Every season we are bombarded by questions about how to bet baseball. This is a brief beginners guide for baseball betting. Placing wagers on MLB games is not difficult, but it is quite different from betting on football or basketball. For bettors who aren’t familiar with the money line, it can be a little intimidating, but once you figure it out for the first time it becomes fairly simple.
The money line is based off a $100 bet. In every contest you will have a team that is favored, represented by a minus sign next to the money line (eg. Yankees -125), as well as an underdog, which will have a plus sign next to the money line (eg. Rays +115). In our examples, to win $100 you would need to risk $125 on the Yankees because they are favored. Because the Rays are the underdog here, you are getting better odds. That plus sign means you can wager $100 to win $115 on the Rays.
A dime line simply means that the difference between the money line on the favorite and underdog is only 10 (or -10 to be more specific). For example, Yankees -140/Rays +130 would be considered a dime line, however, most sportsbooks use a 20 cent line and would have the odds Yankees -140/Rays +120 on the same game. If you are serious about betting baseball, you must have a sportsbook that provides dime lines.
The run line is basically a -1.5 or +1.5-point spread given to each team in a particular game. Again, the minus will represent the team favored, while the plus will be the team that is the underdog. With favorites on the run line, you are betting that favored team will win by two or more runs. If that team were to win the game by just a single run, your bet on them would be considered a loser. Because you are taking more of a risk by predicting that the team will win by at least two runs (instead of outright with the money line) you will get better odds. Keep in mind that, historically, about 30% of MLB games have been decided by just 1 run. Taking the underdog with the run line means that you are betting that your team will either win the game outright or only lose by one run. Because you are increasing your odds of winning, betting the underdog on the run line will cost you significantly more than betting that team on the money line.
Just like in football or basketball, the oddsmakers set totals for baseball games. This just means you are betting on the combined number of runs scored by each team. The bookie sets the total and you bet on whether you think the total runs scored by both teams will be more or less than the set number. These are called over/under bets for obvious reasons.
With baseball, parlays are the same as football or basketball in that you must win all of your wagers in a parlay to cash in a winning bet. The biggest difference in baseball is that, because of the money line, you are going to have adjusted payouts compared to the other sports.