Introduction to Betting on the MLB

Introduction to MLB betting

Most Common MLB Bets

There are loads of intricate and exciting ways to bet on baseball, but some of the most popular markets for betting include:

Money Line

The money line is the simplest bet in sport and the easiest to understand and get started with for beginners in the world of betting. With the money line we are simply choosing which team will win the game, and if they win the game, then we win our bet.

Run Line

In baseball, as with any sport, we are going to come across some games which are one-sided, at least on paper. That can make them a bit unappealing from a betting point of view - the favorite’s odds are too short to make them worth the investment and the underdog is a risky bet and a very unlikely winner.

This is where the run line comes into play. With the run line, the bookies are making an attempt to level the playing field by giving the less favored team a head start by a certain number of runs. We then have to decide which team will win once this virtual handicap is applied to the final score. The idea is to try to present us with a 50/50 choice between the teams, and the run line makes any game interesting for betting, regardless of how one-sided the contest might be.

For example, if we saw the Miami Marlins against the Boston Red Sox, there appears to be only one winner. The bookies may set the run line at 3.5, meaning they expect the Red Sox to win by 3 or 4 runs. We then have the choice of betting on the Red Sox -3.5 runs, or the Marlins +3.5. If the Red Sox win by 4 or more, the Red Sox -3.5 bet wins, while if the Marlins keep the score within 3 runs, or even win, then the Marlins +3.5 bet is the winner.

Total Runs

In some cases, we may be completely undecided about the outcome of a match in terms of the actual winner but have a good idea about the strengths and weaknesses of both teams and how that will correlate into the type of match we should see.

The bookies will have looked at the game themselves and worked out an average number of runs they expect to see from the game. We then have the choice of whether there will be over or under that number of runs in the game. If we are presented with the option of over/under 8.5 runs, as an example, we are either going to win or lose, whereas if the options are over/under 8 runs and the game finishes with exactly 8, then in most cases we will just get our money back and the bet will be void.

The MLB Season


Before the long regular season starts, it’s important for the players to get some game practice and some training under their belts in order to be at their best when the regular season begins. This comes in the form of Spring Training, as well as a series of exhibition games played from the end of the February up until the beginning of the regular season towards the end of March. This period allows coaches and general managers to finalize their rosters, move players on, sign free agents, and trade in order to bolster their ranks and make a go at the postseason.

Regular Season

The Major League Baseball regular season is the longest in terms of the number of games played of all of the major sports in America, with each team playing an astonishing 162 games over a period of six months. The first game of the season is towards the end of March/start of April, and the regular season continues all the way until the end of September.

MLB players don’t get much time to rest, with games on nearly every day of the year, and the squads are rotated thoroughly throughout the year in order to give their side the best chance of getting the 90+ wins needed to have a good chance at reaching the playoffs.

In the middle of the regular season is the annual all-star game, with the best players from the American and National Leagues going head to head in a one-off game - giving the fans a great chance to see all of the biggest talents get together in a showpiece exhibition game.


After the marathon of the regular season, the top eight teams - four from each league - go into the playoffs with the chance to play in the World Series. Each league is split into three divisions (east, west, and central), and the winners of each division automatically make it through to the divisional rounds. The two sides in each league with the best records that didn’t win their division face off in a one-off wildcard match, with the winner progressing to the divisional round.

The divisional rounds see the wildcard winner plus the three divisional winners from each league face off in a best of five match series for a place in the League Championship Series, which is a best of seven game series for a place in the World Series and a shot at becoming the world champions.

World Series

The biggest event in baseball, the World Series crowns the world champions of baseball. After 170+ games of baseball, it comes down to a maximum of seven games played over eight days towards the end of October to decide who that year’s champions will be. The current champions are the Houston Astros, who won their first-ever title in 2017.

MLB Betting Tips

With games on almost every day from the beginning of the season to the end of the World Series, there are plenty of opportunities to bet on baseball, but how do we make sure we are giving ourselves the best chance of coming away with a profit?

One of the most important facts to remember with baseball is that form isn’t everything. With such a congested schedule, the starters for each game change dramatically from game to game, and the hopes and chances of a team will vary quite substantially depending on who is starting at pitcher. A team may appear to be on a great winning run, but a necessary change of personnel in that position can make that form basically redundant.

It’s not only game to game that this has an effect, as teams will throw in relief pitchers as and when needed, which could change the odds for a variety of markets and even for the overall game itself.

Baseball is a game of statistics, and understanding those stats and how the changes of personnel will affect a side’s chance of getting runs and even hits could give you an edge over the bookies. Making use of statistics, in general, is a must if you are going to make smart baseball bets.

Most important of all, however, is where you place your baseball bets. The team at Top 10 Sports Betting Sites has been through top MLB bookies to find those that give you the best chance of winning from your baseball betting, so make sure to check out the chart page for the best baseball betting sites out there.


About the Author

Dan Bradley

Ever since he was 6 years old and made the fatal mistake of asking his Dad, "What's that on the TV?", Dan has been engrossed by football, and many other sports have since had a similar impact on him. Dan has been blogging and writing about sport for the last few years, usually looking at things from the perspective of a bettor, but most of all as a true sports fanatic. From golf to ten pin bowling: You name it, Dan’ll have an opinion on it.



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Top 3 Bookies

February 2021

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