World Series 2024
How to Read MLB Odds
Before you try to read MLB odds, you have to understand what kind of MLB betting lines format you’re looking at -- analyzing the meaning of lines is crucial for any baseball bettor. There are decimal and fractional odds, but the most common MLB odds format. and the one we use here are American odds, which have lines that look like +200, -110, etc.
What Does -110 Mean?
When looking at MLB odds if you see negative values such as -110 in MLB betting lines, you’re looking at the favorite in a contest. Positive values such as +170 reflect MLB underdogs, while the negatives indicated favorite. If you envision the number 100 sitting between these two values, it is easier to understand how it works.
If you want to bet on that -190 favorite, you would risk $190 to win $100. On the +170 underdog, you would bet $100 for the chance to turn a $170 profit if the underdog wins. You can use our MLB odds calculator to help you figure out potential baseball odds profit before you get in the swing of things.
What does -1.5 Mean?
This format is what we call an MLB point spread or runline. This spread means the favorite will have to win by more than 1.5 runs (for -1.5) or lose by one run or win outright as the underdog (for a +1.5 line). It’s just like in basketball or any other sport, where a team would be favored by -9.5 points on the spread, but in baseball it’s most common for a team to have their runline set at -1.5 for favorites or +1.5 for underdogs.
Popular Types of MLB Betting
MLB betting lines and markets are pretty similar to those of other North American sports, but MLB odds do offer a few sport-specific wagers to be aware of.
An MLB moneyline bet is simply picking the winner of a game. It’s important to gauge value, though, as a +200 underdog could be the right play if you think there’s a 40 percent chance they win the game, even if it’s not the most likely outcome.
Spread Bets or Runline Bets
MLB spread bets allow for a little more nuance. If you’re looking to bet on a favorite, but the moneyline odds aren’t great value. You can bet the runline (for the team to win by more than 1.5 runs) and get some better value in the line.
Over/Under (Total) Bets
OVER/UNDER bets, or run totals, allow you to bet on the total number of runs that will be scored in the game. If the line for a Yankees vs Red Sox game is set at O/U 9.5 runs, you just need New York and Boston to combine for 10-plus, as a 6-4 Yankees win gets you the OVER. If you think both offenses will have a strong day, bet the OVER. If you’re projecting a pitcher’s duel, the UNDER is a safe bet.
Parlays take the traditional MLB odds to another level, allowing you to combine two or more wagers. If you combine a moneyline, spread, and total pick, the odds and your potential payout will significantly rise. However, you’d need all three of those bets to hit in the parlay to win. If just two of those parlayed picks win, you lose the entire parlay. It’s high risk, high reward MLB betting.
MLB Player Props
Betting on a baseball player prop allows you to hone in on one specific matchup, star, or trend for a given day. One example of a MLB player prop market is the strikeout total for a starting pitcher. Let’s say Gerrit Cole’s strikeout line is set at OVER/UNDER 6.5. You can choose if you think he’ll strike out seven or more (the OVER) or six or fewer (the UNDER). Other MLB player prop markets include hit totals, total bases, home run props, or hits against for pitchers.
Live Odds Betting
Most of these MLB odds markets above are available before games start, and remain available throughout a contest. Betting during a game is called live betting. You can bet on the Yankees to win on the moneyline at -130 before first pitch, but if they get down a run in the second inning, you can bet on them again when the odds change, maybe down to +130. Live betting allows you to capitalize on momentum swings in game and little things you notice while watching a contest.
MLB futures are long-term bets that allow you to bet on season-long competitions or betting markets. These futures can be as simple as MLB World Series odds, and picking the champion long before the playoffs are even set. Or, you can get a little more specific with by betting on MLB awards futures, such as the MVP and Cy Young.
Understanding Line Movements
For your futures wagers and daily MLB bets, it’s important to understand line movement. Simply put, line movement is the shifting of the betting line to reflect something that’s happened (an injury to the starting pitcher or, a change in the lineup card) or other bettors influencing the line. If the Yankees start out at -110 favorites for a game, and most of the money is placed on New York to win, the books often shift the line to -120 to reflect that trend. Because of constant line movement, it’s important to look at a few different books to make sure you’re getting the best value at the time of your bet. Many different betting sites have slightly different lines for each game or futures market. This process is commonly referred to as line shopping.
True Odds vs. Implied Odds
Understanding the difference between the MLB sportsbook odds and the implied odds are key for finding your edge and knowing the risk in sports betting. A book’s ‘implied odds’ are the ones you’ll see on a website or app or at the sportsbook in person. Those odds have a small cut, called the “the vig” which ensures that the sportsbook is consistently returning profit. The true odds are the actual potential outcomes of a game.
For example, if the Blue Jays vs Orioles game is a true 50/50, with both teams having a 50 percent chance of winning. The line on that game would actually be closer to -110 for the Jays on the moneyline, and -110 for the Orioles. The implied odds bake in some room for error for the book, and actually suggest the odds for each team are closer to 52.38 percent for each club.
Biggest MLB betting events
Baseball season is long, laborious, and draining. But there are still some key betting events to be aware of throughout the season.
MLB Opening Day
Opening Day is one of baseball’s best betting events. Spring Training is over, the games actually matter, and it’s the perfect time to get back into your daily MLB wagering routines. You can spread action across the board with runline and moneyline picks, but MLB Opening Day is also a time when many people lock in their futures bets, making their season predictions for awards and the World Series.
