Our MLB odds page is designed to direct you to the best bet available so you can maximize your betting profits. Using our odds comparison engine, we post the betting lines from all the major sportsbooks. It's transparent, free, and better yet, you can capitalize on our sign-up deals if you're new to the sports betting game.
The rest of this page will feature explanations for the major types of bets and odds you'll see on this page, what they mean, and how you can go about betting on them.
That's the first number you'll see beside the game matchup. Referred to as a point spread in many other sports, the baseball betting term for these odds is known as the run line. It's a commonly deployed bet, particularly for beginners, because it's designed to level the playing field regardless of which side you bet on.
Unless you're looking at alternative betting lines for longer odds on games, the run line will always be plus or minus 1.5, with the favored team garnering the -1.5 and the underdog listed at +1.5. The numbers represent the number of runs the favorite must win in order to pay out a winning bet, or what the scoring margin has to be for an underdog to win. These odds ensure a push can't happen.
MLB odds on the run line depend on how the teams match up. If it's a relatively evenly matched face-off, the favorites will likely have a -1.5 run line somewhere around +150 odds or even higher, but we'll be conservative with this estimate.
Since it's projected to be a close game, the odds reward bettors for wagering on the favorites' run line. By contrast, the underdogs will have shorter odds on their +1.5 line in this scenario, probably around -170 or so. If it's a lopsided matchup, the favorites' line will be offered closer to +100 or so, and that of the underdogs should be in a similar ballpark.
Run lines are far different from spreads in other major sports, save for the NHL, whose spread is referred to as a puck line and is also plus or minus 1.5. But to stay on topic with the MLB, other leagues such as NFL or NBA put their spreads close to "even money" (+/-100) but take a little bit off the top, usually posting the lines with -110 odds or thereabouts for both spreads. It's what's known in sports betting lingo as "juice" or "vig" (short for vigorish). All this means is the sportsbook is shaving a little bit off the top of your wager as a sort of tax that you pay on your bet.
Because the run line is fixed on a certain number, as opposed to the highly varying spreads of football and basketball, the sportsbook needs to incentivize users to bet on either side by simply changing up the odds. It's more likely an underdog will cover +1.5 runs, but there's the superior upside of betting a favorite at -1.5. To circle back to the example from the prior subsection, let's say you bet on a favorite to cover -1.5 runs, and it's a fairly even matchup. If the odds are +150, and your team wins 3-1, it'd be a $100 bet to win $150.
Those aforementioned -110 odds you often see as juice/vig in other sports are in relation to bets of $100, too. Because the sportsbook is taxing you on either side of the spread, that $100 bet in football or basketball, regardless of which team you choose to wager on, results in only a $90.91 win. You'd need to therefore bet $110 to win $100; the odds aren't in your favor.
Spread odds can change once a game is live, and the same is true in baseball, wherein it's especially exciting when this happens with MLB betting odds. Live betting can be advantageous if you're watching the contest unfold live on TV. Sportsbooks will constantly be adjusting and fluctuating run lines as the innings wore on, and you can always find bargain deals for either team to cover.
The advantages of wagering on MLB games are similar to those of NHL odds. MLB is also markedly different than, say, horse racing, where you're betting on individual horses' odds to win or to finish in a particular place and don't really have any control over what happens live, because it's offer so quickly.
If you're not crazy about betting odds on certain MLB run lines, don't worry about it. When it comes to moneyline odds, they're a little easier to follow. A moneyline bet means you're simply selecting which team will win the game, regardless of the score.
Going this route is less forgiving than picking the spread when you're betting on the underdog, yet if you feel really good that an upset is going to happen, go ahead and take the flier on the less favored team to win. Perhaps you'd consider hedging a bet on the +/-1.5 if you go with the underdog moneyline. That way, there's some built-in insurance in case the outright win doesn't happen.
Moneylines are designed to reward bold underdog picks, but in MLB, it's actually a good strategy if you like a favorite but think it'll be a close game. Moneylines for even big baseball favorites are usually quite generous in comparison to other sports due to the presence of the -1.5 line and the inherent risk that comes with placing a wager on that.
The phrase "any given Sunday" really does apply to the NFL, yet it's almost equally as applicable to MLB odds. All this really means is the worst teams can beat the best in any given game. If you have a three-team parlay of heavy favorites, the odds will lengthen more so than in football or basketball, which helps increase your earning power as an MLB bettor.
In the last column of each game, you'll see the Over/Under or Total. This figure is the baseline the oddsmakers have set for the betting lines, and you have to predict whether the teams will combine to hit the Over or the Under of that total.
We mentioned the push phenomenon a little earlier. That's possible if the Over/Under is a whole number, but there will usually be a half-point in there to avoid that scenario. Say the Total for a game is at 219.5. It'd take a final score of, say, 110-109 (219 points) or less to hit the Under, whereas a more decisive 125-105 final tally, or a higher combined point total, would result in an Over winning bet.
It's tricky to nail the Over/Under. Savvy bettors look to see how teams are trending and which side of the Total they hit more often. That's a great starting point for deciding before you throw down money. MLB is once again unique in this regard, though.
In other sports, hitting the moving Over/Under target once the game is live is even harder and doesn't often merit the action due to the lack of upside. It's a markedly different story in baseball for live betting. At any point in MLB games, there's the possibility of either club erupting for a big inning. Any batting order can get hot, and that can quickly escalate the Over/Under during a live scenario.
On the other hand, maybe you notice before the game starts that one of the clubs has an excellent bullpen. It's worth keeping information like that in mind when you go to bet live on Over/Under odds because you can gain valuable insight and know when and when not to bet as a result.
It used to be that friends would take trips to Las Vegas and bet on their favorite team to win the World Series while frequenting the casinos. Now that legal sports betting is picking up across the U.S., that's no longer really the case, because major sportsbooks offer what are called futures, which are, to put it succinctly, long-term investments that won't pay off until a while into the future.
When it comes to MLB, futures wagers are most frequently placed on who will win the World Series. There are other types of futures props such as team wins, whether a team will make the playoffs, and more, but championship betting is the most common.
It takes a disciplined and patient bettor to take the plunge on futures. They're very different from regular odds because when you're betting on pro baseball on a weekly basis, you get the instant gratification of a winning payout. The action is happening now, and the wagers pertain to what's going on in that particular game or week of the league's schedule.
The odds for futures are far longer than single MLB games. It's a lot harder to predict who will win the World Series than, say, who will win an individual contest. Futures odds are constantly shifting throughout the season, but the sooner you jump on an eventual winner, chances are, the better bargain you'll get, which will increase your payout in the end if that franchise hoists the Commissioner's Trophy.
No need to get confused on this, because at abe, we have a whole separate MLB futures page that will feature conference winner props throughout the 2021 season. Take a visit there, and also check out our "How to Bet" hub for more sports betting tutorials that cover MLB and many of the other major sports leagues to help you increase your betting upside.