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How to Bet Baseball: 2024 Beginner’s Guide to MLB Gambling

March 10, 2024

Written by    |
Bill Harrelson

So you want to bet on America’s pastime, do you? Good call! Baseball offers tons of opportunities to get in on the action over the long 162-game season. But before you dive in and put your hard-earned cash on the line, you need to learn the basics. Luckily for you, we’ve got the inside scoop on how to bet baseball and come out ahead.

So grab a beer, sit back, and enjoy the lessons. Class is in session! Who knows, by the time the Fall Classic rolls around, you might just make enough to buy yourself a World Series ticket. At the very least, you’ll be able to hold your own at the sports bar.

Are you ready to become a baseball betting pro? Let’s play ball!

Understanding Baseball Betting Odds and Lines

A good knowledge of the odds and lines is crucial to succeed in betting baseball. The oddsmakers set the lines to get equal action on both sides so the sportsbook can profit no matter the outcome. So, again, you must understand the common odds and lines to beat the oddsmakers and profit from sports betting.

The most common baseball bets are the money line and run line. The money line is simply picking the winner. The run line, which is also baseball’s version of the point spread, usually has one team favored by 1.5 runs.

Here are some examples: 

  • Money line: Team A -150, Team B +130. This means you bet $150 on Team A to win $100, while a $100 bet on Team B wins $130. The bigger the favorite, the less you win.
  • Run line: Team A -1.5 (-130), Team B +1.5 (+110). If you bet the favorite minus 1.5 runs, they have to win by 2+ runs to cash your ticket. If you bet the dog plus 1.5, they can lose by one run, and you still win.

Pay close attention to the starting pitchers to bet on baseball games. Two aces facing off often mean a lower run total, while two weak starters could see a higher over/under and run line. Also, watch out for lineup changes, injuries, and ballpark factors, examining whether they favor pitchers or hitters.

Once you get the basics down, you can explore more advanced bets like parlays, prop bets, and live betting. But focus on making smart bets, not just lots of them. Do your research, find value, and don’t bet with your heart — the oddsmakers have a much better grasp of the numbers than you do as a fan.

However, with experience, you’ll get better at handicapping and turn MLB gambling into a profitable summer pastime. Speaking of handicapping, let’s explore how to handicap teams like professional sports bettors in the following section. Also, if you don’t have the time to devote to learning the intricacies of baseball betting, you can sign up to receive mathematically-proven picks from the professional MLB bettors at ElitePickz.

How to Handicap Teams and Find Value Bets in MLB

Now that you understand the basics of how to bet on MLB, it’s time to dive into handicapping teams and find solid value bets. Handicapping refers to analyzing teams to determine their strengths and weaknesses in order to predict the likelihood of them winning. The key is finding value by determining when the oddsmakers’ lines don’t accurately reflect a team’s chances of winning.

Here are 4 helpful strategies to help you handicap teams effectively:

  • Analyze pitching matchups.
  • Consider recent performance.
  • Check team statistics.
  • Consider intangibles.

P.S. Get our free PDF on how to actually profit sports betting here!

1. Analyze pitching matchups.

One of the most important factors in handicapping baseball is analyzing the starting pitching matchups. Teams with an edge in starting pitching often have an advantage. Compare each starter’s won-lost records, earned run averages, strikeout rates, and batting averages.

Also, consider how each pitcher matches up with the opposing hitters. Pitchers who dominate certain types of hitters will fare better.

2. Consider recent performance.

Don’t just look at a team’s overall win-loss record when betting on MLB games. Consider how they’ve performed recently, such as over the past 10 to 15 games. Hot teams, winning 7 or 8 of their last ten games, may be undervalued by oddsmakers; teams in slumps may be overvalued.

In addition, consider a team’s performance against left-handed or right-handed pitchers recently. Teams may struggle against pitchers of the opposite hand.

3. Check team statistics.

Compare important stats like runs scored, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and team ERA (earned run average). Teams with an edge in several key stats especially runs scored and ERA, often have an advantage.

Also, consider how teams perform at home vs. on the road and during day games vs. night games. Some teams excel in certain situations; knowing a team’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to match venues and settings can help you make money from betting on baseball.

