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How to Read Baseball Odds and Betting Lines

We take a look at how to read baseball odds and betting lines to give you the knowledge to rack up those winnings when wagering on your favorite teams.

Understanding how to read Baseball odds is absolutely vital to know before placing your bets.

With the growth of online sports betting, being able to read money line odds and understanding the betting line are important. Unlike NFL point spread bets and NCAA brackets, baseball betting is a little more complicated. Before each season begins, sports bettors typically have questions such as how do I read MLB odds, what does -110 mean in betting, and is there a specific scores and odds app?

Placing a wager on baseball is unique compared to wagering on other sports as there is no traditional point spread for a baseball game. With baseball bets, sportsbooks focus on the run line, run totals, and, most frequently, the money line. With a money line bet, players are choosing which team wins the game outright, a simple straight bet. The total runs from either team or how many runs a team wins by doesn’t come into it. It is just who will win the game. The caveat to this is that sportsbooks will not offer the same odds to win between the team leading the division and the team struggling at the bottom. However, you may want a more advanced wager for baseball, like calculating baseball parlay playoffs as you seek a big payout.

You may have heard of American odds, decimal odds and fractional odds and wonder how all of this applies to an MLB sports bet. The good news is, the betting odds for a Red Sox game are straightforward and you can be setup placing your baseball wager in no time.

This article helps to explain baseball betting meanings by looking at how to read odds, and baseball betting lines. We will also run down and look at the different bet types such as MLB prop bets, money lines, point spreads, run line bets, and more. It’s essential when placing a bet that you are using one of the best baseball sportsbooks and MLB betting apps so you can bet legally and safely. Understanding how baseball odds work can make a big difference to your chances of winning money.

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Reading the Odds: Common Baseball Betting Options

Before you begin to bet on which team you think will win the game, there are many things to consider before placing a baseball wager. Factors such as scores and odds, moneyline vs. spread, and what do the plus sign and minus sign mean all should be considered before you confirm your bet. We are going to show you exactly how to read mlb odds below.

Baseball odds explained

First, let’s take a look at understanding baseball odds:

Money Line

This is the most common way people bet on baseball, and the reason is that this type of bet is the most straightforward. Put simply, you are placing a wager on the team who you think will win, so that baseball betting tip you have got will come in handy here. The moneyline odds will be displayed with the away team first or at the top of the screen and the home team second or at the bottom. The team that has the +  sign reveals who the underdog is, and the (-) sign is the favorite, which is how the numbers work with point spreads.

A lot of people feel you get the most value from betting on the underdog. The number visible behind the + sign is what you will win if you bet $100. On the other hand, if you like the matchup’s favorite, you will need to bet the number after the – sign to win $100.

A typical example of what the numbers would look like is as follows:

  • Los Angeles Dodgers (-150)
  • Houston Astros (+130)

In this example, the Dodgers are predicted to win. So, the -150 indicates you would need to bet $100 to win $150 on the Los Angeles Dodgers. If the Dodgers win, you will get $100 and your original stake, but you are $150 down if the Dodgers lose. If you want to make a good profit on this bet, you will need to increase the amount you wager on the Dodgers as they are projected to win the match.

The number next to the Houston Astros (+130) indicates you can wager $100 to win $130. If the Astros win, you will get $130 plus the initial stake, while if they lose, you are down $100. In this example, the odds are shown using dime lines. This is where a sportsbook uses a 10 cent spread between the favorite and the underdog.

Essentially a money line is major league baseball handicapping by assigning an advantage between the two teams. It is commonly done via point spread, but it is through moneylines, and run line totals with baseball. So, if you are wondering, what does -200 mean in betting? It shows that whatever team that number is listed against is a 200 point favorite in the game.

If you are new to gambling and betting on your first MLB game, we recommend starting with a moneyline bet. They are far more straightforward than a spread bet and a nice way to get started with some MLB games before moving on to more advanced bet types.

Run Line

As we have mentioned, betting spread is not used for baseball; however, the run line is the closest thing to it. The most traditional run line is 1.5. The favorite on the money line will be shown as -1.5 on the run line. This means the team laying -1.5 runs will need to win by two or more, or you risk losing your bet.

