MLB Odds and Betting – Your Complete Guide

MLB Odds & Betting

MLB Odds and Betting

Sports betting has recently become extremely popular in the US, where states like Ohio have legalized the process. Many of those bettors enjoy placing bets on MLB, given that baseball is one of the most watched sports in the country.

Thanks to the significant popularity of baseball, every sportsbook provides MLB odds and betting information to its customers. Whether you understand the basics of placing bets or are new to MLB betting, we’ve got you covered in this article, where we reveal everything you need to know.

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani throws a pitch during game against the Athletics

Understanding MLB Odds and Betting

As baseball is predominantly a moneyline sport, the MLB odds won’t be tough to understand. For every MLB game, the oddsmakers put a price on both sides to win the game, which can be converted into a percentage representing the team’s likelihood of succeeding.

With moneyline bets, the favorite is shown with a (-) number, while the underdog has a (+) figure. Here’s an example of an MLB game between Cleveland Guardians and Cincinnati Reds:

Cleveland Guardians (-145) vs. Cincinnati Reds (+125)

In this example, you would have to place a $145 wager on the Guardians to win $100, while placing a $100 bet on the Reds would give you $125 as a profit if they manage to win.

As for converting the moneyline into a likely winning percentage, take the odds figure, divide it by the odds figure plus 100, and multiply by 100.

So, a (-145) price on the Guardians converts to an assumption that they should win the MLB game around 59% of the time (145/245 x 100 = 59.18%.) Combined with your knowledge about the game, this percentage can be decisive for placing a bet.

If you think the percentage is accurate, then it is easy to avoid betting on the game. But if you suspect the percentage is low, then betting on the Guardians would be logical. Conversely, if you think the percentage is high, then a bet on the Reds should be the better option.

Types of Baseball Bets

Baseball is a popular sport in the US, offering bettors a wide variety of betting options. For many, betting on MLB is not just about backing the outright winner of a certain game, as that would soon get a little tiresome.

Instead, there are various bets that you can place on MLB games. The bettors can expect to find all types of bets at every reputable MLB betting site.


Some bettors aren’t interested in guessing the number of runs a winning team will get. They are just focused on who will win the game and nothing else. This betting option in MLB betting is called the moneyline, and it is the most popular bet type for beginners.

It is the simplest bet that can be placed in every type of sport, and it is the first bet that comes to mind when it comes to betting on baseball. We have already explained how moneyline betting works, but if you want another example to be sure, here is another matchup:

New York Yankees (-195) vs. Cleveland Guardians (+250)

The Yankees are clear favorites in this game, and you must bet $195 to win $100. But if you think the Guardians can spring a surprise, a $100 bet would win $250. You don’t have to bet $100, of course. You can bet what you like, so $10 would return $25 and so on. 


A parlay is a bet where you must correctly guess the outcome of more than one bet on MLB games. You can win more money with a parlay because the odds of two or more bets are multiplied together. Great if the bets come in, but it only takes one losing bet to forfeit the lot.

You can see that the larger the parlay bet, with more winning outcomes required, the harder it will be to win it. Experienced bettors can generate massive wins by using parlays with smaller bet sizes.

For example, you might consider a parlay bet consisting of three game-winners. You can take the Cleveland Guardians (-122), Cincinnati Reds (+148), and Columbus Clippers (-145) to win their next games. Each moneyline must be converted to a decimal and then three decimals multiplied by your bet to make your potential return.

Guardians (-122) converts to 1.819 (100/122+1)

Reds (+148) converts to 2.480 (148/100+1)

Clippers (-145) converts to 1.689 (100/145+1)

If you bet $10, your total winnings would be 10 x 1.819 x 2.480 x 1.689

Making a total potential return of $76.19

Run line bets

Run lines are the point spreads in baseball, where you can back a team to win by more than the spread. In a game where the favorite’s moneyline odds are not that attractive, taking the run line bet might give you more returns.

For example, in a Guardians vs. Red Sox matchup, the Red Sox might be hot favorites with a money line of (-140), meaning you would have to bet $14 to get a $10 return.

But for the same game, the Red Sox run line is set at -1.5 (+160). Here, you predict the Red Sox will win by more than 1.5 runs (so two points or more) and would win $16 by betting $10.

It’s your job to consider if it’s worth going for the higher returns with the run line, keeping in mind you must not only predict the winner but also that they will win by two or more points.

