How to Bet on Baseball

Welcome to our tutorial guide on how to bet on baseball. While it looks a bit tricky at first glance, it’s actually very easy and better yet it’s a sport you can beat if you approach it with an open mind. Another relief about baseball betting is that there’s no point spread you have to beat! You simply pick the winner, which is called a moneyline. A moneyline removes the point spread from the equation and instead creates a situation where you will risk more to win less on a favored team and bet less to profit more an the underdog. We’ll explain more below. We hope you enjoy the following article which should fill you in on everything you need to know to start placing baseball wagers and to beat your bookie.

There are many different ways you can bet a baseball game. Baseball bets include but are not limited to: moneylines (sides), totals (over/under), runlines, parlays, prop bets, futures and season wins. Let’s take a look at each and explain how they work.


Moneylines: These bets also known as sides, allow you to pick the team that you think is going to win the game. Since there is no point spread in baseball, each team has odds that correspond to what percentage the bookie thinks the team has to win. A typical baseball moneyline wager will look like this:

Tampa Bay Devil Rays +160
New York Yankees -170

The top team is always the road team. The bottom team is always the home team. Anytime a team has a + in front of their odds that means that’s the amount you stand to profit based on a risked wager of $100. Anytime you see a minus sign (-) in front of a teams odds, this designates the amount you must risk to profit $100. To further clarify, a winning bet always receives the risked amount back as well as the profit. If a game should tie for some reason or be suspended, your bet is no action and the risked amount is refunded to your betting account.

When you place your bet on the game, you will have the option of betting listed pitchers or “action.” If you select listed pitchers, both pitchers must start and throw at least one pitch for the bet to be considered official. If you select action, it doesn’t matter what pitchers start, your bet is a go either way and you’ll be given whatever odds the sportsbook listed when the pitching change happened.

It should also be noted that the above listed example is using a dimeline. A dimeline pays 10 cents per dollar less than the favorites risked amount. A 20 cent line would pay 20 cents less than the favorite odds per dollar risked. Obviously the dimline is the way to bet baseball. Make sure your sportsbook offers it or you should definitely look elsewhere to gamble on bases.

Totals: Also known as over/unders, totals allow you to bet on if the total runs scored by both teams (including extra innings) will go over or under the posted number. These are almost always offered using 20 cent lines and you will notice that the betting limit is often times 1/2 to 1/4 lesser than sides. This is because totals are easier to beat (hint hint.) It should be noted that a game must go the full 9 innings or 8.5 innings with the home team leading in order to be considered action.

Here are some examples of how totals may look at a sportsbook:

Texas Rangers/New York Yankees Over 8.5
Texas Rangers/New York Yankees Under 8.5

Since there are no odds posted, it is assumed that if you bet on either you are laying -110 odds. Other totals may look like this:

Texas Rangers/New York Yankees Over 8.5 +100
Texas Rangers/New York Yankees Under 8.5 -120

The above would signify that if you bet on the over you’re betting at even
odds. If your betting the under you’re laying -120. In this case, it is telling
us that the under is the favorite of the two bets. That doesn’t mean it’s
more likely to come in as a winner, it just means you’re going to have to
pay more to bet it. This could be because of weather conditions, a tons
of public money may have come in on it so the book is looking to get some
balanced action on the other side or it may be set like that just for psychological
reasons just to mess with the bettors in an attempt to gain one sided action.

Runlines: This is a bet that creates a point spread for the game. Most sportsbooks offer this with the favorite laying -1.5 runs and getting + odds usually and the dog getting +1.5 runs and usually laying some juice (vigorish.) Some sportsbooks even now offer -2.5 and +2.5 runlines as well as alternative runlines too, which flip flop the odds creating a situation where you can bet on a favorite getting 1.5 runs and an underdog giving -1.5 runs.

Parlays: A parlay is when you take a bunch of teams that you like and tie them all together. All the teams must win for your parlay card to be a winner. If a game gets suspended it bumps down to one lesser game assuming your parlay still has 2 more more teams. A 2 team parlay bumped down to a one team parlay becomes a single wager. Parlays usually offer an oppotunity to bet a small amount to win a big amount. Don’t be fooled though, it’s hard enough to pick one game much less a bunch of games and expect them all to win. It has been done though 😉 One neat thing we like about parlays is that you can tie together a few heavy favorites and avoid risking the high juice.

Prop Bets: These are wagers such as pitcher to have the most strikeouts in a game, team to score first, team to score over or under a certain amount of runs, etc. Be careful betting these, the book is very good at putting out sucker bets that look too good to be true. Often times it’s wise to go opposite of these because if something in gambling looks too good to be true, it is!

Futures: These wagers allow you to pick a team to win the division, pennant or world series. These can also be bets on which hitter will have the most homers at the end of the year etc. They often times offer big payouts for small risked amounts. This is a great option for a small recreational bettor who is looking for some good entertainment and to get lotsa bang for his buck in that he can root for a team all year using very little money and not go broke if it doesn’t cash. The problem with these bets is that when you place them your money is locked up for the duration of the season and we’re not a huge fan of locking up your money for long periods.

Season Wins: These are wagers in which the oddsmaker puts out a number of wins for each team and you can bet them to win more and go over or win less and go under. We really like these as it’s a pretty good strategy to go over on bad teams and under on good teams. Why you ask? Because gambling odds are all based on public perception and often times bad teams get better and good teams aren’t as good as the year before. The downside is that your money is vested all season long while this long term bet plays out.

Feel free to drop us a line with any baseball questions you may have. Simply click on the contact us link at the bottom of this page.

Good luck with your baseball betting!

Related: How to Handicap a Baseball Game.