Over the course of the 162-game season, Major League Baseball (MLB) has more than 2,400 games being played by the 30 teams that make up the league. Baseball can be one of the most exciting sports to bet on, especially when you know how to read baseball odds.
Sadly, a lot of people miss out on the betting side of baseball because of confusion, whether it’s with run lines, the moneylines, or the totals. All the numbers can be overwhelming and, understandably, hard to interpret at first glance.
If you take a step back, however, a longer look will start to make the odds suddenly clearer and more comprehensible. As with many things, the more you know, the more comfortable you feel. With baseball betting odds, this is true time and time again.
Why leave good money on the table just because you don’t understand how to read baseball odds?
Keep on reading to find out how you can read the baseball odds!
Sites with Top Baseball Odds
- Bovada: Best overall
- MyBookie: Excellent odds
- BetOnline: Up to $1,000 welcome bonus
- BUSR: User-friendly design
- SportsBetting.ag: Variety of markets
- BetAnySports: Reputable brand
- EveryGame: 20+ years in the industry
- BetUS: Features live betting section
- Lucky99: 24/7 customer support
- XBet: $500 welcome bonus
Want to find out how we listed these betting websites? Keep on reading to find out more about them and our ranking criteria!
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Why Bet On Baseball?
Baseball has a unique set of odds that are unlike other sporting events. Because there is no clock in baseball (other than the newly-implemented pitcher’s clock), it opens up a wildly enjoyable way to bet.
On that note, with the 2023 MLB season already underway, Bovada has a great signup bonus for those interested in wagering on baseball. When you sign up with Bovada, they’re giving new players a first-deposit bonus worth up to $500, with a 50% match.
Bovada has fantastic lines on some of the hottest games and series in MLB on the daily, and you’re going to learn how to pick the best ones. But it all begs the question: why bet on baseball?
For one, baseball has an incredible amount of unique odds to work with. You’ve got the straight-up moneyline where you can pick which team wins outright. But then there’s the ever-so-interesting run line (always set at -1.5 for the favorite; +1.5 for the underdog).
Looking at the game in its entirety, you have the run totals, which often range from 6.5 to 10.5 depending on who’s pitching and the offensive prowess of each squad. Run totals are tied into pitching, so always make sure to check who’s starting for each team before picking run totals.
For example, if the teams playing both have their aces on the mound (an ace is the team’s best pitcher), it’s best to stay away from the over. However, if each team has pitchers with high ERAs (anything above 4.00 is considered high these days), then the over is a better bet.
Oh, but there’s so much more with baseball betting. For instance, you can bet on innings. That’s right. It’s a prop bet, but most books provide the option to pick which team will win a particular inning.
While we’re on the topic of innings, there are also in-play bets on such options as a player’s at-bat. Many of the big books provide live betting for each at-bat, giving the option of choosing the batter’s results from a walk, hit by pitch, groundout, strikeout, or getting a hit.
Yet another fun bet that baseball provides is the number of hits, runs, and errors each team will accumulate over the course of the game. Often, books will have the combined amount of hits, runs, and errors committed by both teams together. You can choose over or under that number.
The above are a number of different ways you can bet on baseball, each with its own distinctive tips on how to be successful. That’s why you’re going to want to keep reading because all that information will be sprouting up as you continue learning how to read baseball odds.
How To Read Baseball Odds: Detailed Guide
Now, this is not the time to get worried because we’re going to teach you how to read all the most important baseball odds. A lot of people get confused by baseball betting odds, but there’s no reason to. Keep on reading, and by the time you’re done, you’ll be an expert.
Run Lines on Baseball
Most sports have a point spread. In baseball, the run line is the point spread. However, it’s always set at 1.5. The favorite is at -1.5 runs, while the underdog gets +1.5 odds.
This means the favorite has to win by at least two runs for the bet to win. The underdog has to win outright or lose by less than two runs for the bet to win. This is crucial to keep in mind when betting on baseball run lines.
With run lines, many amateur bettors tend to take home teams, not realizing that they have to win by at least two runs. This can often result in a lost bet. Statistically, underdogs win about 44% of all MLB games.
Remember, around four out of nine MLB games are won straight up by the underdog. If that’s the case, a lot of those losses were also by only one run. Considering the underdog has to lose by two runs or less for the bet to win, taking underdogs with MLB run lines is a safe way to go.
Place Moneyline Bets on Baseball
Moneylines in baseball are really popular because many people think it’s easy money betting on the favorite at -150, for example, but that can easily backfire. Underdogs get plus money, meaning your return is greater for a team getting +150.
