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How to Bet on MLB | Online Baseball Betting Guide

Your Guide to Betting on MLB Baseball

ByFrank Ammirante

Apr 13, 2022

Major League Baseball (MLB) betting is the third-most popular betting market in the United States, behind football and basketball. Bettors can choose from point spreads, moneylines, totals, and props when betting on baseball.

MLB has embraced sports betting, establishing co-partnerships with popular sportsbooks like BetMGM and DraftKings. This will allow MLB bettors to stream games through the DraftKings platform and watch their bets.

While player props used to be reserved for NFL betting, this market has exploded in popularity within all sports and MLB is no different. Sportsbooks are including a number of different props, such as total bases and strikeouts. This is great for MLB betting because there are so many stats, so it makes sense for more betting options.

With that in mind, it’s important for bettors to gain a broad understanding of MLB betting strategy before diving in. This way, they can be well-equipped to finish with a profitable record after the gruelling 162-game MLB season.

Where to Bet on MLB Baseball

How to Choose an MLB Betting Site

Deciding on an online sportsbook is important, so you need to be thorough in your selection process, considering factors such as odds, promos, bet types, and mobile apps.

Some betting sites might have a more robust MLB betting market than others, so it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with what each sportsbook has to offer.

Let’s take a closer look on how to make an informed decision when selecting your baseball sportsbook.

Gather Background Information

There is a comprehensive selection of sportsbooks available in the United States, so it’s a good idea to gather information about your options.

Here at The Game Day, we have multiple sportsbooks reviews that dive in to everything you need to know about the site, including betting markets, payment options, customer support, and much more.

Perusing these reviews is a good starting point in your decision-making process.

Check Promotions

TheGameDay has a promotions page that you really need to check out so that you’re always informed about the latest promos. This page is constantly up to date with a selection of the most useful promos across the industry.

Promos are vital because they’re excellent ways to build your betting bankroll. The first promo we’ll discuss is the welcome bonus.

These provide bet credits (free bets) to new users after registration. They can be first-deposit bonuses, no-deposit bonuses, and risk-free bets.

First-deposit bonuses are when betting sites match your first deposit up to a maximum amount. No-deposit bonuses are provided without requiring any form of deposit. They can act as a trial run for the sportsbook before you decide to deposit funds. Risk-free bets are when the sportsbook reimburses your first bet if it loses.

Each of these promos are great because they provide you with free bet credits.

There are also weekly promotions that can be catered to a specific sport, like baseball. For example, you might have a promo where you get $5 for every home run that your team hits if you place an MLB moneyline bet of at least $50.

You can easily check the sportsbooks’ promotions on The Game Day’s promo page or by clicking one of our links to access the betting site. From there, click the “Promotions” section to see what they have to offer.

When betting on MLB, you ideally want the sportsbook to feature an MLB-specific promo.

Bet Types

It’s important that your sportsbook includes several bet types in the MLB market. The traditional markets like moneylines, spreads, and totals are available everywhere, but some sites have a larger selection of player props than others.

Some sportsbooks feature props like total strikeouts, total bases, home runs, and much more. This is huge because it provides you with more options for MLB betting. Props are also good because they can often be easier to project than the winner or total score.

You’ll want to check that your site has Same Game Parlays, which was started at FanDuel and has spread across the industry. This allows bettors to combine bet types from the same game into a parlay for higher payouts.

The last thing that you should look into is the sportsbook’s live betting system. Some sites allow live-streaming as well, which is a nice added touch. Others allow you to place live bets on player props, which can be profitable if you’re following along with the game and notice that a certain hitter doesn’t look right at the plate or a pitcher keeps missing his spots.

Be sure to closely examine the MLB betting market for your sportsbook, as it’s better to have a wider selection of bet types.

Odds

It’s essential that your sportsbook has odds that align with the market. You want to get as much value as possible, so even the slight difference in odds is important.

For example, one site might have the game total for the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox at 9.5 runs, while another site might have it at nine runs. While half a run may not seem like a lot, it could be the difference between a push (tie) or winning bet.

There may also be differentiation with moneyline. One sportsbook could have the Los Angeles Dodgers at -155, while another might have them at -145. This seems like a minor difference at first glance, but if you’re betting on MLB for the long run, it could affect your bankroll. The idea is to minimize your risk, so any additional costs need to be avoided when possible.

User-Friendly

Make sure that your sportsbook provides a user-friendly experience. This can be with an organized layout that makes it easy to find what you’re looking for or a mobile app with a sleek interface and high speed.

