Table of Contents
There are various betting markets available for baseball bettors to choose from. Run Totals and run lines are among a few, but the moneyline is typically the most popular. Baseball also has various props, futures lines and inning betting.
Let’s cover all the different types of betting markets baseball bettors can pick from when wagering. Also check out RYP baseball pools and contests for the season ahead. Play against friends and compete to win money by creating a baseball pool today! Try the classic Survivor Pool or the season-long 13-run Pool!
How Does Baseball Betting Work?
Baseball betting is similar to other sports in terms of wagering on various outcomes. There is a run total, which is similar to point or goal totals. There is also a moneyline, which is in every sport and every market when it comes to betting.
However, baseball has unique differences in betting compared to other sports – particularly the run line. In baseball, the spread is almost always 1.5-runs going each way. This is because there are many close games in baseball, as the season features 162 games played in two-game or more series.
Because baseball also doesn’t have a clock, the innings market acts as a quarter or half market for other sports. In football, bettors can select outcomes per quarter such as who will win the first quarter. For baseball it’s innings, such as whether a team will be leading the game after (x) amount of innings.
Basic Betting Types in Baseball + How to Bet
As mentioned before, there are a ton of different baseball markets to choose from when wagering. Here are some of the most popular, along with some unique ones as well.
This is a very standard market across all sports and markets, selecting which team will simply win the game. The moneyline market is very popular because it is often cheap and requires the selected team to win the game by any number of runs.
As stated before, the run line is basically the spread in baseball. All sports feature a spread market, in which the selected team must win by or not lose by a certain amount of points given. In baseball, the run line is almost always 1.5. In some cases, the run line might be 2.5 but that’s very rare.
The run line presents value for baseball bettors siding with a favorite to win by more than one run. Because the run line gives an underdog one run to play with, it is typically far more expensive than taking the favorite.
In most cases, the underdog in baseball is much more likely to win or lose by just one run rather than lose by two or more runs. It’s more difficult for a team in baseball to win by two or more runs, so more times than not the favorite will see plus-value to cover -1.5-runs.
Here is an example of what the run line might look like for a baseball bettor.
Royals +1.5 (-200)
Tigers -1.5 (+150)
It will cost a bettor $200 to win back $100 if they think the Royals will win the game or not lose by two or more runs. If a bettor thinks the Tigers will win by two or more runs then it will cost $100 to win back $150.
The run total is similar to points and goals, simply selecting how many total runs the game will see between both teams. Bettors can pick whether the game will go OVER a certain amount of runs or UNDER the total.
If the run total for the Royals-Tigers game is 8.5, then an OVER bettor wants to see the baseball be crushed. An OVER bettor needs nine combined runs between the Royal and Tigers to win, while an UNDER bettor needs the pitching to showcase with eight runs or fewer between both clubs.
Here is an example of what the run total might look like for a baseball bettor.
Over 8.5 (-110)
Under 8.5 (-110)
This market is typically split both ways with the moneyline. If a bettor wants to go OVER the run total it will cost $110 to win back $100. The price is the same for the UNDER, so it will also cost an UNDER bettor $110 to win back $100. It’s also important to note that this market does include any runs scored in extra innings.
First Five Innings
First five innings is a very popular market, mainly because bettors find out if they won or lost well before the game ends. A bettor might hedge their bet if they lose this market with the end game result, or a bettor might simply sit back and enjoy the rest of the game if they win this market.
The first five innings can feature any of the markets already mentioned above. It can feature a moneyline, run total or run line – but the outcome of the bet ends after five innings have been played rather than the full nine innings.
Bettors can also wager in the first inning market, first three innings market or even the first seven innings market. These markets are great for bettors who fancy a team that starts games hot, or for anyone looking for early results.
This market is common across every sport, in which a bettor is wagering on an outcome that won’t see the outcome until further into the futures – hence the name futures. Examples of futures markets include ‘Who will win the World Series?’ or ‘Who will win the NL MVP or Cy Young Awards?’.
There is typically great value in the futures market, especially early in the season. The Cardinals might be +2500 to win the NL Pennant, but when August rolls around and half their division is out of contention those odds may have shortened to +700.
