numbers indicating that the team is less likely to win, and the negative number represents the favored team that is most likely to win.
If you have the New York Yankees at +300 and the Boston Red Sox at -200, that means the Red Sox are favored to win that game, and the Yankees are the underdog. A bet on the Red Sox wouldn’t pay out as much because the oddsmakers are predicting that they would be the ones to win, but a bet on the Yankees would pay out much more if they did pull off the win.
MLB odds represent how much you would need to bet to win a certain amount of money. In the case above, you would need to bet $200 on the Red Sox to win $100. You can bet any denomination, but that bet isn’t really worth your time unless you were 100% sure the Red Sox would win the game. If you bet on the Yankees, you would need to bet $100 to win $300 plus your initial stake.
Popular MLB Betting Options
Now that we’ve covered what MLB odds look like, let’s look at popular baseball betting types that you will be able to choose from when betting on Major League Baseball.
Betting on the MLB Moneyline
The easiest betting type you can place on any given MLB game is the moneyline. It’s easy to understand and great for new bettors. Your only job is to determine which team will win the game. We’ve outlined a basic moneyline bet above, let’s dig in a little further:
If the Red Sox and Yankees are playing and you believe the Red Sox will win, you select the Red Sox and you’re good to go. Ensure you review the odds and the pregame matchups to ensure you do plenty of research before making your bets.
Let’s look at an example:
- Boston Red Sox -120
- New York Yankees +450
We changed the numbers around to give you a different perspective. The Red Sox are still the favored team, with -120 odds. A $120 wager, with the Red Sox winning, would pay out $100 plus your initial wager. The Yankees are still the underdog, and if they upset the Red Sox and win, a $100 wager would yield $450 plus your initial $100.
Betting on MLB Point Spreads
Point spreads in the MLB are commonly referred to as the ‘runline’. It is the exact same as any other point spread, it just goes by a different name, you may see puck lines in NHL - it’s the same thing in baseball. Spreads are popular throughout all professional sports, but MLB runlines can have really great odds depending on the game.
Point spreads essentially give the underdog team an imaginary head start, meant to level the playing field in games that are one-sided. Your sportsbook has expert oddsmakers that will decide who the favored ball team is, and determine the spread based on how those two teams match up for the game.
The MLB runline shows us how many points a sportsbook believes a team must win or lose by, depending on which side you’re betting on. If you choose the favored team, their spread will be a negative number, and they must win the game by that amount of runs. If you choose the underdog, they must lose by less than that number of runs or win the game.
For example, if you have the Chicago Cubs at -2.5 and the Pittsburgh Pirates at +2.5, the Cubs are favored to win the game. The Cubs are expected to win by a few runs, and for your bet to win, they must beat the Pirates by more than 3 runs. The Pirates, on the other hand, need to win the game or lose by less than 2 runs.
Betting on MLB Totals
When looking at the MLB oddsboard, and you can’t decide which team to bet on, betting on the over/under or the totals can be a great opportunity to still get value out of an MLB game. Totals betting is quite simple, and you don’t have to choose one team over another - you simply have to decide if the total number of runs scored by both teams collectively will be over or under your chosen oddsmaker’s line.
If you have the Arizona Diamondbacks versus the Colorado Rockies, and the total is set at 12, you will need to decide if you think both teams will score more or less than 12. If both teams easily get over six runs per game, that should be an easy bet to place, and you’d take the over. Also, take into account that the game can go into extra innings if tied, so this could makeovers extra juicy.
Betting on MLB Props
Prop bets or proposition bets as they’re commonly referred to as are the more fun bets associated with any given MLB game. Props are unusual circumstances or happenings that don’t have anything to do with the outcome of the game. You could bet on a certain player to hit a home run or grand slam for example.
Prop bets are just for fun, and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. The best online sportsbooks offer a huge selection of props per game, providing a much greater variety than your neighborhood retail sportsbook.
Betting on MLB Futures
MLB Futures are extremely popular in the early or middle season because they offer huge value with higher risk. Betting on MLB Futures means you are placing a bet on which team will win an event outcome in the future - sometimes even months in advance. As soon as the World Series Champion is announced, sportsbooks release the following season’s futures.
The main MLB Futures that sports bettors tend to focus on are the Winners of the World Series and the pennant winners. Predicting if a team will win the World Series months before it happens can turn into a great payout in the long run.
Let’s use the 2019 season for our example.
In January 2019, the Washington Nationals were far from being the favored team to win the World Series. The Houston Astros and New York Yankees were favored at the time at +600. The Washington Nationals odds actually got worse, they were even less likely to win the World Series in June 2019, when their odds went down to +5000, meaning if you took them in June to win, a $100 wager would turn into $5000.
The Nationals were even underdogs in the World Series, ending the season with +570 odds. Meaning anyone who was willing to bet on them throughout the entire 2019 season would have made some serious bank.
What Are The Current MLB Standings
Scan the standings below to help form your long-term betting strategy. Dissect the analytics and form your betting strategy well in advance.
Look for mismatches, like a team playing a day game following a night extra-inning game, or perhaps an afternoon game following a day-night doubleheader.