Some sites don’t have a mobile app, making it a good idea to try out their desktop page on your cellular device to make sure that it still works well. Several bets are placed on your device, so you don’t want a site that feels cluttered or laggy on the mobile browser.

Efficiency is important with online betting because you want to place your bets quickly, especially with live betting, which requires you to make a wager during a stoppage in play. Make sure to test out the app on your sportsbook.

Customer Service

You want to make sure that your sportsbook provides timely and efficient customer support on multiple platforms, such as e-mail, live chats, and social media.

It’s also a good idea to have an understanding of the payment options at the site. The more deposit and withdrawal methods available, the more convenient the process is for you. Check in on payment processing times as well.

The best way to obtain this information is by reading one of our sportsbook reviews at The Game Day while navigating through the website yourself. This gives you a full understanding of what the sportsbook has to offer.

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve gone through each step in the selection process, you need to consider joining multiple sportsbooks that meet the criteria listed above.

When signing up for more than one site, you are able to compare odds, obtain welcome bonuses, and use different promotions. This helps put you in a better position to succeed in sports betting because it helps build your bankroll.

How to Place an MLB Bet Online

We’ve gone through each step in choosing a sportsbook, now it’s time to provide a rundown on how to place an MLB bet online.

  • Click one of your links at The Game Day or use our promo code
  • Create an account by including your personal information. Make sure to have photo identification because you’ll need it for the sportsbook to verify your account. Check your e-mail for confirmation.
  • Click your username and select “Deposit” or “Add Funds.”
  • Select a deposit method, such as Visa/Debit, online banking, PayPal, and much more.
  • Type in how much money you’d like to deposit.
  • If the site has a first-deposit bonus, those bet credits will be instantly put into your account after the deposit has been processed. Check into terms and conditions to see if there are playthrough requirements for the bet credits.
  • Click “MLB” to access the MLB betting market.
  • Choose a bet type, such as moneyline, total, or prop.
  • Select the bet that you like to add to your Bet Slip.
  • Include how much money you’d like to stake on this bet.
  • Click “Submit” and your bet has been locked in. Enjoy!

How to Find Value When Betting

You’ll always want to search for value in any betting market, but it’s especially important in the marathon 162-game MLB season.

Let’s dive in to explore how we can find value in MLB betting.

Starting Pitchers

The pitching matchup is always the first thing you should check when betting on MLB. You’ll want to look at each pitcher’s season stats and recent performance.

Don’t just look at their earned run averages (ERA) or walks + hits + innings pitched (WHIP). Some pitchers have a low ERA, but they’ve actually pitched poorly and could be due for a bad outing. How have they pitched bad if their ERA is low, you ask?

It could be because they have a high strand rate, meaning they are allowing baserunners but are consistently getting out of jams. It might also be because they’re giving up a lot of hard contact without missing many bats.

This is why you should take a look at walk rate (BB%), strikeout rate (K%), swinging-strike rate (SwStr%), and called strikes + whiffs (CSW%). This helps get you an understanding of pitchers who have sustainable strikeout rates (K% + SwStr%) and great control (BB% + CSW%). There are several websites that can be valuable resources when diving into pitching performances.

Having a deeper understanding of pitchers can help you find value because you can get ahead of the market this way. For example, imagine that Wade Miley is pitching for the Cincinnati Reds and they’re favored with a -145 moneyline against the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, Miley has a low strikeout rate with hard contact allowed. This could be an opportunity for you to take the Pirates at a nice +125 value.

You can also use this pitching knowledge to help you on player props, such as total bases. If you see that a pitcher has an inflated ERA because of a couple of three-run home runs allowed, but he’s racked up strikeouts with good control, you might go Under on his opponent’s total bases props.

Bullpens

At the same time, it’s important to avoid overstating the impact of the starting pitching matchup when betting on MLB moneylines. The reason for this is because your pitcher might throw a gem, but it could always be blown by the bullpen.

Be sure to check into a team’s bullpen usage to see how they’ve performed this season. There’s also the chance that certain relievers are unavailable for your wager because they had pitched for consecutive games. This could have an impact on the final outcome.

The worst beat you can get with MLB betting is when you handicap the pitching matchup perfectly, only to see your bet go up in flames after a reliever comes in and blows up for four runs, costing you the game. Always be mindful of bullpens.

They’re a great way to find value because you might see a moneyline inflated due to the starting pitcher matchup. For example, the Toronto Blue Jays might be favored -160 against the Seattle Mariners because it’s Jose Berrios vs. Chris Flexen, but the Mariners have the better bullpen, which gives us some value.