Using the above odds, $100 on a favorite at -150 would return $66.67, whereas $100 at +150 would give back $150. That’s nearly a $100 difference. On that note, the favorite is the safer choice.
If you’re going to bet on a baseball money line, it’s best not to get cute. For example, an underdog may look attractive at +225, but that could mean they’re facing one of the best pitchers in baseball. Be careful betting on big underdogs.
If you want to bet on underdogs to win outright, we highly recommend doing it early in the season. MLB rosters change every year, and the oddsmakers need time to adjust. Teams need to adjust too. By about June, MLB teams hit their groove, and oddsmakers have a better understanding of the numbers.
At the end of the day, we suggest staying away from big underdogs and sticking with favorites that have odds between -110 and -170. Whether you are betting on the actual game or the MLB Rookie of the Year, you’ll need to consider this.
Baseball Totals Betting
Totals in baseball are unique because you always have to keep in mind that a full-game clock doesn’t exist.
On that note, baseball game totals are like most any other sport in the land, with bettors getting a set number that they can bet over or under on.
For example, if the Dodgers vs. Giants total has been set for 7 ½ runs, the teams must combine for eight runs or more for the over to win. If they combine for seven runs or less, the under would win.
Futures and Prop Bets
Futures in baseball work the same way as other sports in that you’re predicting which team will win it all. When you’re choosing from 30 teams or more, it’s no easy task, which is why even the most favored team still has large odds.
For instance, this season’s favorite to win the 2023 MLB World Series is the Houston Astros at +650. The defending champs may be the favorite to repeat, but no team has won back-to-back World Series since the Yankees did it three years in a row from 1998-2000.
Baseball Betting Strategies to Know About
Keep an eye out for all the sportsbooks out there on this list for their baseball bonuses so you can maximize your money.
Remember, signup bonuses are used to lure in new customers. That means you can use this to your advantage when beginning to bet on the sport. Opening accounts across several reputable books puts more hands in the pot, plus you’re getting much more bang for your buck.
Let’s say you sign up over at Bovada and deposit $100. You’re already getting an extra $50 from Bovada because they match first deposits 50%.
If you’ve got a little extra pocket money, you head over to BetOnline and open an account there. You’re getting the same deal at BetOnline as Bovada, so if you drop $100, you’ve got another $150 with BetOnline matching your first deposit 50%.
So, for that keeping track, you’ve now deposited $200 between two of the best books in the business and have $300 to play with ($100 for each book + $50 bonus for each book).
If you’re a really big spender, you could sign up for an account at BUSR and use promo code SPORTS100FP for a 100% bonus match on your first deposit. That means with $300, you have $500 to play with. You now have quite a bit of dough to play with.
*This can be figured out mathematically with the minimum deposit to acquire the signup bonus for each book as well (Bovada is $20 minimum; BetOnline is $25; BUSR $100)
$300 of your own money put in and $200 of bonus money back between three deposits utilizing three fantastic signup bonuses. Of course, this is only doable if you’re a new user for each of these books, but assuming that’s who you are, you’ve got a great bottom line to work with.
How to Wager on Baseball Online
Depending on how you like to wager, there are several ways you can go with this. For instance, if underdogs win around 44% of their games, taking one at +1.5 runs is a great strategy. You’re getting a run and a half with a 4 in 9 chance of winning outright. That’s an excellent chance.
For instance, if the Red Sox are home underdogs against the Yankees, then the Sox are worth a loo, considering they were 4-5 outright against them in nine games in Boston in 2022. Again, underdogs win about 44% of games outright. Home underdogs at 1.5 runs is rarely a dumb bet.
Keep that 44% win percentage in mind as we delve into the world of baseball moneylines. Being that underdog win four out of nine times, here’s another fact to consider strongly: over history, home teams have won about 54% of MLB games.
If home teams win roughly 54% of baseball games, why not take a shot on a home underdog, right? Well, yes and no. For the sake of your winnings, we’ll be more specific. Underdogs with a moneyline of +150 or higher tend to do very poorly.
So, don’t bother with any moneyline above +150, as it’s simply not worth it. However, moneylines below +150 are absolutely worth a look at, especially if they’re at home.
Totals are a different kind of strategy to operate on. With totals, you want to focus on the number of runs the teams will combine to score. A lot of that is going to come down to the pitching on both sides.