Totals (over/under) in MLB odds and betting

The concept of the over/under bet in MLB is the same as in any other sport. It is a number that is an estimated combination of both team scores in a certain game. This type of bet is used by bettors who might have a strong feeling of a match going low or high but cannot be certain about the winner of the game.

With this type of bet, the players get a chance to predict if the final score of an MLB game will go over or under a certain number. For instance, if a game between the Cincinnati Reds and New York Yankees has an over/under total of 7.5, you must work out if the game will see a combined score of eight or more or fewer than seven.

Totals betting is popular with bettors because it keeps the action exciting throughout the game, no matter which side is winning.

Proposition bets

In MLB odds and betting, proposition bets are types of bets that can be placed on occurrences that will take place during a certain game. The proposition bet scenarios are extremely varied. They are popular amongst passionate sports bettors, as they bring a lot of excitement.

Here are a few examples of proposition bets in MLB:

The Clippers to be the first team to reach three runs in a game

A combined total hits for both teams

A combined runs and errors for both teams

Will there be any runs scored in the first inning?

The Cleveland Guardians to be the first team to score in the game

Using proposition bets is a fun way to keep your betting engaging, especially if you are watching the game live.

Five innings bets

The five innings bets usually appear at the sportsbooks as an F5 bet. With this type of wager, you bet on the first five innings of an MLB game rather than all nine. Compared to the moneyline bet, the five innings bet carries less risk.

It is a good bet option to place early in the season, as the players and teams are trying to find their best form. Some bettors are using the five innings bet to their advantage as a way to handicap teams during the early days of an MLB season without risking their money on moneyline bets.

There are three types of five innings bets, the F5 Moneyline, the F5 run lines, and the F5 totals. The F5 Moneyline is a bet on who will be leading the score at the end of the fifth inning. In F5 run lines, the spread is reduced from + or -1.5 to + or -0.5.

So, betting an F5 run line on the Reds -0.5(-110) means that you are risking $110 to win $100, and you need Cincinnati to be ahead by at least one run.

Betting on F5 totals is just like betting on the full game over/under, except you are betting on a smaller number. 

Futures bets

Future bets are placed on events or occurrences in an MLB game that will happen sometime in the future. The future bets can allow the bettors to remain interested in a team or player throughout the entire season.

Popular future bets in MLB are betting on the number of games that a team will win throughout the season or whether they will make the playoffs or the World Series.

Tips for Betting on MLB

Now that you know the types of bets and how to use them, it is time for you to learn a few tips that can help you boost your chances of winning.

Avoid betting on the big favorites

Sportsbooks know that many bettors tend to place bets on the favorites, and as a result, they will shade the MLB odds and betting lines accordingly. This means that the popular MLB teams, such as the Guardians, Reds, and Yankees, will always be overpriced because average players will choose them regardless of the odds.

Bet on plus-money underdogs

Keep an eye on the plus-money underdogs, as the rewards can be big if you know what you are betting on. However, you should carefully consider your bet sizing because although winnings are higher, they will happen fewer times.

Shop for the betting market

Study all the betting markets if you wish to bet on an MLB game. You might not see much value in the moneylines, but there could be a better opportunity in one of the other markets, like the totals or one of the proposition bets. Sportsbooks rarely make mistakes with their odds, but sometimes they do happen, and that’s when you must take advantage.

Manage your bankroll

Setting up a budget is crucial if you are placing MLB bets regularly. You should start by setting up an upper limit of how much you are willing to bet during a week or a month, and don’t go over it no matter the losses suffered during the period.

It’s also a good idea to settle only on betting a small percentage of your bankroll on any one wager.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you bet on MLB games?

Yes, sportsbooks offer many ways for you to bet on the outcome of MLB games. You can back who will win by how many runs, the total runs scored, or one of many fun proposition bets.

What does -120 mean in MLB moneyline betting?

-120 means that you need to place a $120 bet to make a $100 profit. Betting on negative MLB odds means that you are backing the favorite to win.

What does +1.5 mean in MLB?

+1.5 refers to the run line, giving the weaker team a +1.5 run head start in an MLB game. Backing that team will have to result in the team winning the game or only losing by a single run to win the bet.

What is the moneyline in baseball?

Moneyline is the simplest bet in baseball, allowing you to pick which team you think will win a certain game.