First Five Innings

If you want to avoid the bullpen headache, you can check out the first five innings betting market. It’s also a great way to find value in MLB betting.

For example, you might have the Miami Marlins with Sandy Alcantara as underdogs against Tylor Megill and the New York Mets. Alcantara is the better pitcher, but the Mets are the superior team.

However, you can avoid the Marlins bullpen and gain value by taking Miami to win the first five innings. There’s a good chance that Alcantara would outduel Megill in this situation, which makes this a prudent bet.

Some sportsbooks also offer +0.5 run lines for the first five innings. This means that you win your bet if your team leads or is tied after five. This is a great way to obtain value in MLB matchups.

Comparing Odds

Make sure to compare odds with other sites as another way to find value. The best way to get this done is by visiting our The Game Day odds page, which has a comprehensive outline of MLB odds from several sportsbooks. It also features the best bet (for both sides) on the market.

For example, the New York Mets may be -200 against the Miami Marlins on one site, but -180 at another sportsbook. This means that you would risk $180 instead of $200 to win $100 with these savings. You’ll find discrepancies like this in each bet type, so keep an eye out.

This is why it’s a great idea to sign up for multiple sportsbooks.

Live Betting

Live betting is a good tool to use to find value once the games have started. This is because the odds are updated in real-time to align with what has happened in the game so far.

For example, imagine the New York Yankees are -300 against the Baltimore Orioles. New York has the pitching advantage with Gerrit Cole facing John Means. The Orioles have jumped out to a 3-0 lead after one inning, which has caused the Yankees’ odds to fall to -150. Three-run leads are far from insurmountable, especially in a matchup between contending and rebuilding teams, so this is good value.

You can also take advantage of the totals market this way. For example, let’s say we have the San Francisco Giants facing the Los Angeles Dodgers. Dodgers Stadium is a pitcher’s park, ace Walker Buehler is on the mound facing ace Logan Webb, but the score is 3-2 after one inning.

This is a great time to hit the Under because it’s likely that both pitchers will settle in and limit scoring for the rest of the game. The pre-game total could have been around 6.5 runs, but the live total has risen to 9 runs.

Managing Your Bankroll

The MLB has the longest season in sports, with nearly twice as many games as the NHL and NBA. This means that you should be disciplined with your bets. Don’t risk too much of your bankroll on one play, no matter how much you like it.

If you want to bet on a heavy favorite, parlay it with another team to reduce your risk. For example, if you took the Yankees at -250, you would risk $250 to $100, but if you parlayed them with the Red Sox at -200, you would risk $100 to win $110.

You also have an option to take the favorite on the run line, which is the MLB name for point spread. Each favorite has a run line of 1.5 runs, so they need to win by more than one for you to win your bet. It’s more likely that a baseball game will end with a winning margin of two or more, so this is a smart play when betting favorites. It also helps you find value because the payout is higher due to the cheaper moneylines.

There are several upsets in MLB, as even the worst teams win around 50-60 games, so this is a great way to find value. Use some of your bankroll on underdog plays. It’s a good idea to take them on the first five innings and full game markets, just to avoid bad beats like blown leads from bullpens.

How to Read MLB Betting Odds & Lines

If you’re new to MLB betting, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the various bet types involved with the market. We’ve got you covered here at The Game Day. Check out our in-depth look at each bet type and odds.

Moneylines

  • Choose a team to win outright. They can win by any amount.
  • The favorite has minus odds (ex. -120 = $120 to win $100). This means that you risk more than your winnings.
  • The underdog has plus odds (ex. +140 = $100 to win $140). The payout is greater than the stake with underdog bets.
  • Favorites are chosen by their implied probability to win the game. They can be determined by pitching matchup, overall team strength, and recent performance.

Against the Spread (Points Spread)

  • Each game has a point spread, known as the run line. The run line is always -1.5 for the favorite and +1.5 for the underdog.
  • If you bet on the favorite, they must win by two or more runs. Favored run lines usually have moneylines that vary from -130 to +150.
  • The underdog bet can win if the team wins outright or if they lose by one run. These bets usually carry more risk in terms of stake because they have varying prices from -200 to -150.

Total (Over/ Under)

  • The total is the projected points scored for both teams.
  • Bettors select Over or Under the total.
  • MLB totals usually range from as low as six runs to as high as 10.5 runs. Certain hitter-friendly environments, like Colorado’s Coors Field, can get as high as 13 runs.
  • Over bets require the final score to eclipse the game total and vice versa for Under bets.
  • The standard moneyline price is -110, but sometimes they are priced differently for Over or Under, depending on the game.