This is an ‘early bird gets the worm’ market, but the waiting game isn’t for many. Impatient bettors are best to avoid futures markets but those hunting for value should consider these heavily.
Baseball also has prop bets, just like any other sport. This is a great market for DFS and fantasy baseball players, as bettors are selecting player outcomes to wager on. This can range from Home Runs to RBIs and Strikeouts.
Triple, doubles and even total bases can be wagered on in the prop market. Total bases can be confusing, but it’s really simple to follow and sometimes a better play than specific hit types. A total base is the total number of bases a player gets after a hit.
So if Mike Trout hits a double then he would accumulate two total bases. If Mike Trout only hits two singles in the game, then he would accumulate two total bases for that game. Let’s say Trout hits a home run, he would tally four total bases. If he hits a home run and then a double, his total base count would be six (4 from the HR, 2 from the dbl).
Common Baseball Betting Mistakes to Avoid
There are various mistakes one can avoid when making a baseball bet. It’s important to understand that you won’t win every single pick or bet made, but there are things you can do to increase your luck a bit.
Check the lineup
This should be routine for bettors, and can be especially true for basketball bettors as well. Check the lineup all the time, no matter what. Baseball lineups feature more changes to them on a game-to-game basis than any other sport.
It’s important to understand which players are being benched and which players are starting. Some players are offensive threats, in which case the OVER might be a look. Other players are defensive juggernauts, such as pitchers. If a top pitcher is on the mound for a game, maybe take the UNDER.
Pitchers are also late scratches sometimes, meaning they are pulled from the game they were supposed to start in before the game begins.
If a bettor wants to take the New York Mets because Jacob deGrom is starting but then the Mets announce he is a late scratch, most books will give you your money back and have you re-wager on the game. Other books say all bets are final. Make sure you check your books’ rules and understand that lineup changes are very frequent in baseball.
Always betting on favorites
Because of longevity in baseball, it’s very rare that favorites win at the pace of their asking price. Baseball is a sport that presents the best bet for underdog moneylines. The Houston Astros have lost games as -500 favorites while winning the World Series the same year.
It’s not wise to start taking underdogs only, but consider them more than favorites in baseball. They are cheaper to take and the frequency of an underdog winning in baseball isn’t as rare as one might think.
It is much more difficult for a heavy favorite to win all the games in a series than it is for an underdog to win one of three games. Picking the right game is the trick, but it’s also better than paying an expensive price if the bet misses.
Chasing lost bets with live betting
Baseball games turn on the dime, let the game finish. It’s okay if you lose a bet, it will happen. The worst thing a bettor can do is try to chase what they think is a lost bet with live betting hedges.
Hedging is never recommended, but especially with baseball. The game features no clock, so the only way to win is to go through your opponent – much like tennis. This actually increases the chances of a comeback win for trailing teams, as they are not competing against a clock.
If you see the team you wagered on is trailing with just four innings remaining, wait it out. It’s okay if you lose. If you try to cover your losses by picking the team that’s winning only for that team to relinquish a late lead, you will lose more than you would’ve originally.
With 162 games per team each season, don’t chase your losses with a live game hedge. Simply accept defeat and move on to the next game. Baseball’s schedule allows bettors to practice responsible gambling, so take advantage.
How to Read Baseball Odds and Start Betting on MLB
Reading MLB betting odds is the same as any sport. It comes with a moneyline, a run line (or a spread) and a total market. Here is how an MLB betting odds game line might look like.
Braves -1.5 (+150) | O 7.5 (-110) | -175
Marlins +1.5 (-175) | U 7.5 (-110) | +205
The first column typically features the run line with the moneyline in parentheses. It would cost a bettor $100 to win back $150 if they think the Braves beat the Marlins by two or more runs. Any other result would see the Marlins +1.5 cover, but is more expensive and would cost $175 to win back $100.
The second column features the run total, set at 7.5 with a moneyline of -110 both ways. It would cost an OVER or UNDER bettor $110 to win back $100. OVER bettors would need to see eight or more runs for the total to hit, while UNDER bettors would need to see seven runs or fewer in the game to win.
The third column is the moneyline market, which is the asking price for either team to win the game outright. The Braves winning by any amount of runs would cost bettors $175 to win back $100, while the Marlins winning by any amount of runs would cost bettors $100 to win back $200.