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Baseball Betting Guide: MLB

Baseball Betting Guide: MLB | Tipico
Baseball Betting Guide: MLB | Tipico
Alex Valdes
Published: 2023-03-31

In our 'Better Bettor' series, Tipico Sportsbook explains betting terminology and concepts in the sports betting world.

Spring is here. You know what that means?

Baseball season is coming. With 2,430 regular season games to bet on — and countless props, lines, and other betting options to choose from in each game — that’s a whole lot of chances to win big.

But to make the most of these opportunities, you need to start with the basics of baseball betting, from the types of bets available to how to read the odds.

That’s why we created this baseball betting guide — so you can prepare your gambling strategy and confidently swing for the fences.


Before you dive into deeper MLB betting strategies, you have to know your terms. Familiarizing yourself with the most popular types of available bets will help you understand the odds and potential payouts.


The most basic of all MLB bets is the moneyline. The game is a mano e’ mano. Two teams walk onto the field of play, and only one will emerge as the victor. Your mission, should you choose to accept, is simple: pick the winner.

Picture this. The Cleveland Guardians are playing the Los Angeles Dodgers at home on a Thursday night. You have a feeling the Guardians are going to upset. If they pull it off and have more runs at the close of the 9th, you win. And because you’re betting the underdog, you get some extra juice.

In moneyline betting, both teams are assigned different odds, which are represented by either a + or - number. Typically, one team is favored (assigned a negative number), while the other team is considered the underdog (assigned a positive number). If the odds are negative, this indicates the amount you would need to bet to win $100; if the odds are positive, this indicates the amount you would win if you bet $100.

So, using the previous example, let’s say the Dodgers are (-150) and the Guardians are +(130). The moneyline market would look like:


Moneyline Odds





In this matchup, the Dodgers would be the favorites to win, with the Guardians being the dogs. If you bet on the Dodgers, you’ll need to risk $150 to win $100, and if you bet on the Guardians, you’ll need to risk $100 to win $130.

Naturally, as the favorites, betting the Dodgers will yield a smaller payout since Vegas views them as the more likely team to win. But how these odds are calculated will depend on various factors, such as:

  • Starting pitchers

  • Past team performance

  • Home or away 

  • Injuries

  • Weather conditions 

The Spread (Run Line) 

The second most common type of bet is baseball’s version of the point spread — the run line. This points spread reflects the expected scoring outcome of the game and gives the underdog a handicap of extra runs to even the odds.

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So, using our previous example, let’s say Vegas believes Dodgers will win 6-4. In that case, the spread might look like:

(-1.5) - 110
(1.5) + 150

In this scenario, if you’re betting on the Dodgers to cover the spread, you’d need them to win by at least 2 runs to make $100 on a $110 wager. Conversely, if you bet on the Guardians to run the spread, they would need to either win or lose by 1 run to win $150 on a $100 bet.

The standard run line will be 1.5 runs, though it can vary depending on the matchup. Also, depending on the bookie, you may be able to place live runline bets, with the odds continuously shifting to reflect the events of the matchup.

In 2022, the top 5 best teams to bet on to cover the run line were:

Runline Record
Cover Percentage

The top 5 worst teams to bet on to cover the run line were:

Runline Record
Cover Percentage
Blue Jays
White Sox

Over and Under

The over/under, sometimes referred to as the totals, is a type of bet that lets you wager on the combined number of runs scored by both teams. Rather than selecting a winner, your bet is on whether the two teams will score beneath the given over/under line. So, if you can’t pick a winner, but think the game will be more offensively or defensively driven, you can gamble on the totals.

How does this work?

Let’s say that the sportsbook sets the line for the Dodgers vs Guardians game at 9.5. Here, you have two options:

  • Under 9.5 – You bet that the combined scored runs from both teams will be 9 or fewer.

  • Over 9.5 – You bet that the combined scored runs from both teams will be 10 or more.

In most scenarios, the over/under odds will be practically even, which means you often risk the amount you would win in return. That said, depending on the bookie, the payout could differ between the two bets.

It’s also worth noting that there are circumstances where the over/under is an even number. So, using our scenario, if the over/under was 9 and the Dodgers won 5-4, the bet would be considered a push. In that case, the bet is voided and the original wager is returned to the bettor.


Also known as baseball’s version of the first-half bet, this type of wager has become especially popular among MLB sharps because instead of placing a wager on the entire outcome of the game, you only have to bet on the first five innings.

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For baseball, this is important since the league average start for a pitcher will last just over 5 innings. Starting pitchers rarely even make it to 7 innings these days, let alone close out an entire game.

Why does that matter? Because pitching — particularly ace pitchers — can have an outsized impact on the game. They control what happens. A high-quality pitcher can effectively shut down the opposing team's batting lineup. To that end, when evaluating starting pitchers, gamblers need to consider factors like:

  • The quality of the pitcher

  • The pitching style

  • Whether the pitcher is right or left-handed

  • Recent form and fatigue

  • Batter vs pitcher history

The 5-inning bet allows you to focus on early-game trends and starting pitcher matchups while reducing the potential impact of late-game variables, such as managerial decisions and bullpen performance.

With a 5-inning bet, you can either bet the moneyline, runline, or totals.

Prop Bets

Short for proposition bets, props let you wager on a specific outcome or occurrence within the game, rather than the overall outcome: a slugger hitting two homers in the same game, a reliever closing out with two strikeouts, or the under on the American anthem going longer than 2 minutes and 40 seconds.

What prop bets are provided will depend on the bookie and the game itself. Typically, more high-profile games, such as the postseason, will offer more props than a regular season game.

Common types of props include:

  • Player performance props – These bets revolve around an individual player's performance throughout the game. It might cover their number of hits, home runs, and runs batted in (RBIs).

  • Pitcher performance props – You can also wager on the individual performance of the pitcher, like the number of strikeouts, innings pitched, ERA, and so on.

  • High-risk milestones – Some bookies will allow for moonshot bets that are unlikely to occur but may provide a huge payout. Examples may include hitting a cycle, pitching a perfect game, or hitting an infield home run.

  • Team props – Just like individual performance, you can also bet on total team performance.

  • Game-specific props – Will the coinflip be heads or tails? Who will be the first team to score? Who will be the first manager ejected? Depending on the bookie, there may be betting opportunities on unique occurrences within the game.

  • Season-long props – Some prop bets can stretch beyond a single game. Sometimes referred to as futures, you place a wager at the beginning of the season predicting the eventual outcomes at the end of the season. A common future might be a World Series win, League or division winners, individual awards, or team win totals.


Everyone’s favorite high-risk/high-reward pedal to the medal play is the parlay. This type of bet combines multiple individual bets into a single wager. To win big, you must hit on every leg of the bet. If any of the bets lose, the entire parlay is considered a loss.

These bets could technically all cover the same game (money line, totals, player props) or be spread across several sports.

Naturally, parlays are harder to hit, so the potential payout is much larger. For example, a March Madness better recently placed a $1 wager on a 20-leg parlay and won $15,650 when every bet hit.

The 2023 baseball season will soon be upon us. And now that you know the best available options for betting on baseball, you can start lining up your strategy.

Looking for the best online MLB bookie? That’s why we’re here. At Tipico, we offer various online sports betting from the gamut of full-game, 5-inning, and prop bets. We’re known for fair odds and great payouts.

So whether you want to wager on a live game or predict the future winner of the World Series, win big with Tipico.

Photo Credit: IMAGO / ZUMA wire

Baseball Betting Guide: MLB | Tipico


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