Types of MLB Bets Online

MLB Moneyline Bets

  • Select the favorite or underdog to win, regardless of winning margin
  • Example of a favorite: New York Yankees -150
  • This bet would risk $150 to win $100
  • Example of an underdog: Baltimore Orioles +140
  • This bet would pay $140 on a $100 wager

MLB Spread Bets

  • Pick the favorite to win by two or more runs or the underdog to win or lose by one run
  • Example: Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5 +120
  • This would pay $120 on a $100 bet
  • Example: Colorado Rockies +1.5 -170
  • You would risk $170 to win $100 on this wager

MLB Totals

  • Each game has a projected total of combined runs
  • Bettors must choose Over or Under
  • Ex: Milwaukee Brewers vs St. Louis Total Runs: 8.5, Over: -110, Under -110
  • There are also team totals, focused only on team production
  • Ex: Milwaukee Brewers Total Runs: 4.5, Over -120, Under +100

MLB Teasers

  • Teasers are when you get more favorable lines or run lines or totals
  • You combine these bets into a parlay
  • Each of these plays are risky as straight bets because their moneylines can be -300 or even lower
  • Run line teasers are with underdogs
  • Example of a Run Line Teaser: Blue Jays +2.5/Padres +2.5/Brewers +2.5
  • Example of a Total Teaser: Yankees/Red Sox Over 7.5 Runs + Orioles/Rays Under 11.5 Runs

MLB Parlay Betting

  • Choose two or more bets to combine in a parlay
  • They can be varying bet types, like moneylines, totals, or props
  • Each game needs to win in order for you to win your parlay
  • Bettors risk less on parlays, but with higher payouts due to their increased difficulty
  • The payout depends on two factors: odds and legs
  • First, Odds: A parlay with two underdogs at +120 would pay more than a parlay with three favorites at -300
  • If the odds are equal, Legs: A parlay with four games would pay more than one with three games

MLB Round Robin Betting

  • Round Robin betting is when the sportsbook creates several parlay combinations
  • For example, if you select three bets for your parlay, you can do a Round Robin of three two-game parlays.
  • This lowers your risk and still offers higher payouts than straight bets
  • An example of this could be: Los Angeles Dodgers -150, Toronto Blue Jays -150, and Chicago White Sox -150
  • With a round robin, you would risk $10 on each parlay to win $17, totaling to $30 to win $51.
  • If you win all three in the round robin, you’d win $51, but if you won two of three, you’d still be up $4.
  • This is different because you can still win back some money if one of your parlays loses, whereas in a regular parlay, you only have one shot to win
  • It is essentially a safer form of parlay betting

MLB Prop Betting

  • Props can be related to teams or players in a specific game
  • You can choose Over or Under each prop
  • Team prop example: Total Hits for the Tampa Bay Rays
  • Player prop example: Total Strikeouts for Gerrit Cole
  • Some sites have Same Game Parlays, where you can combine correlated outcomes, such as Gerrit Cole Over 17.5 Total Outs and New York Yankees to win, for higher payouts

MLB Futures Betting

  • Futures bets are wagers that are settled at the conclusion of the MLB season
  • They can be team outcomes, such as World Series winner
  • For example, you can bet the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the World Series at +350
  • Futures can also be player outcomes, like Home Run leader
  • An example of this can be Vladimir Guerrero to lead in Home Runs at +500

MLB Live Betting

  • Live betting is a selection of bet types that can be selected once the game has begun
  • The odds are updated in real-time based on what has happened in the game
  • Ex: If the Giants were -200 before the game but are trailing 2-0, their live moneyline could be -150
  • Live betting can include moneylines, totals, spreads, and props

How the MLB Playoffs Work

MLB has 30 teams with 15 in the American League and 15 in the National League. Each league has three divisions with five teams in each.

The division winners make the playoffs along with two wild card teams, which have the fourth and fifth best record in the league. The two wild card teams face off in a one-game playoff in the Wild Card Round.

The winner of the Wild Card game faces the division winner with the best record in the league, while the other two division winners play each other. Each series is a best-of-five games. This is called the Divisional Round.

The League Championship Series and World Series are the remaining two rounds, each best-of-seven game series.

There are multiple bet types to choose from in MLB playoffs, such as moneylines, totals, and player props. You can also make futures bets where you choose the winner of the American or National League as well as the World Series.