With run totals, it’s important to know the percentages behind the number of runs commonly scored. Teams scored seven runs combined 11.15% of the time, nine runs 10.33% of the time, eight runs combined 7.8% of the time, and scored 11 runs at a fairly high 7.67%.
These numbers are crucial when looking at run totals because it means that teams combine to score seven runs or more roughly 37% of the time. If we add 10 runs a game (6.61% of the time), that number jumps up to about 43.5%.
Just based on those percentages alone, your best baseball betting strategy for run totals is to take anything under seven runs, as you have close to a 56.5% chance of winning. However, run totals are also deceiving, so do your research here.
For example, the last 10 games played between the Yankees and Red Sox during the 2022 season yielded 81 runs at a rate of 8.1 runs per game. It might be risky to take a run total under 7.5 between these two teams, whereas a good line over 7.5 runs would be the smarter play.
Now, let’s look at your $500. You could put $100 on the Red Sox getting +1.5 runs at home at -110. They’re also getting +140 to win outright at home, so you put $100 on them to win straight up. The run line is at exactly 7 runs, so you drop another $100 on the over.
You’ve now spent $300 (which is the amount you deposited in the first place) and have $200 worth of bonus money still to play with. No matter whether you want to wager on the actual matches or the MLB MVP, you’ll need to consider these factors.
Let’s consider the scenario of the Red Sox winning the game 4-3. Your first bet on the Sox losing by less than two runs (+1.5) at -110 gets you a return of $90.91. You made some good money on the +140 moneyline as Boston won straight up, so you get $140 back for that.
The run total was at exactly 7 runs, so it’s a push. You don’t lose, but you don’t win. Still, you get the $100 back. After all is said and done, your $300 won you back $530.91. That’s pretty good money. Don’t forget you still have that $200 in bonus money for a total of $730.91.
Understanding baseball betting strategies will help you become a more confident bettor over the long run and, better yet, a more successful one as well.
Top 5 Sportsbooks for Baseball Betting Odds
Below are our top five sportsbooks and why they’re good for betting on baseball
Bovada’s reputation as an online book is second to none in the industry. It’s also safe, secure, and extremely reliable. Their signup bonus worth up to $750 for crypto is a great deal, and their signup bonus, in general, has a very low 5x rollover. Use code BTCSWB750 for crypto deposits.
MyBookie matches your first deposit 50% up to $100 with promo code MYB50. It has a standard industry rollover fee of 10, but continuing customers get a 25% reload bonus on all deposits of at least $50.
BetOnline is close to the same level as Bovada. With promo code BOL1000, they’ll match your first deposit 50% all the way up to $1000 (minimum deposit for this is $55). They also have 25% reload bonuses for all of their users as long as they deposit a minimum of $50.
If you’re down to drop $100 or more on your first deposit, don’t pass up BUSR’s fantastic signup bonus. Use promo code SPORTS100FP, and BUSR will match your first deposit 100% up to $1500. There is, however, a hefty 20x rollover for this bonus.
Sportsbetting’s signup bonus provides new users with a 50% match on their first deposit up to $1000 with promo code SB1000. Like a few other books on this list, they also give recurring users a 25% reload bonus with a $50 minimum deposit.
Guide to Reading Baseball Odds Online: FAQs
How Do You Read Baseball Betting Odds?
The key is to pay close attention and keep in mind that there is no clock in baseball.
It operates on nine innings, with the team that has the most runs at the end of nine innings being the winner. A runline in baseball is set at -1.5 runs for the favorite and +1.5 for the underdog. This will rarely, if ever, change in MLB.
The moneyline is when you bet on a team to win straight up. Be wary of large moneylines.
The total is the amount of runs that the two teams will score combined for the entire game.
Prop bets are bets for specific parts of the game or players. There are prop bets for who will win each inning, the first five innings, what the first pitch will be, and so on.
Futures are bets that speculate what will happen in the future of the season, usually several months or weeks in advance. For example, which team will win the 2023 World Series? Futures are often very risky.
What’s The Best Way To Make Money When Reading Baseball Odds?
Be patient and know when to take a break. First, make sure you understand the game in action before placing any bets.
The fact that there’s no full-game clock makes it a far more thought-driven game. A great pitcher can completely change the game with a single performance. One inning can be an hour long if the offenses keep getting hits.
There is no guaranteed way to make money when you read baseball betting odds. Understanding them, however, will make you far more successful.
What’s The Best Money Line Bet For MLB Baseball?
