MLB Odds and Sports Betting Lines

Fact Checked by Peter Mooney

MLB Odds – How to bet online on MLB games

With so many games in an MLB season, the demand for up-to-date odds is high. But for novice bettors, understanding the odds and how to place a bet might be intimidating. In this guide, we present a simple explanation of how to bet on baseball and spot the most competitive odds.

You might think most people bet on who will win or lose an MLB game, but many punters take advantage of alternative odds at the sportsbooks, such as the margin of victory (known as the runline) or the total number of runs scored by both teams.

Read on to find out more, sign up with one of our recommended sportsbooks to take advantage of the welcome offer, then place your first bets.

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MLB moneyline odds

The easiest betting market to understand is simply backing which team you think will win. The amount of profit you make or lose is dependent on the odds offered by your sportsbook. The oddsmakers spend a lot of time researching the two teams, looking at recent form, head-to-head-stats, player injuries, trades, and so forth to determine who is most likely to win. As a result, you get shorter odds on the favorites and longer odds for the underdog.

In baseball, just as in other sports, these odds are presented in the moneyline format. The favorite is shown as a negative number, and this figure is the amount you must bet to win a $100 profit. Meanwhile, the underdog is shown with a positive number, and this is the amount of profit you make if you bet $100.

Let’s take an MLB example. You wish to bet on the Red Sox against the Orioles. The Red Sox are strong favorites, so you might see a moneyline like this:

  • Red Sox -205
  • Orioles +450

These odds show just how much the sportsbook believes the Boston side will win. If you back them with a $205 bet, you will win $100. Alternatively, if you feel the Orioles have a chance, bet $100, and you could make a $450 profit. You don’t have to wager the full amount but can bet and win a proportion of the odds.

Runline betting

The runline is the MLB version of the point spread (just as the puck line is the NHL term). The spread is a handicap system whereby the sportsbook determines how many runs it thinks a team will win by. Baseball is relatively low-scoring, so the runline will often be 1.5.

Point spread bets are popular because you can find opportunities to make a decent profit even if the main moneyline bets are not attractive.

You will get odds on how likely it is for the favorite team to win by a margin over that 1.5 run spread, which means at least two runs. Our example might look like this: Red Sox at -110 on a -1.5 spread, meaning if you bet $110 and they win by two or more runs, you make $100.

Alternatively, you can cover the spread and back the Orioles at -110 on a +1.5 spread. In this case, you will bet $110 and win $100 if the Red Sox win by fewer than two runs or if the Orioles pull off a shock victory.

Over/under MLB odds

Also known as the totals bet, the over/under in MLB is when you forecast whether the total number of runs in a game is over or under the line set by the sportsbook.

When setting the line, the sportsbook takes various factors into account. For instance, some ballparks are harder to score in, while the players in the team for your chosen game will also impact the line.

For example, the line might be set at 7.5 runs, with the over/under odds at -110, so that to win $100 (or part thereof) you must place a $110 wager.

You will find over/under or totals bets in other sports, but the line will change. In basketball, it may be something like 195, reflecting the high number of points scored in a game. In soccer, however, it could be as low as 1.5.


PJ is an avid sports fan and has been writing about the UFC, NBA and NFL for USBR and other sites for over 3 years. Some of his favorite sportsbooks are Caesars, Fanduel, and BETMGM. He is always looking out for the latest sportsbook promos available at these books and more.