4. Consider intangibles.

Some factors that oddsmakers can’t quantify may provide betting value. Maybe a team’s ace pitcher is returning from injury, or a key hitter was just traded to a division rival. Perhaps a team has extra motivation to win, like trying to make the playoffs or beat a longtime rival. Look for motivational edges and insider knowledge that the general public may not consider.

While it requires a lot of practice, handicapping MLB teams can ensure you have more wins than losses. And this is more evident in our track records at ElitePicks. Historically, we’ve had more wins than losses by using mathematically proven betting strategies. And you can join us now to start benefiting from our professional knowledge of the game.

Let’s consider some more betting tips for baseball to increase your chance of winning in the next section.

5 Baseball Betting Tips and Strategies to Increase Your Profits

When betting on baseball games, there are a few tips and strategies to keep in mind that can increase your chances of winning, including the following:

  • Do your research.
  • Focus on money lines and run lines.
  • Look for value bets.
  • Manage your money wisely.
  • Consider live betting.

1. Do your research.

Before placing any bets, do your due diligence on the teams and matchups. Study how the pitchers and hitters match up, recent performance trends for each team, injuries, weather conditions, and anything else that could affect the outcome. Knowledge is power, so the more you know, the better your betting decisions will be.

2. Focus on money lines and run lines.

If you’re a beginner, we recommend sticking to the basic money line (picking the winner) and run line (handicapped spread) bets; they’re the easiest to understand and have a higher chance of winning. Steer clear of the more complex bets like parlays, prop bets, and futures until you get more experience.

3. Look for value bets.

Don’t just bet on the favorite every time; look for undervalued underdogs, especially in close matchups. The oddsmakers don’t always get the lines exactly right, so you can find value in underdogs that have a good chance of pulling off an upset. An underdog win can also result in a bigger payout.

4. Manage your money wisely.

Only bet what you can afford to lose. Even if you do everything right, there is always a chance of losing. Set a budget and stick to it. Also, consider using a staking plan or a unit betting strategy to minimize losses. Betting more on surer wins and less on riskier bets is a good strategy.

5. Consider live betting.

If you’re watching a game live, either at the stadium or on TV, live betting allows you to place wagers on outcomes during the game. This lets you take advantage of momentum shifts and other events to get better odds. Still, be very careful, as the odds can change quickly. Live betting is best for experienced bettors.

Following these tips can help you understand how to bet on baseball games, even if you’re just getting started. While there’s always an element of luck involved, doing your homework and wagering smartly definitely improves your chances of success. But a better strategy is to follow the guides of professional bettors; they’ve been in the game for a long time and have winning strategies. You can sign up here to get started.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to bet on baseball?

The best way to bet on baseball is to use a calculated strategy. Avoid betting on big favorites, as the returns may be minimal. Instead, bet against the public consensus and follow reverse line movement, which may indicate sharp action. Lastly, focus on divisional underdogs, who often offer valuable opportunities.

How to win betting baseball?

To win while betting on baseball, you need to be very strategic in your decisions by adhering to these tips:

  • Utilize plus-money underdogs for greater potential returns.
  • Avoid mainstream picks; instead, opt to go against the field for value.
  • Keep track of weather conditions, as they can impact game outcomes.
  • Consider the influence of umpires on the game.

What is the most common bet in baseball?

The most common bet in baseball is the money line wager. This straightforward betting format involves simply choosing which team will win a particular game. It’s a popular choice due to its simplicity and direct approach to the outcome of the match.

What does under 9.5 mean in baseball?

In baseball betting, “under 9.5” means you’re wagering that the total combined score of both teams will be less than or equal to 9. This type of bet requires the total runs of the game to stay below 9.5 for you to win. It’s a popular choice in over/under betting.


Now that you’ve learned how to bet on baseball, you can confidently place your first MLB wager. Don’t forget to start small as you’re learning, do your research, and have fun with it!

Baseball is a game of inches, as they say — anything can happen on any given day. However, by following the tips in this guide, you’ll give yourself a better shot at coming out ahead. Remember, you can always stay ahead of the curve by simply following the strategies of professional bettors from ElitePicks — sign up now to get started.

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