MLB Odds Basics – Moneyline

Due to lower scoring in baseball, betting the moneyline on MLB games is more popular than the point spread. Sportsbooks set moneyline odds for both teams for every game on the MLB schedule. You can find all of those odds here at the Sports Hub.

Moneyline bets are actually the easiest for less-experienced bettors to understand. You are simply wagering on a team to win. How much you must bet and how much you will win are determined by the MLB odds.

Take the following example. The Los Angeles Dodgers are playing the San Francisco Giants. The bet on the board would look like this.

San Francisco Giants +125

Los Angeles Dodgers -110

In this case, the Dodgers are the favorites as indicated by the negative odds. The Giants, given positive odds, are the underdog.

If you like the Dodgers to win, you would have to wager $1.10 to win $1.00. On the other side of the bet, if you like the Giants and they win, you would receive $1.25 for every $1.00 that you wagered.

MLB Odds – Spread aka Run Line

Because of the lack of scoring in baseball compared to sports like football and basketball, oddsmakers establish what is called a run line in MLB. The run line is the equivalent of the point spread. 

In almost all cases, the MLB run line is set at 1.5. That means the MLB favorite is listed at -1.5 and the underdog is listed at +1.5. Each side of the bet then comes with associated MLB odds. Using the Giants-Dodgers example again, the bet may appear as follows.

San Francisco Giants +125 +1.5 (-120)

Los Angeles Dodgers -110 -1.5 (+135)

The Dodgers are favored and, in order to cover the spread or run line, they must win by two or more runs. There are a lot of one-run games in baseball and winning by two can sometimes be tricky. That is why you see positive odds (+135) attached to the Dodgers run line. If you like the Dodgers to win by two or more, a $100 bet would pay out $135 if Los Angeles won the game 4-2.

Totals or Over/Unders 

Bettors can also wager on MLB game totals. The Over/Under is set by oddsmakers and is usually between 6 and 13 runs. Most MLB games are in the 7- to 9-run range.

Just like other sports, bettors wager on whether the final combined score of the game will go Over or Under a total established by oddsmakers. Sticking with our Giants-Dodgers example, here is what you might find at any given sportsbook.

San Francisco Giants +125 +1.5 (-120) O 8.5 (-110)

Los Angeles Dodgers -110 -1.5 (+135) U 8.5 (-110)

At most sportsbooks, you will find the point spread, moneyline, and totals bets all grouped together. It makes sense since these are the most common bets. 

In this case, the total has been set at 8.5. It’s common for MLB totals to have half-point increments so that the result is not a push. If the Giants beat the Dodgers 5-4, the Over is the winner. With a final score of 4-3, the Under is the winner. In both cases, the MLB odds are -110 meaning a $110 bet is required to win $100 (or $1.10 to win $1.00). 

Other MLB Odds – First Five Innings

Unlike football and basketball where teams play quarters and halves, MLB games are nine innings long. The equivalent of the first half NFL bet in baseball is the First Five innings bet. Like the first half bet in the NFL or NBA, the First Five Innings bet in MLB is graded after the first five innings are played. What happens after does not matter.

All of the bets you could make on a full MLB game can be made on the First Five. Bettors can wager the moneyline, the run line, and the total all for just the First Five innings. The Dodgers-Giants example for the First Five might look like this.

San Francisco Giants +135 +0.5 (+105) O 4.5 (-110)

Los Angeles Dodgers -155 -0.5 (-120) U 4.5 (-110)

One First Five Innings strategy includes looking for strong pitchers against weaker lineups and a weak pitcher. In this example, a Cy Young award candidate like Clayton Kershaw or Tony Gonsolin is pitching for the Dodgers. They will go up against a Giants pitcher with an ERA above 4.00

Notice the Dodgers are favored to win the First Five. In this case, a bettor would wager $155 to win $100. If the Dodgers lead at the end of the first five innings, the bet is a winner. 

The run line is typically set at 0.5 for the First Five bet. Notice that the MLB odds here are -120 for the Dodgers, the favorite. If the Dodgers are winning by at least a run after five innings, they cover the spread and all point spread bets win. 

Because of the pitching advantage, Los Angeles is a big moneyline favorite and run line favorite in this First Five Bet. 

Alternate Lines

The run line for MLB game is set by sportsbooks at 1.5. Favorites must win by two or more runs in order to cover the run line. Underdogs must lose by one run or win outright in order for them to cover the run line.

Bettors can also wager on alternate run lines. Run lines are flipped to create an alternate run line. Sticking with our Dodgers-Giants examples, let’s say we have the following run line bet.

San Francisco Giants +1.5 (-110)

Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5 (-110)

The alternate line would make the Dodgers the underdog and the Giants the moneyline favorite. The MLB odds will vary to account for the original underdog pulling off a win by two or more runs. The alternate line might look like this.

