How To Bet on MLB Baseball
Unlike football and basketball, MLB betting is predominantly done via the moneyline as opposed to betting the spread.
Wagering the moneyline is as simple as picking an outright winner, although you should be aware you’d pay an adjusted price based on which team is the favorite and which team is the underdog. That means it costs more to bet on the favorite, while you enjoy a fatter payout if you bet the underdog.
For instance, if the New York Yankees are hosting the Boston Red Sox, oddsmakers could list them as -120 favorites, meaning you’d have to wager $120 to win $100 if the Yankees win the game. The Red Sox, on the other hand, could be on the board as +130 underdogs, meaning you’d be betting $100 to win $130 if they upset the Yanks.
Therein lies the challenge of how to bet on baseball successfully. It's a dangerous proposition for beginners, who are prone to siding with big favorites. Remember that the best MLB teams lose around 40% of their games, so chasing heavy chalk is a losing strategy over the long run.
A better way to go is to handicap small favorites and underdogs, with a preference for home underdogs. There’s less return on investment in doing this, but it’s a safer way to use your bankroll.
In addition to the moneyline, bettors can bet MLB totals. If you’re not sure about who’s going to win the game, wagering on the total amount of runs scored can be the way to go. Knowing the starting pitchers, bullpens, and respective offenses in relation to the number is the key to handicapping baseball totals.
You can also bet the runline, which is a 1.5-run spread on the game. For instance, the Yankees could be huge -200 faves to defeat the Red Sox on the moneyline, but -150 favorites to win the game by 1.5 or more runs, thus providing a better return for your money. That said, the dogged BoSox could lose by a run and still cash as runline underdogs.
Winning MLB bets takes some education, where it's regular money line wagering or betting 5 inning lines. And it takes training to avoid the pitfalls that can damage your bankroll.