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How Baseball Odds Work? How Can You Use Them?

How to bet on baseball
Publish Date: 04/25/2019
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

Despite being one of the most popular sports in North America, baseball ranks amongst the least wagered sports around the world. Surprisingly, baseball bettors claim they make profits off the MLB than on any other league games in the USA.

Jerry Patterson also shared the same thoughts in his book, Sports Betting: A Winner’s Handbook. When talking about the MLB, Patterson says, “More big scores have been made betting on baseball than any other proposition. So, is it time you started paying more attention to baseball odds?

Money Line Odds

If you have wagered in sports before, you don’t need an introduction to money line bets. For first time bettors, money lines involve placing a bet on the team you believe will win. For example, Boston Red Sox could be facing the Yankees.

Both teams are great. Boston has odds -140 while the Yankees are tipped to win at odds +200. If you believe New York will win on the road, betting them with $100 earns you $200. Backing the Red Sox, on the other hand, would mean betting $100 to win $140.

Many baseball betting veterans advise newcomers to back the underdogs whenever they can. Underdogs win 44% of the time in the MLB. On the surface, this doesn’t look like a profitable approach in the long run. But if you could find value odds that average $+130 or more, your long term balance sheet will be profitable.

Total Runs

So, you are good at predicting how many runs are completed every time two teams meet? This is the best bet for you. Bookmakers set the total for number of runs completed by both teams. You can then back the prediction with a bet for or against.

Keep in mind runs scored during extra innings also count toward the total. So, if using past data to make an accurate prediction, keep the extra innings in mind. Odds for totals tend to vary widely.

In a game between the Phillies and the White Sox, over 8 odds could be -115 while under 6 runs could be +120. When the Astros face off with the LA Dodgers, the odds could change to something like -180 and +110. As such, research on total runs carefully.


Parlays is the MLB term for multi-bets. Instead of wagering $100 on one team to win $50, you could back three teams at a go and $300 or more. In an example, pick three total runs odds of 1.8, 2.1 and 1.9. Accumulatively, 1.8 X 2.1 X 1.9 equals 7.2 odds. A $100 bet returns $720.

On the flipside, all the three predictions have to be correct for you to claim your Parlays win. Parlays odds are bankable but also exceedingly risky. Imagine placing nine money line bets to win $4000 from a $100 bet. The potential profits are high but you would have to be vastly lucky to win the bet.

Fortunately, bookmakers are always giving people opportunities to maximize their wins. Read this 22bet review, for example, to find out how you can earn a bonus bet of up to €50. With the offer, you could then place your parlays knowing that losing the bet won’t affect your bankroll.

Team Total Runs

As the name suggests, you predict the average number of runs scored by a specific team. This is a good wager if you’re a baseball fan. You’ve probably watched the game long enough to know how many runs the Royals score on average. To profit from your knowledge, find good team totals’ odds and bet on them.

Unfortunately, not many bookmakers support team total runs’ odds. Instead, you are more likely to find totals for both teams. On the bright side, odds for total runs tend to be lucrative than money line wagers. Whether you bet over or under something, odds average 1.8 and 2.5, meaning every bet that ends up being correct returns more than 50% in profits.


The run line is baseball’s version of the point spread/handicap. Let’s say that when the Cardinals have faced the Brewers in the recent past, Milwaukee always comes out at the top. But instead of backing low-value odds for the Cardinals to wins, you could go with a Run line of -1.50.

What this means is that Milwaukee would have to win by more than two runs for you to win the Run line bet. Essentially, the Runline gives you more value for your wager. While it looks like a long shot, Runlines are actually easy to predict in baseball. The handicap is almost always set at +/-1.50, meaning your goal is to find teams that win by more than two home runs.


If you think you know who will win the World Series this year, place a bet on it. Earlier in March, the Yankees were tapped to win in 2019 at odds 6-1. The Astros are also up there with similar odds. Last year’s winner, the Red Sox, have odds 7-1 while the Cleveland Indians are backed to win at 10-1.

In 2016, a man named Michael Lee hit headlines worldwide after revealing he had predicted the Chicago Cubs would win the 2016 World Championships in his yearbook photo back in 1993. Before 2016, the last time the Cubs won the Series was in 1908. But even if they bigwigs, predicted something to happen 23 years beforehand is a special kind of genius.

Apart from the World Series, there are futures for a lot of things in the MLB. You could bet which team wins respective divisions and which ones qualify through the wild card. If you decide to place futures, keep in mind that your money will be locked for weeks or months until the wild card or championships are played.

To Conclude

Baseball is an underrated sport, at least when it comes to betting. While everyone else concentrates on the MLB, soccer, and hockey, few bettors find value odds in the MLB. Surprisingly, those that do claim they make more money off baseball than in other sport. So, before you rule out the game, research on baseball odds and decide whether they could add value to your bets.

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