How the World Series Works

The World Series is a clash of the two best teams from each league. What makes the World Series unique is that the matchup consists of two teams that don’t play each other often.

Each MLB team only plays 20 out of 162 games against the opposing league, so this is a rare matchup that fans get to witness in the World Series.

The New York Yankees have the most World Series with 27 wins. The team with the most recent wins is the Boston Red Sox with four titles since 2000. This is interesting because their 2004 championship broke an 86-year drought.

When betting on the World Series, it’s important to consider the team’s overall pitching staff, not just their starting rotation. Teams opt to pull their starters earlier in postseason baseball nowadays, often bringing in relievers as early as the fourth inning.

This is why we need to think about their rotation and bullpen together. The bullpen has become as important as ever in the modern day game. Just look at last year’s champion, the Atlanta Braves. Their closer, Will Smith, didn’t allow a run in 11 postseason innings.

While it’s definitely important to check a team’s season stats, don’t put too much emphasis on this because teams look a lot different in October compared to April or even June. It’s a better idea to prioritize how they’ve played throughout the playoffs.

Baseball is a game of streaks and some hitters could be struggling in October, even though they had dominant seasons. As with any other sport, you also want to pay attention to injuries, checking to see if any impact players are missing games.

Make sure to keep up to date with any promos, as sportsbooks release new ones that cater to the World Series, since it’s such a marquee event. One example of a promo could be that those who bet at least $25 on a World Series moneyline will get an additional $5 for every home run their team hits.

Be sure to bookmark The Game Day’s promo page for any updates.

Place MLB Bets You Like

Betting on MLB is a grind because the season consists of so many games. This makes it essential to have a process in place, carefully selecting your favorite bet types. Below you’ll find an explanation of my MLB betting strategy.

Strikeout Props

Strikeout props are my favorite bet type in MLB. This is because there are so many factors to look at that can help project starting pitcher strikeout totals.

The first thing to look at is a player’s strikeout rate and swinging-strike rate. If they are missing bats and racking up strikeouts, that’s a good start.

Next, I’ll make sure that it’s a pitcher who has relatively good control, so I’ll look at their called-strike whiff rate and walk rate.

It’s also important to check the opposing lineup. I can check their weighted on-base average (wOBA) and strikeout rate against righties and lefties. This helps show the potency of the opposing lineup.

If I feel that the prop is set too low or just right, I’ll make a bet on the Over. If it looks like it’s too high, I’ll look towards the Under.

First Five Innings

First five innings bets are another good option because this helps you avoid random bullpen blowups that often cost bettors in full game picks.

You can look at a starting pitching matchup that you like and choose that team to win in the first five innings. It’s also useful to play the underdog at +0.5 runs, that way you win your pick even if the game is tied after five.

Betting on the first five totals can also be profitable for the same reason. There’s always a risk that a pitcher’s duel turns into a high-scoring game because of bullpen struggles. This risk can be mitigated by sticking to the first five innings.

Total Base Props

Total Base props are my next target in MLB because you can ride the hot streak. Baseball players can be among the streakiest in sports. When they’re seeing the ball well, they often put up hits in bunches.

For example, let’s say that Trea Turner is currently on a four-game hitting streak. You notice that he hasn’t struck out once during that stretch. You check the pitching matchup and he’s facing lefty Madison Bumgarner, who has struggled. Turner also crushes lefties.

After considering each of those factors, you bet on Turner to go Over 1.5 total bases. This means that he only needs a double or two singles for you to win your bet. It’s a great way to attack this betting market because it allows you to avoid bad beats like bullpen blowups.

Same Game Parlays

My last part of the strategy is to parlay some of these props into a Same Game Parlay for higher payouts. I might go with Turner Over 1.5 Total Bases, Walker Buehler Over 6.5 Strikeouts, and the Los Angeles Dodgers on the moneyline for more upside.

Same Game Parlays are great because you can select correlated outcomes. If the Dodgers won that particular game, it’s likely that Buehler pitched well, meaning that he probably got at least seven strikeouts.

Author

Frank Ammirante

Before joining The Game Day, Frank spent three years in the fantasy sports and betting industry, writing for websites like RotoBaller and 4for4football. Frank is an active member of the fantasy baseball and fantasy football community, participating in high-stakes leagues like NFBC/NFFC as well as industry competitions like Scott Fish Bowl, RazzBowl, and TGFBI. Frank is a member of the FSWA and IBWAA. Give him a shout to talk fantasy sports and sports betting.