Want to Bet on Baseball? Baseball Betting Explained

Do you know how to bet on baseball? The OddsIndex MLB betting guide is your ticket to more value and greater potential profits. Learn about baseball bets here.

Okay, you love baseball, but you're new to the whole betting scene. Maybe you’re 10 years late to the party and finally got around to watching Moneyball? Regardless of what got you here, the important thing is that you’re here now, so welcome to the ultimate MLB betting guide where we look at baseball betting explained.

Moneyball may have brought the stats revolution under the spotlight when it comes to baseball, but Sabermetrics - the study of in-game baseball data - has been around for decades. Baseball is built on a staggering foundation of statistics, covering everything short of how many times Babe Ruth scratched his nose.

Luckily, you don’t need to be an MIT grad to decipher ‘The Baseball Code’ and bet successfully. In the following sections, OddsIndex will take you from the batter’s box to first base and beyond. As well as showing you how to use the best baseball betting sites and unlock free bets, we’ll give you some tips on how to maximize your potential if you're looking to start betting on baseball. So, if you’re ready, let’s start swinging like Mike Trout.

The Basics: Baseball Bet Types

You can’t bet on baseball if you don’t understand the propositions being put to you. So, to help you avoid swinging and missing, here are the most popular baseball bets you can make online:

Moneyline Bets

Moneyline baseball bets can also be called outright win bets. This means that you’re backing a team to win, although I'd avoid backing the Pittsburgh Pirates no matter how good the odds are. As we’ll explain later on, each team has certain odds and, in almost all situations, there will be a favorite and an underdog.

Run Line Bets

A run line baseball bet is where one team starts at a disadvantage. In other words, a team has to claim victory by a certain margin in order for you to win a bet. For example, the run line on the Los Angeles Dodgers could be +2. This means they have to win by two clear runs in order for you to claim on your bet.

Over/Under Bets

Also known as total bets, over/under wagers set a line and your job is to say whether the result will be over or under it. In general, totals bets focus on the number of runs scored in a game. For example, the line for a game between the Cubs and Mets could be Over +7/Under -7. Taking the over means you believe the total number of runs will be more than seven, while the under means you think it will be below seven.

Prop Bets

Prop bets are wagers that focus on individual outcomes. In other words, they’re events that don’t necessarily impact the game as a whole. Props are typically split into two categories: team and player. Some popular MLB prop bets are: X team to score the first run, X team’s total number of runs, will there be a run scored in X inning, total number of runs/strikes by a player, will any player hit a home run, etc. An example of this is an NRFI bet, fans no longer need to be on the edge of their seat for 9 innings with the fast-paced prop bet. 

In-Play Bets

In-play wagers are also known as live bets. They’re called in-play because they can be made while a game is in progress. You can speculate on a variety of outcomes, but the main thing to keep in mind is that the bets are made in the heat of the moment, which means the odds are always changing.


Parlays are bets that combine multiple outcomes. For example, you could bet on the result of three MLB games taking place on the same night. You can bet on each game individually or you can roll them up into one and make a parlay. If you make a parlay, each pick has to be correct. If just one pick is incorrect, the whole bet loses. The benefit to making parlays is that the odds are a lot longer and, so, you can win more cash.

Futures Bets

If you're patient and can play the long game, this method of betting could be a perfect fit for you. These are season-long bets that cover overall outcomes. Say you’re betting on something that will happen in the future. For example, you can bet on a team to win the World Series or for the AL Cy Young race.

Looking at Lines: Baseball Odds Explained

Something else you need to consider when you’re betting on baseball is the odds. Otherwise known as betting lines, the odds tell you how likely a team or individual is to complete a certain task. These lines are expressed as positive or negative numbers.

For example, the Yankees might be listed as -200 favorites against the Red Sox. The figure -200 basically means that you need to put $200 on to win $100. Of course, you don’t have to stake $200, it can be any amount you like.

You can bet $100 and win $50 or stake $25 and win $12.50. However, US betting odds tell you how much you need to bet in order to win $100. So, in this example, -200 means that you need to be $200 to make a $100 profit. That’s why it’s best to explain baseball odds in this way.

