MLB Bet Types

A Comprehensive Guide to MLB Bet Types

Major League Baseball (MLB) betting offers a wide range of wagering opportunities for both experienced bettors and newcomers. Understanding the various bet types, along with their nuances, can significantly improve your chances of success. In this article, we’ll explore and explain the most popular MLB bet types, complete with examples to help you gain a deeper understanding of the betting landscape. We’ll also provide answers to some frequently asked questions at the end of the aritcle. If you still have questions, always feel free to drop us a line. We appreciate and enjoy helping our readers!

Moneyline Betting (aka: Straight Wagers)

Moneyline betting (straight wagering) is the simplest and most common form of MLB betting. In a moneyline bet, you are simply wagering on which team will win the game, disregarding the final score or margin of victory. (No point spread invovled like football and basketball) The odds for each team are displayed as either positive (underdog) or negative (favorite) values.

For example, let’s use the moneyline odds for a game between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox:

Team Moneyline Odds
New York Yankees -130
Boston Red Sox +120

In this example, the Yankees are the favorites with odds of -130, meaning you would need to bet $130 to win $100. The Red Sox, as the underdogs, have odds of +120, meaning a $100 bet would win you $120 if they emerged victorious. Tip: Notice that the underday pays $10 less than the favorite (aka: 10-cent line). Most sportsbooks deal 20-cent lines. Make sure you’re betting at a dimeline sportsbook!

Run Line Betting

Run line betting is similar to point spread betting in other sports, such as football or basketball. In MLB betting, the run line is usually set at 1.5 runs, with one team favored to win by more than 1.5 runs (the favorite) and the other team expected to lose by fewer than 1.5 runs (the underdog).

For example, consider the following run line odds for a game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants:

Team Run Line Odds
Los Angeles Dodgers (-1.5) -110
San Francisco Giants (+1.5) +100

In this example, if you bet on the Dodgers, they must win by at least two runs for your bet to be successful. If you bet on the Giants, they must either win or lose by no more than one run for your bet to be a winner. As time has gone on, some crafty sportsbooks started offering bettors the ability to bet “Alternative Run Lines” where they pushed the spread out to 2.5 runs. Currently, there’s a sportsbook that offers run lines up to 5.5! You can find these bets at Bovada Sportsbook.

Totals (Over/Under) Betting

Totals betting, also known as over/under betting, involves wagering on the combined total number of runs scored by both teams in a game. The sportsbook sets a predetermined number, and you can bet on whether the actual combined score will be over or under that number.

For example, consider the following totals odds for a game between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals:

Bet Type Odds
Over 8.5 -110
Under 8.5 -110

In this example, if you bet on the over, the combined total runs scored by both teams must be 9 or more for your bet to win. If you bet on the under, the combined total runs must be 8 or fewer for your bet to be successful.

Tip: Try to focus your handicapping on totals. These bets have much lower limits than moneyline bets. Why do you think that is? Because they’re the easiest bet to beat and the bookies want to limit their exposure. The price is right too! You can usually find this bet listed at -110 or -105 odds, keeping your vigorish (house commission) down, opposed to laying the wood (favorites) which puts you in a tough spot should you fall behind on your wins and losses. If you lose a game at -150 odds,  you have to win 1.5 times just to break even! This is what the bookie wants you to do! Study statistics, ballparks and weather and bet like the wiseguys!

First Five Innings Betting

First five innings betting, also known as F5 betting, focuses on the outcome of the first five innings of a game rather than the full nine innings. This type of bet can be particularly useful when you have strong opinions about starting pitchers but are uncertain about the performance of the bullpen. You can place moneyline, run line, or totals bets for the first five innings.

For example, consider the following F5 moneyline odds for a game between the Houston Astros and the Oakland Athletics:

Team F5 Moneyline Odds
Houston Astros -125
Oakland Athletics +105

In this example, you are betting on which team will be ahead after the first five innings. If you bet on the Astros, they must be leading after the fifth inning for your bet to win. If you bet on the Athletics, they must be ahead or tied after the fifth inning for your bet to be successful.

