Learn How To Make Smart Baseball Moneyline Bets

MLB moneylines are all about picking the winner. Learn how to sort the underdogs from the favorites with these MLB moneyline betting tips.

Last Updated: Jul 15, 2022 11:24 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (27) reacts after striking out during the ninth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre.
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

MLB moneyline betting is the most popular and straightforward way to wager on baseball: you pick which team you think will win the game.

But there is some complexity when calculating those MLB moneyline odds and following the best practices when learning how to make smarter baseball bets.

What is a moneyline bet in baseball?

A moneyline bet in baseball is a simple wager on the team you think will win the game.

Moneyline odds are calculated from the implied probability of victory for each side, taking in numerous factors to create those odds: the most important being starting pitchers. From there, oddsmakers also look at current form, team vs. team matchups, home/away splits, injuries, and even weather when fine-tuning those MLB moneylines.

Betting sites most often display moneylines in a value of hundreds, otherwise known as American odds, with the moneyline favorite (team with the greater win probability) given a negative value (-) and the moneyline underdog (team with the lower win probability) given a positive value (+).

Because the favorite has a better chance of winning and therefore less risk, the moneyline favorite pays out less. The underdog has a smaller chance of winning, presenting more risk, which promises a large payout if they win.

If the Toronto Blue Jays are -135 moneyline favorites (57.45% win probability), baseball bettors need to wager $135 on Toronto to win $100 (bet $1.35 for every $1 you want to win). A $100 bet on Toronto -135 would return $174 ($74 in winnings).

If the Boston Red Sox are +115 moneyline underdogs (46.51% win probability), baseball bettors could win $115 on a $100 bet on Boston (Win $1.15 for every $1 wagered). A $100 wager on Boston +115 would return $215 ($115 in winnings).

Team Odds
Boston Red Sox +115
Toronto Blue Jays -135

MLB moneylines as decimal odds

While American odds are the most common way sportsbooks display MLB moneylines, some may use MLB moneylines in decimal odds. Decimal odds show the potential return on a $1 wager.

Using the example above, a $1 bet on Toronto’s moneyline (1.74) would return $1.74 (74 cents in winnings). A $100 bet on Toronto 1.74 would return $174 ($74 in winnings). A $1 bet on Boston 2.15 would return $2.15 ($1.15 in winnings) or $215 ($115 in winnings) on a $100 bet.

Covers odds calculator is an easy way to view moneylines in three different odds sets: 

  • Boston: 2.15
  • Toronto: 1.74

MLB moneylines as fractional odds

While it isn’t as common as American and decimal odds, some sites display MLB moneylines in fractional odds. 

MLB moneyline favorite will have a lower value divided by a higher value, while the underdog will have a higher value over a lower value. 

Using our example, Toronto is a 37/50 moneyline favorite (0.74) and would win 74 cents on every $1 wagered. Boston is a 23/20 moneyline underdog (1.15) and would win $1.15 on every $1 wagered.

  • Boston: 23/20
  • Toronto: 37/50

Benefits of baseball moneyline bets 

One of the greatest benefits of betting baseball moneylines is the simplicity of the wager. You’re simply betting on which team will win outright. Unlike spreads (run lines), the margin of victory does not affect the grading of a moneyline bet. 

Baseball moneylines are the most popular way to wager on MLB because a significant number of games are settled by one run (nearly 30%).

MLB moneyline tips, strategies, and advice

The basic premise of MLB moneyline betting is simple enough: just pick the winner. However, there are some tips and strategies to follow when learning how to make smarter baseball moneyline bets. 

Shop for the best MLB moneylines Shop for the best MLB moneylines

You’ll get the most bang for your buck when betting baseball if you can have multiple sportsbook accounts active to find the best moneyline odds for your opinions. Use Covers MLB odds comparison tools to easily see all the moneylines from the best sportsbooks available in your area.

Money management Money management

Having a money management strategy is essential when betting on the long MLB season. Designate a percentage of your overall bankroll to baseball and then break that up into different-sized wagers (units). The more confidence you have in a bet, the more units risked, and the less confident, the lower the stake. You can use Covers’ odds calculator to see potential returns on different wager sizes and the implied probability of victory.

Don’t fall in love with big moneyline favorites Don’t fall in love with big moneyline favorites

The best teams in baseball are always a tempting bet, but that strength will cost you. The top teams come with a hefty price tag, with moneylines sitting at -200 and higher (wager $200 to win $100). Even if you walk away with a winning record for the day, if you suffer a bad loss with the big favorite, it can wipe out all your profits.

Start with the starters Start with the starters

When setting MLB moneylines, oddsmakers put the most weight into the starting pitcher for both sides. That’s also where baseball bettors should focus the bulk of their research. You can find in-depth pitcher profiles and unique statistics on Covers’ MLB matchup pages.

Other moneyline factors Other moneyline factors

Pitchers and batters are just part of the equation when betting MLB moneyline odds. You should also consider the teams’ performance at home/away, current form and streak/skids, impact injuries to the lineup, rotation, or bullpen, home plate umpire tendencies, and even weather (specifically wind).

MLB moneyline FAQs

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