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MLB spreads revolve around run lines. While some sports feature a wide variety of different spreads, MLB’s run lines typically post a favorite listed at -1½ or an underdog listed at +½ . 

Bettors must then decide if they believe the favorite will win by two or more runs. 



MLB Betting Explained

MLB Betting Odds & Examples


When betting on baseball, the run line is equal to the point spread in other sports betting. The run line is always -1.5 or +1.5 for every game, with the underdog designated by the minus (-) sign. The favorite is always represented by the plus (+) sign in front of the odds. Here’s an example of how that would look:

Run Line Betting Example

TeamRun Line
New York Mets+1.5 (-130)
Toronto Blue Jays-1.5 (+110)

In the example, the Blue Jays are the favorite, and the Mets are the underdog. A bet on the favorite means they must win the game by two runs or more for the bet to be a winner. A bet on the Mets means they would either have to win the game or lose by no less than one run. 


When betting on the moneyline in baseball, the bettor wagers on the team they think will win the game. The sportsbook determines the favorite and the underdog by giving odds. For example:

Run Line Betting Example

Pittsburgh Pirates+120
Atlanta Braves-130

In this example, the Braves are favored over the Pirates. Therefore, a $100 wager on the Pirates would pay $120 since they are the underdog. For a bet on the Braves, the bettor would have to place a $130 wager to win $100.  


Bettors can make a wager on the total runs scored by both teams in the game with this type of bet. Here’s an example of how the line would look:

Run Line Betting Example

Boston Red Sox-1.5 O/U 7
New York Yankees+1.5

Placing a bet on the over means the bettor believes the total runs scored by both teams combined will be more than seven runs while betting on the under is a wager that the total runs scored in the game will be less than seven. 

MLB Betting Stats

Statistics are vital in helping to analyze matchups when handicapping any sport. There are stats available for every possible characteristic of the game in baseball. If you’re a stats junkie, this game will undoubtedly satisfy that craving. 

For MLB, there is specific information that is important to take into consideration when handicapping any matchup. Here are the most essential stats used for betting on baseball:

Pitcher ERA and WHIP

The starting pitchers in each game affect the odds more than any other factor. The most crucial stat for pitchers is their earned run average or ERA. This stat is the number of runs a pitcher allows per nine innings pitched. The lower the ERA, the better the pitcher is. This is a significant factor when choosing a winning team on a moneyline bet and the number of runs scored when betting the over/under. 

Team OBP

Just as ERA is an important stat for pitching, OBP, or on-base percentage is important for the stats of individual batters. Bettors should also be familiar with the team’s overall OBP. This stats measures how often the batters reach base, minus fielding errors, fielder’s choice, catcher interference, or fielder’s obstruction.

Average runs scored

This stat is one of the most important numbers when betting on baseball. This is the number of total runs scored divided by the number of games played. The team’s overall batting average doesn’t make a difference as long as the team is scoring runs. 

How to Bet on MLB

Betting on MLB spreads can lead to a profitable payday, since the run line is usually listed at 1½.  So, regardless of the teams playing, the run line remains unchanged. 

Whether the Dodgers are playing an underwhelming team (Pittsburgh Pirates) or a potent team (Houston Astros), bettors will only have to decide if L.A. can cover the 1½-run spread. 

If bettors decide to take an underdog, they are betting that the team either loses by less than two runs, or wins the game. 

Baseball tends to use a 1½-run spread because teams tend not to score as often as they do in other sports, such as basketball and football. 

Tips, Tricks And Advice For MLB Betting

Bettors need to know who’s pitching in a game before they wager. One lethal mistake bettors make is that they only look at a team’s win-loss record before formulating their decision. 

However, bad teams may still have an ace pitcher toeing the rubber, while a good team may have a lackluster pitcher on the mound. 

For example, Jacob deGrom was one of the best pitchers in baseball during the 2021 campaign, but the Mets weren’t good. 

Bettors also need to be aware of a team’s recent trends. Understanding how teams have played against the spread in recent pairings can provide a clear answer to which side bettors should place their wagers.

Don’t underestimate the spread. Bettors often forget that losing teams can still cover the spread, if they lose by less than two runs. 

Baseball games are often separated by just one run, so being aware of this is of the utmost importance. It’s something that one simply can’t overlook. 

Be aware of starting lineups up as well. The MLB season usually consists of a 162-game slate., meaning that players receive several days off to rest. 

Checking the lineup before placing your bets could completely change the selection if a major star is not playing. 

Finally, rolling with underdogs in baseball can lead to quality payouts. The worst teams win 50-60 games each season. This means the underdog still has a chance of winning in any given game, regardless of the opponent. If there’s one hot hitter or one strong pitcher, it can make a huge difference, leading to a win by the underdog.

MLB History

Major League Baseball (MLB) is a North American pro baseball league that was founded in 1903 with the consolidation of the two U.S. baseball associations, the National League (NL) and the American League (AL). 

Before the consolidation of the two leagues, the two teams were involved in what was known as the “baseball war.” The AL moved its teams from the midwest to the east and lured star players for the NL teams. 

An agreement was reached in 1903 to play a World Series, which was a matchup of the champions from each league. The National Commission was also established as the governing authority over MLB. The group was replaced with a single commissioner in 1921. 

On the field, the current game of MLB still resembles how the game was in the early 1900s. But off the field, the change has been significant. The highest-paid player in baseball is currently Max Scherzer, who makes a salary of $43.4 million per year. Team owners spend billions of dollars in player salaries each year, but make revenues far higher than that. 


Betting on baseball can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but difficult, since even the best teams lose a significant amount of games. There’s nothing given in MLB when it comes to winning and losing games. 

However, the betting can be profitable, as long as the bettor puts in the necessary research. 


How Often Do Favorites Win in Major League Baseball?

The favorites have won in the MLB 57.5% of the time.

What’s the Easiest Bet in Baseball?

The moneyline bet is the easiest to win, as the bettor is just picking the winner of the game. The disadvantage is that the payout is less than other wagers.

Can You Play a Spread and a Moneyline in the Same Parlay?

Other bets can be included in a parlay, but you can’t combine a spread bet and moneyline bet in the same parlay.

Is Home-Field Advantage Important When Betting on MLB?

Home field is important, but not the main thing to take into consideration. However, it’s valuable information as even the worst teams in the league will win at least half their games at home.

When’s the Best Time to Bet on MLB?

If looking to place a pre-game wager, the best time is usually as soon as the lines are released. Heavy favorites will sometimes lose a lot of value overnight, so it’s best to place your bet as soon as possible.
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