Turning it around, the underdog on the money line will be +1.5 on the run line, so they have to win the game or only lose by one run. (Yes, your bet could come down to one baseball run). A typical run line example would like the below:

  • Los Angeles Dodgers +1.5 (-140)
  • Houston Astros – 1.5 (+130)

As it is often the case that baseball games are decided by one run, or the underdog comes out on top, the baseball odds vary dramatically from the money line. Run lines are a great way to bet if you want to reduce the risk of betting on the favorite. You will typically find many favorites in the MLB that can be -200 or more late in the year. If you were to wager on those teams on the run line, you could reduce the amount of money required to bet relative to what you will win.

Whenever you see the phrase ‘MLB betting lines’ this is what is being referred to. A betting line can be found wagering on all sports, whether it is the Super Bowl in the NFL or an international sport such as Soccer. As always the lines will show implied probability in terms of who the bookmaker feels is the favorite to win positive odds and negative odds.

Reading baseball odds guide

Total Over/Under Explained

Totals are also referred to as over/under bets, and it is you predicting how many runs you think will be scored by both teams in the game. Sportsbooks will set a run total for each game, and bettors can decide to bet on both teams to score more or less than the number that has been established.

You should be aware that any runs scored in an extra-innings are counted towards the final total. If a scenario develops where the game ends, and the runs are exactly what the sportsbook set the total as this is a push and your bet will be refunded.

For example:


Over 8 -120

Under 8 + 100

Using the above, if you wanted the over, you would need to wager $100 to get $120, but under would only need a $100 bet to get winnings of $100.


You have the option to combine numerous teams into one wager, often up to ten teams with baseball parlays. However, these are very difficult as all of the teams must win or you lose the wager. These are popular as the payouts are often higher, and you reduce the risk. On the flip side, the likelihood of winning a parlay bet is small and much lower than betting on any single game.

For example, if you like the look of five teams and they are listed at -120 on the money line. If you make a parlay bet on the five teams and four win, but one loses, you lose the bet. However, if you were to bet on each game separately, you would have won $280 in total. MLB Parlays are very difficult to win, so it all depends on how the odds look for each game and how much you are willing to risk for a potentially higher reward.


Individual sportsbooks will have proposition bets for specific games or for the whole season for a player to choose from. There will be odds for loads of different things such as the MVP, the number of strikeouts a pitcher will have, how many home runs a player will make, etc. Make sure you know the starting pitchers and other players are active and then you can bet on individual stats.

These are more straightforward than even money lines and can be enjoyable. However, sportsbooks are wise to these more quirky types of bets and will offer 30+ cents on the action. As a result, you will need to hit a high percentage to make a profit on props bets.


This is another long-term type of bet, and the potential winnings are huge. In baseball, bettors will often take a punt on the World Series’s eventual winner, but there are opportunities to bet on each division winner. If you are going to make a futures wager, you need to be willing to show some patience. Some of your money will be tied up into a bet for nearly seven months. It is nice to have at least one futures bet for the season, but if you want to make some profit, more money will be won wagering on individual games.

Now you know how to read baseball odds and can understand baseball gambling lines, you can combine this knowledge with a good baseball betting strategy.

Season Run Totals

Season win totals are a type of futures wager when betting on baseball. Before the season starts, oddsmakers will set a number of wins for every team and then give you the choice of whether you think they will go over or under that amount. If you are an avid baseball watcher and follow the sport closely during the offseason, you can typically find some strong bets before the action gets underway. It adds an element of fun as you can see how your bet is developing during the season and whether your pre-season predictions were overly optimistic or you didn’t have enough faith in whatever team you bet on.

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What does -3 mean in betting?

This is the money line, and the (-) sign next to a team indicates that they are three-point favorites for that particular game. This means the team must win by two or more runs or cover the 3 point run line.

What do odds of +200 mean?

A moneyline listed as +200 means you would make a profit of $200 if you made a winning bet of $100.

What does +1.5 mean in baseball?

If you have bet on a team with +1.5 listed next to them, that team must either win the match outright or only lose by a single run for that bet to win.

Does extra innings count in betting?

The game must be played for at least 8.5 innings if the home team is leading for any player prop wagers. If total bases have been reached, then the relevant bet will be graded.

Can you bet on college baseball?

Yes, you can wager on college baseball as long as it is legal in the state you are playing. However, be aware that not all online sportsbooks provide odds for college games.