While we think plus-money underdogs can be a risk, we recommend taking them early, specifically in April when underdogs have won about 44% of the time.
Why Should I Bet on Baseball Online?
In-person casinos are great, but they’re limited. With online betting, all of your baseball games are right there in front of you to choose from. There are other reasons too.
Accessibility – Online sportsbooks often have around-the-clock customer service to help answer all of your questions. Whether you’re at home or on the go, online books are available on your phone, making them far more accessible than an in-person casino.
Bonus Features – Online sportsbooks provide users with awesome features that in-person books might not have, for example, sign-up and reload bonuses. In addition, their apps often provide more rewards simply by playing.
Quality Selection – Baseball has become a far more exciting game since the influx of online sportsbooks because of the great selection of games as well as the prop bets within the game. There is also live betting action for baseball for those wanting to bet as the game happens.
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Why Should I Use Bovada To Bet On Baseball?
Any sportsbook that provides a great signup bonus is worth looking into. When it also has one of the best reputations in the industry, it’s worth an even deeper look. That’s Bovada for you; one of the safest online sportsbooks.
Best Reputation – It’s not often we would give a book the title of “best” but if there are any, Bovada is definitely in the discussion. Incredibly secure and safe, you’ll find sheer professionalism at Bovada as well. If you’re looking for a stress-free sports book online, Bovada is your best bet.
Solid Platform – Bovada doesn’t have the glitches and server issues that many other online books have. It’s beautifully run and operated, making it easy for players to make their baseball bets, whether it’s on a run line or big series between the Yankees and Red Sox.
Large Selection of Odds – Are you looking for a bunch of different futures to look at? At the time of this writing, Bovada has several great odds on the current MLB season right now. You can bet anything from who you think will win the 2023 World Series to which teams will win their respective divisions.
How to Read Baseball Odds: Step-by-Step
Before we get deeper into the details, first we’ll quickly show you how to bet on baseball.
Step 1: Create an account
- Click here to open Bovada
- Click the red Join button at the top right corner
- Follow the steps to create your account
Step 2: Verify Your Account
- Open your inbox
- Look for an email from Bovada and open it
- Click on the verification link inside the email (you’ll be redirected to the login page)
Step 3: Place your MLB run line bets
- Click on the Cashier section of the MLB betting app
- Select a payment option
- Deposit a minimum of $20 to receive your 50% bonus worth up to $500
- The bonus will be credited immediately
- Click the MLB tab on the left side of the screen and begin browsing the odds
Can I Claim A Bonus To Make Bets On Baseball?
You sure can. Go check out Bovada, where new users get a 50% match bonus worth up to $250. If you go the crypto route, that amount could possibly triple to a value of $750.
Keep in mind that bonuses come with a rollover, with Bovada’s signup bonus that requires only a $20 minimum deposit and a tiny 5x rollover. That’s the lowest we’ve seen for a deposit bonus, where some books are charging their players a 20x rollover.
Before continuing, it’s important to understand what a rollover is. It’s how much money you have to make before you can withdraw your money. If you were to deposit the minimum of $20, with a 5x rollover, you would need to make $100 before you can withdraw.
So, How Can Your Ready Baseball Odds?
Now that you have a go-to reference for reading baseball odds, you should feel a lot better about placing bets. Don’t forget to head over to Bovada for that 50% signup bonus worth up to $500.
When reading baseball odds, ask yourself several questions to figure out the best move. What is the runline? If it’s high for one side, why is that? What is the total for the game? And a very important question will be, who are the starting pitchers?
Betting on baseball can take a little research, but that’s what’s so entertaining about it. It’s a game of strategy and patience, one that can turn on a dime.
If you think a bet is too close for either team, stay away from it. If the total seems too high, don’t place a bet.
Reading baseball betting odds is fun and makes following the game far more exciting. Make sure to keep your eyes out for low runlines for favorites while staying away from big moneylines for underdogs.
Whatever you do, however, gamble responsibly.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is for entertainment purposes only. Online gambling comes with risks. There’s no guarantee of financial gain, so you should only gamble with what you can afford to lose. All information on this site is for entertainment purposes only.
While gambling can be fun, it can also be addictive. If you or anyone you know suffer from a gambling addiction problem, we recommend that you call the National Gambling Helpline at 1-800-522-4700 to speak with an advisor. Please remember that our guides and all gambling sites are only for people who are 21+. Also, check with local laws to find out if online gambling is legal in your area.
For free online gambling addiction resources, visit these organizations: