How to bet on MLB?

How To Bet on MLB?

The MLB is not only the oldest major league in the US, but also the oldest professional league in the world. With over a century of history, the MLB has naturally built a massive fan base. It also translates well into betting, and sportsbooks offer a nice variety of MLB betting lines and odds.


This guide will take you through the basics for MLB betting. Learn how to read MLB betting lines and MLB betting odds, the best MLB betting trends, and the top markets for baseball betting.


MLB History


Professional baseball in the US began with two separate leagues: the American League (AL) in the Midwest and the National League (NL) in the East. In 1903, the then-rivals agreed to a merger, establishing the Major League Baseball (or MLB for short). The AL and NL champions faced off in the Baseball World Series to determine the MLB champion.


Despite the merger, the NL and AL remained as separate entities until 2000, when the two leagues officially became part of the same company. But while the other three major leagues in the US have their teams split into two conferences, the MLB teams remain split in two leagues.


The MLB regular season is one of the longest in professional sports. Each team plays 162 games, almost twice the number of games in the NBA and NHL regular seasons (82). As you can imagine, it’s almost impossible for players to keep up with that pace. Teams rotate between five starter pitchers over the course of the regular season, allowing some time to rest for the others. The 2021 season set a new MLB record with 396 different starter pitchers. This rotation is extremely important to keep in mind, as it has a huge impact in MLB betting lines and MLB betting odds.


The MLB regular season begins in March and goes until early October, when the playoffs begin. The World Series takes place between late October and early November.


As mentioned earlier, the MLB is split into two leagues. There are 30 teams in total – 15 in the NL and 15 in the AL. Each league has three divisions consisting of five teams: the East, Central and West. 


In 2022, following a new collective bargaining agreement, the MLB changed its playoff format and expanded the playoff field to six teams in each league. The lowest-seeded division champion plays in the Wild Card round, which also includes the best three non-division winners. Wild Card series are played in a best-of-3 format. The winners advance to the Divisional round in a fixed bracket, with no reseeding. Divisional round series are played in a best-of-5 format, with the winners advancing to face off in the League Championship Series (LCS). The LCS has a best-of-7 format, and the winners qualify to play in the World Series.


MLB Betting Explained


If you want to bet on the MLB, then these are the most common betting markets available at sportsbooks:


  • Moneyline: wagering on which team will win the match. The most popular betting market among both newcomers and experienced bettors.
  • Over/Under: another very popular betting market in which punters wager on the combined scoreline going over or under the MLB betting line provided by the sportsbook.
  • Future Bets: just as the name suggests, it has to do with betting on something that can happen in the future: which team will win the World Series, the number of total wins for a team at the end of the regular season, which teams will make the playoffs or not, who will win the MVP, who will be the Rookie of the Year, and who will win the Cy Young Award.
  • Point Spread: in a point spread bet, each team is awarded a number, which is negative for the favorite and positive for the underdog. To win the bet, the team must cover the spread. The favorite can only cover the spread by winning the game with a margin larger than its negative handicap. The underdog wins the bet if it loses the game by a margin smaller than its positive handicap, or if it wins the game by any score.
  • Prop Bets: a particular highlight for MLB betting, since baseball has a lot of possibilities. A prop, short for proposition bet, allows you to wager on game events that aren’t necessarily tied to the match score. Some props for baseball: the number of home runs in a game, the number of strikeouts, the number of runs by a single player, the number of hits by a player, stolen bases, and so on.
  • Parlay Bet: in a parlay, you combine multiple bets into one, and their odds are then multiplied. However, you will only win the parlay if each individual bet wins. If a single one loses, the parlay is over.


MLB Betting Tips


  • Keeping up with the rotation over the course of the season is arguably the most important thing in MLB betting. As we mentioned earlier, the 162-game schedule requires at least five starting pitchers for every team, and knowing which pitcher will take the mound is absolutely crucial.
  • Explore as many betting markets as possible. The MLB can be extremely unpredictable due to the sheer number of games played, so spreading your bets among different markets which offer more valuable odds is a good strategy to profit.
  • Controlling your bankroll is extremely important, and even more when it comes to MLB betting. Since there are so many games in a season, it can be easy to lose track of your bets. Keep a spreadsheet to track your wins, losses and wagered amount.


MLB Betting Examples


  • The Houston Astros opened the 2022 World Series as the favorite, listed at -190 odds. It means that you would need to wager $190 on the Astros to win back $100. The Philadelphia Phillies were listed at +155, which means that a $100 bet would win $155.
  • The Aeros were favored to win the first game with a -1.5 spread at -160. In order to cover the spread, Houston would need to win by at least 2 runs over Philadelphia. The Phillies were +1.5 underdogs at +135, and would cover the spread with a win or a 1-point loss.
  • The over/under betting line for the World Series opener was 6.5, with the over paying -120 (bet $120 to win $100) and the under paying +100 ($100 won for every $100 bet). If the Astros and Phillies combined for 7-plus runs, then the over bet would win. If, however, the two teams combined for 6 or fewer runs, then the under would hit instead.


Pros vs Cons of MLB Betting




  • It’s a long season, with thousands of games to bet on. The MLB offers bettors many chances to win over the course of the year, as long as they are able to keep control of their bankroll.
  • The MLB has a great variety of betting markets as well. With the right baseball knowledge, punters will be able to find good MLB betting lines with valuable MLB betting odds.




  • There is a downside to the MLB season being this long, however. Even top teams can be somewhat inconsistent, especially with roster rotations. Upsets happen quite often, but predicting them isn’t exactly easy.
  • Without adequately controlling the bankroll, bettors can run out of funds by wagering on too many games. Manage it the right way and strike the right balance between good odds and bets with a good chance to win.




Betting in the MLB means that you will have thousands of opportunities over the course of the season to win. As one of the longest seasons in professional sports, and with the biggest number of regular season matches, the MLB doesn’t lack opportunities. Baseball has quite a few betting markets available as well, allowing bettors to carefully analyze and choose the best option. The sheer number of games might look intimidating, as that’s a lot of information to keep up with, but it’s doable with the right amount of commitment. 


If you want, you can also check out our How To Bet on NHL? section to widen your betting opportunities and get the most out of other sports! 

FAQs: How To Bet on MLB?

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