San Francisco Giants -1.5 (+140)

Los Angeles Dodgers +1.5 (-160)

If you like the Giants to win by at least two runs, you can bet this alternate line and get a higher payout. A $100 bet in this case would pay out $140. The sportsbook is willing to take the risk in this case because the Giants are not expected to win, much less win by two or more runs.

Grand Salami – Fun MLB Odds

The Grand Salami bet is available in both NHL and MLB betting. The Grand Salami is a totals bet on all the games on a given day’s schedule. Instead of betting on the Over/Under for the Dodgers-Giants game, you will bet on the Over/Under for every game on a day’s schedule.

Let’s say there are nine games on the schedule and the Grand Salami is listed at 75.5 with odds of -110 on each side of the bet. Let’s say you like the Over. You bet $11 to win $10. At the end of the day, you add up all of the final scores and it comes to 79 runs. Your bet is a winner and you collect $21 total (your stake plus winnings of $10). 

There is some strategy to betting the Grand Salami which you can learn more about here at the Sports Hub.


MLB futures bets are released well in advance of a new season. Futures bets are those placed on events that will occur in the future. For example, the most popular of all MLB futures bets are those placed on the next World Series champion. 

Odds for the next World Series champion are usually released at the conclusion of the previous season. Bettors can wager in the market as soon as they like. The market stays open all offseason, all season, and closes sometime late in the postseason. 

Bettors in all sports like futures bets because of the advantageous odds on favorites. It’s common to find the overall World Series favorite at odds of +500 or even greater. A better would receive $5 for every $1 wagered in that case. Many strong favorites might have odds to win between +1000 and +2000. 

There are all sorts of MLB futures bets. Bettors can wager on AL and NL champions as well as division champions. Season win totals is another category and bettors can also get in on the individual awards bets like the league MVPs and the league Cy Young winners. 

Like the World Series market, the markets on the individual awards feature a number of strong favorites with great opening odds. The odds on these favorites can shorten depending upon what type of season they are having. 

How to Bet on MLB

Betting on MLB is a bit different than betting on the NFL or NBA. Baseball is more of a moneyline sport. The Sports Hub can help you with everything you need to know about how to bet on MLB.

A strong understanding of MLB odds is needed first. Then, MLB bettors can follow any number of strategies. Many bettors will stay away from large MLB moneyline favorites. The reason is that you lose big and win small.

On the other hand, MLB bettors like short underdogs for the opposite reason. They can win big and lose small. Divisional underdogs are a target as they play the other teams in their division 19 teams per season. That creates a lot of familiarity and divisional underdogs pull a lot of upsets.

Baseball totals are heavily influenced by ballpark and weather conditions. Wind is the biggest weather factor. Bettors can gain an advantage in betting MLB totals by paying attention to weather forecasts.


How does MLB betting work?

MLB bettors usually bet on the moneyline, but betting on the run line (point spread) and the game totals is also common. Like other sports, MLB features a long list of team and player props that are available for every game. MLB futures bets are available all season long.

Every MLB bet comes with associated odds, which reflect the price of the bet. Bets given negative odds indicate you are betting on a favorite. If you win, you will receive a payout that is less than what you wagered. For example, you bet on the Mets at -115 on the moneyline. Your $115 wager returns winnings of $100.

Bets with positive odds indicate the underdog, the team not expected to win. If you win on an underdog at plus-money odds, you will win more than your stake. If the Mets were a +150 underdog, your $100 bet would pay out $150.

What is the run line in MLB odds betting?

The run line in MLB betting is the equivalent of the point spread in sports like football and basketball. There is not a lot of scoring in baseball and games frequently end in scores like 4-3 and 3-2. 

Oddsmakers have established the standard run line as 1.5. It is very rare, but there are occasions where a run line could be 0.5 or 2.5. Bettors use the run line to make point spread bets. 

The run line on either side of a bet comes with associated MLB odds. Favorites must win by two or more runs to cover the spread. Underdogs must lose by one or win outright to cover the spread. 

What does +1.5 mean in MLB odds?

The point spread, or run line as it is called in baseball, is set at 1.5 by oddsmakers. The +1.5 run line is associated with a game’s underdog.

In order to cover the +1.5 run line, the underdog must lose by one run or win the game outright. The odds associated with the run line would determine the amount of the payout. 

What do MLB odds +125 mean when betting?

Baseball is more of a moneyline sport and +125 is the moneyline associated with a game’s underdog. Typically, the favorite is given negative MLB odds, such as -115, and the underdog is represented by positive odds.

These American odds also tell bettors how much will be paid out depending upon their stake. American odds work in increments of 100. In this case, a $100 bet would pay out $125 if the underdog won the game.

What important dates are there in MLB?

Opening Day 2023 was March 30. The annual MLB All-Star game will take place at T-Mobile Park in Seattle and is scheduled for Tuesday, July 11. The 2023 MLB regular season ends on October 2 with the postseason to follow.

The MLB postseason begins on October 3 and a potential Game 7 in the World Series would take place on November 4.