Favorites vs. Underdogs

Everyone loves an underdog, right? This is especially the case in betting on baseball. If we stick with this example and say the betting line for the Red Sox is +100, that means you’ll win $100 for every $100 you stake. If the odds for the Red Sox were +300, you’d win $300 for every $100 you wager. This is how US baseball betting odds are decided and, in turn, how you can determine who is the favorite.

If you need to bet more on one team than the other to win $100, then that team is the favorite. So, in the above scenario, the Yankees are favorites at -200 because you need to bet $200 to win $100. In contrast, you only need to bet $100 on the Red Sox to get the same return.

It’s also important to keep in mind that the odds are just a bookmaker’s opinion. These opinions may be based on statistics, results, form, and experience. But bookmakers aren’t always right. So, as we’ll explain later in this guide on how to bet on baseball, you should be looking for spots where the odds don’t align with your analysis of a game.

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Betting on Baseball Games

Now we’ve covered the basics of baseball betting, let’s walk you through the process. You can use the following steps to go from batter’s box to first base and beyond:

  • Read our online sportsbook reviews. These reviews say what operators have to offer in terms of baseball bets, bonuses, live streams, statistics, payment options, and more.
  • Once you’ve found a baseball betting site, use our secure registration link to create your account. There will be certain state regulations you need to follow. For example, if you’re using a New Jersey sportsbook, you have to be in the state and aged 21 or older. You can learn about the important terms and conditions in our US sports betting reviews.
  • Complete the registration form at your chosen baseball online sportsbook and enter one of our promo codes, if required.
  • Log in, find a game, fill out a betting slip with your chosen odds, then place your bet (yes, it’s really that easy).

Hit a Home Run with Baseball Betting Bonuses

One of the best ways to hit a proverbial home run and score even if your bets miss is to look for bonuses. There are dozens of potentially lucrative baseball betting promotions out there, all you have to do is find them.

The good news is that we do all the hard work for you. As well as reviewing the best baseball betting sites, we provide updates when new promos are announced. So, naturally, it’s in your best interests to come back to us on a regular basis to see if there are any new baseball betting bonuses up for grabs.

You can also log in to your betting accounts and check for yourself. Whichever way you keep an eye on things, you’ll find the following offers at the leading US sportsbooks:

Parlay Boost: Bet on multiple baseball games and you can unlock boosts that will increase your profit by a certain amount.

Free Baseball Bets: These promos are often linked to deposits. For example, you might be asked to reload your account with $10 to receive a free $5 bet on the next MLB game.

Enhanced Odds: The top US sportsbooks will always offer generous odds. However, there are times when you can get even more value thanks to enhanced odds. These baseball promos are when the bookmaker increases the standard line by a point or two.

Bet Insurance: Also known as cashback or risk-free bets, these offers allow you to get a rebate if your pick loses. For example, if you bet on the Red Sox to win and they don’t, an insurance bonus will see you get the stake back (up to a certain amount) as a free wager.

Baseball Betting Strategy

Okay, so we’re almost at fourth base. The plate is in sight and you’re about to score a home run. To help you get down the final stretch without falling, here are some quick baseball betting strategy tips you can use each time you place a wager:

Don’t Swing too Hard

In simple terms, don’t bet more than you can afford. Make sure your stake is a small percentage of your total bankroll.

Look for Hidden Value

We referenced odds earlier in this guide and said they’re based on a bookmaker’s analysis. That’s true, but as we know, the bookies aren’t always right. If you can find odds that don’t match your take on a game, they could represent hidden value. For example, if the Mets are +200 but you think they’re a +100 shot, this is a smart bet because you’re getting more value, according to your take on the game. Alternatively, you may prefer an early future bet on MVP odds if you're familiar with player statistics. 

Do Your Research

Most people bet on instinct, but the pros use data to guide their decisions. This, of course, doesn’t always work out the way it was meant to. However, if you can compare the stats between two teams, look at recent results, scroll through the starting line-ups, and consider the weather conditions, you stand a better chance of being right.

So, that’s it that's baseball betting explained. We’re back home after a trip around the diamond. Now you know what to aim for and have a good baseball betting strategy, go out there and start swinging in the world of MLB bets, bonuses, and more. For the latest and best odds, check out our odds comparison tool to be sure you don't miss out.