Betting MLB Moneylines: Tips, Tricks & Trends

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We’re going to examine how betting MLB moneylines works. We’ll also analyze tips, tricks and trends to help you win more moneyline bets when betting on professional baseball games this season.

MLB moneylines are the most common way to bet on baseball games. However, there are some tips and tricks that bettors need to understand to have the best chance at being profitable over the long-term.

We’ll start our guide by explaining how betting MLB moneylines works using an example.

How to Bet on MLB Moneylines

MLB moneylines are bets on which team will win a baseball game. There are no ties in MLB, so one team will always emerge victorious. Extra innings count when betting MLB moneylines.

Here’s an example of a moneyline bet in baseball:

  • MLB Moneyline Bet: Braves (-160) vs. Brewers (+135)

When betting MLB moneylines, you need to understand how the odds work. With American betting odds, negative odds equal how much you need to bet to win $100 (bet $160 to win $100 on the Braves) and positive odds equal how much you’ll win on a $100 bet (bet $100 to win $135 on the Brewers).

The favorite (negative odds) has a higher implied win probability and therefore will pay less.

It’s not uncommon for favorites in baseball to have big MLB moneylines (-200 odds or higher).

Why You Should Fade Big MLB Moneylines

The reason you should fade big MLB moneylines is because of implied probability.

If you’re betting MLB moneylines, understanding implied probability is essential. If your average odds on MLB moneylines are -200, you need to win 66.7% of your bets to just breakeven.

Even the best MLB teams typically don’t win that often. In the last three MLB seasons, one team has had a winning percentage above .667 (Dodgers went 111-51 / .685 in 2022). In the last three MLB seasons, only six teams have had a winning percentage below .350 (35%). The majority of MLB teams will have a win rate in the 40%-60% range, so betting big MLB moneylines is a recipe for disaster.

Tips for Betting MLB Moneylines
Tips for Betting MLB Moneylines

MLB Moneylines: Favorites vs. Underdogs

This is a question of value. Betting favorites or underdogs in MLB isn’t inherently wrong. It comes down to a value proposition. You need to answer whether you’re gaining any perceived value by betting on a team to win in baseball. If you’re unable to answer that question, you shouldn’t be formulating your own picks.

What’s a value bet or +EV bet (positive expected value bet) in MLB?

Let’s use the Braves (-160) vs. Brewers (+135) example. We first convert the odds to implied probabilities using a betting calculator. The Braves have an implied probability of 61.5% to win and the Brewers have an implied probability of 42.6% to win. If you predict the Braves have a 70% chance to win, there’s value on the Braves moneyline odds, as the implied probability is lower than your assessment.

If you give the Braves a 70% chance to win, the Brewers have a 30% chance to win. Since the Brewers have an implied probability of 42.6% based on the odds, there’s no value, as the implied probability is higher than your assessment. There can be value on favorites and underdogs in MLB betting.

One benefit of betting underdogs over favorites is bettors can profit with a lower winning percentage.

MLB Moneylines Betting Trends

Some of the worst teams in baseball can be great to target on MLB moneylines. Last season, six teams made over $1000 if you blindly bet them to win every game. Three of those teams had losing records.

Here are the most profitable teams on the moneyline from the 2023 MLB season:

  • Baltimore Orioles (101-61) / +$3134)
  • Washington Nationals (71-91 / +$2060)
  • Cincinnati Reds (82-80 / +$1621)
  • Milwaukee Brewers (92-70 / +$1511)
  • Detroit Tigers (78-84 / +$1464)
  • Pittsburgh Pirates (76-86 / +$1287)

Four of the most profitable teams on the moneyline didn’t even make the MLB playoffs. One of the main reasons for this is public perception. The public often bet on “popular” teams and fade the weak teams. However, when it comes to betting MLB moneylines, that’s hasn’t historically been a profitable decision.

Tips and Tricks for Betting MLB Moneylines

We’re going to look at some tips for winning more on MLB moneylines this season.

  • Public Betting Data (Consensus): Analyzing public betting percentages is a good starting point to identify teams that are being overvalued or undervalued each day. Here at Sports Hub, you’ll be able to analyze public and sharp betting percentages by using our consensus reports.
  • Shop for the Best Odds: When betting MLB moneylines, getting the best price is important, but often overlooked by most bettors. Odds will vary a lot on MLB moneylines. For example, looking at an upcoming baseball game, the favorite is priced between -120 and -135 after analyzing the odds at seven sportsbooks. At -120 odds, you need a win rate of 54.5% to breakeven. At -135 odds, you need a win rate of 57.4% to breakeven. Always use trusted sportsbooks only.
  • Starting Pitching: The most important factor when handicapping MLB games is starting pitching. This is where you should start your research. Analyze advanced pitching statistics and splits to uncover value bets. Studying the bullpens is necessary when betting MLB moneylines as well.
  • Bankroll Management: As a starting point, you should decide how much a unit is worth. If you want to be conservative, 1% of your bankroll is a good idea. Don’t exceed 5% of your bankroll. If a unit is 3% of your bankroll, you should bet this amount on every game. This will take out the emotional aspect of determining bet size and prevent you from chasing losses.
  • Other Factors: You also need to research how each team is performing (home vs. away splits). Look at the starting lineups to ensure there aren’t any late scratches (injuries, rest, etc.). You should also research home plate umpire stats and look at the weather report. These factors will help you uncover the best bets when betting on MLB moneylines this season.