MLB All-Star Weekend
Baseball’s All-Star Weekend is a needed reprieve in the middle of the season, happening in July almost every year. It’s a break for the players, a fun spectacle for baseball fans, and a unique betting opportunity for MLB bettors. The baseball odds markets for All-Star Weekend include betting on the outcome of the National League vs American League game, picking an All-Star Game MVP, and betting on the Home Run Derby odds.
MLB Postseason Odds
As with most sports, the postseason present a few different opportunities for bets. MLB’s playoff betting odds can come in a few different formats. You can wager on a team’s odds to make the playoffs before or throughout the season, you can bet on the MLB odds for which teams will win every series, and you can bet on the World Series futures prior to and during the postseason. Baseball’s playoffs begin in October most seasons.
League Championship Series
The League Championship Series is MLB’s equivalent of the semifinals, with the best two teams in both the American League (ALCS) and National League (NLCS) battling it out for a spot in the World Series. While the preceding Divisions Series are only best of five games, the CS are best of seven.
The crown jewel of baseball’s dramatic postseason, the World Series pits the winner of each league against one another in a best of seven game series. You can still lock in World Series bets up to and during the final series, but if you want to find some real value on a title winner it’s best to get your pick in as early as possible.
Biggest Team Rivalries
Baseball is a game of history, and with the 150+ years of MLB legacy a few big rivalries have formed. Many of sport’s best rivalries exist in baseball, with MLB’s divisional structure forcing many teams to face off over 12 times a year.
New York Yankees - Boston Red Sox
Yankees vs Red Sox is one of the most storied rivalries in all of professional sports, not just baseball. These two big-market East Coast teams have been divisional rivals for decades and have met for games over 2,000 times. As of 2023 Opening Day, the Yankees held an edge in the all-time series, with a record of 1,247–1,038–14.
These teams have met often in the playoffs recently, too, with the all-time postseason record is tied at 12 wins a piece. Red Sox fans will certainly remember the 2004 American League Championship Series, becoming the first team ever to claw back from a 3-0 series deficit to win the series and eventually go on to hoist the World Series Trophy.
Los Angeles Dodgers - San Francisco Giants
This Dodgers vs Giants rivalry has traversed the country. It began back in the 1800s when both teams were based in New York (Brooklyn Dodgers vs New York Giants) and remains a fixture of California baseball today. The lifetime series is about as close as it gets, with the Giants winning 1275 of the 2563 all-time meetings. The Dodgers, however, have the slight edge in the postseason by winning three of five playoff meetings.
St. Louis Cardinals - Chicago Cubs
This rivalry embodies Midwest baseball.
These NL Central rivals have bet 2500 times since their first meeting back in 1892 with the Cubs holding the edge in the all-time series. The rivalry was at center stage in the late-1990s with Cub Sammy Sosa and Cardinal Mark McGwire battling it out in the now famous home run race. The tension between these two teams (and the fanbases) has been exacerbated in recent years due to players switching sides in free agency. Most recently, Jason Heyward, Dexter Fowler, and Wilson Contreras have swapped between the Cardinals and Cubs.
Profit & Payout
If some betting terms are unfamiliar to you, here are some you’ll need to know before diving into MLB odds:
Profit is just any positive money earned. This could be surplus money from nailing a specific bet, or it could be your total profits after a long period of wagering.
Expected winnings are what you would profit from a specific bet. For example, if you’re betting $100 on the Brewers at -150 to win outright, your ‘expected winnings’ would be $67, as you’d get your $100 stake back plus $67 in profit. You can calculate expected winnings using our sports betting calculator.
Expected payout is similar to expected winnings, but it’s just the total money you’re seeing back for a winning bet. In the example above, your expected payout is the total $167 you get back for a winning $100 bet on the -150 Brewers.
A bet slip is your collection of bets at any one time. Most sportsbooks allow you to add a bunch of wagers to your bet slip, and then you can go in after and choose how much you want to stake for each bet before finalizing.
Bonuses and Promotions
These days, if you’re not taking advantage of bonuses and promotions at your book or on your sports betting app, you’re missing out. Most books offer plenty of MLB odds, bonus bets, deposit matching bonuses, or individual contests that can help maximize your profits when you’re betting on baseball and all other sports.
Where To Bet On Sports
If you’re looking for a sportsbook to place your MLB bets, we’ve got you covered with a breakdown of what to look for in a good MLB book at our sportsbook review page.
Sports Betting Apps
Most of the top sportsbooks now have accompanying sports betting apps, allowing you to lock in your wagers on the go.
MLB Odds FAQ
How Are MLB Betting Odds Calculated?
MLB odds are created to draw equal action on both sides of an MLB betting line. Ideally, a sportsbook receives equal betting volume on both sides of a Major League Baseball bet, and then the sportsbook will make five to 10 percent on the juice or the “vig”, win or lose.
How Do I Read MLB Odds?
If an MLB moneyline is a positive number (+200) this means the team is an underdog. If it is a negative number (-150) this means that team is the favorite. The further that number is from zero, the bigger the favorite or dog the team is. This is an essential concept to familiarize yourself with when learning how to bet on MLB.
How Do I Handicap MLB Games?
There are a few key things that go into handicapping MLB games, including the starting pitchers, the form of the batters, and the value of the lines. Even if you think one side has the better hitters and pitchers, it's important to gauge the line value. The sportsbooks might have the team you think will win even more heavily favored than you think they should be.