Tip: As of 2023, starting pitchers are starting to throw less pitches/innings than ever. Since most starters go only five or six frames these days, betting a first five innings wager gives you more control over your outcome. How many times have you bet on a baseball game where your starter did good but the bullpen blew it? Too many! Almost all online sportsbooks offer five innings bets these days, but a good one to consider is GTBets Sportsbook. We have a special deal with them where they’ll give you a 125% real cash bonus up to $400 when you use bonus promo code PREDICTEM, please a free half point everytime you bet your favorite NFL, college football, NBA and NCAA basketball team. Plus, they offer a player rewards program. It’s the best deal on the internet, bar none! Click here to check them out!

Prop Bets

Prop bets, short for proposition bets, are wagers placed on specific events or occurrences within a game that are not directly tied to the final outcome. MLB prop bets can include individual player performance, such as a specific player hitting a home run or a pitcher achieving a certain number of strikeouts, as well as team performance, such as the total number of hits or errors.

For example, you might place a prop bet on whether Mike Trout will hit a home run in a particular game or whether Jacob deGrom will record more than 10 strikeouts in a specific matchup.

Tip: As noted above, totals are the easiest bets to beat. Prop bets are just as good. There’s TONS of information on the web that can give you the advantage with this type of wager. The problem is the vigorish is usually high and the sportsbook limit these bets because they can get crushed by an astute bettor who does his homework.


A parlay bet involves combining multiple individual bets into a single wager. In order for the parlay to be successful, all individual bets within the parlay must win. Parlays can be more challenging to win due to their all-or-nothing nature, but they offer the potential for higher payouts than placing individual bets.

For example, you could create a parlay bet consisting of three moneyline bets: the New York Yankees at -130, the Los Angeles Dodgers at -150, and the Chicago Cubs at +110. If all three of these teams win their respective games, your parlay bet would be a winner, resulting in a larger payout than if you had placed each bet separately.

Tip: One should avoid betting parlays until they’re a seasoned bettor. It’s difficult enough to win one game, much less multiple games. Pars are fun and pay great, but should be limited to a $5-foot-long max bet until you can prove you can win.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best strategy for betting on MLB games?

There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for MLB betting, as each bettor may have different preferences and risk tolerance. The best approach is to develop a solid understanding of the various bet types, stay informed about team and player performance, and be disciplined in managing your bankroll. Diversifying your bets and employing a combination of strategies can help improve your chances of success.

How can I improve my MLB betting skills?

Improving your MLB betting skills requires research, practice, and patience. Keep yourself informed about the latest team news, player injuries, and performance trends. Study statistics and historical data to identify patterns and potential betting opportunities. Experiment with different bet types and strategies to find what works best for you. Remember to manage your bankroll wisely and learn from both your wins and losses.

Is it better to bet on the underdog or the favorite in MLB games?

There is no definitive answer to this question, as each game presents unique circumstances and variables. Betting on the favorite generally offers a higher probability of winning but lower potential payouts, while betting on the underdog can result in larger payouts but carries a higher risk. The key is to carefully evaluate each matchup, considering factors such as pitching matchups, recent performance, and team strengths and weaknesses before making a decision.

What factors should I consider before placing an MLB bet?

Several factors can influence the outcome of an MLB game, and it’s essential to consider them before placing a bet. These factors include team performance and recent form, head-to-head history, starting pitchers and pitching rotations, injuries and roster changes, weather conditions, and venue (home or away). Taking these factors into account can help you make more informed decisions and improve your chances of winning.


In conclusion, understanding the various MLB bet types and their nuances is crucial for anyone looking to succeed in baseball betting. Experimenting with different bet types and strategies, staying informed about team and player performance, and managing your bankroll wisely can help you navigate the exciting world of MLB betting and increase your chances of beating the bookies. Speaking of increasing your chances of beating the bookies, your break-even percentage at -110 odds is 52.38%. Risking -110 is the standard at 99% of sportsbooks on the web. You can lower that to 51.19 though by making the switch to -105 reduced juice betting at BetAnySports! Why anyone would pay more for the very same odds is mind-boggling!