The Basics
4 Min
betting types
reading odds

Moneyline betting is easily the most straightforward way to bet on MLB games and a great place to start out if you’re new to the MLB gambling world. Occasionally called ‘to-win’ betting, moneyline wagering is exactly that - choosing which team you think will win the game. While MLB moneyline bets present the bettor with two outcomes to choose from (i.e. Team A wins or Team B wins), it’s important to understand the probability of these outcomes is very rarely equal!


Sportsbooks account for this by assessing different factors such as the talent levels of the two teams, recent form, who the starting pitchers are and who has home-field advantage. After making this assessment, they offer proportionate odds that indicate the likelihood of each team winning. The favorites are represented by a minus sign in front of the odds (e.g. -190), while the underdogs are represented by a plus sign in front of the odds (e.g. +160).


The amount you collect if your MLB moneyline bet wins corresponds directly to these odds. Simply put, betting on a favorite carries less risk, but doesn’t pay as nicely as betting on a winning underdog. The key word there is ‘winning’ because no matter how enticing an underdog’s odds may look, your bankroll won’t improve a cent if they don’t win the game!


In baseball terms, a bet on a heavy favourite is a bit like a sacrifice bunt - not very glamorous, but there’s a good chance you’ll move the runner. On the other hand, a bet on a heavy underdog is more like trying to hit a home run - it’s glorious if you can pull it off, but there’s a good chance you’ll strikeout instead.


In terms of understanding moneyline odds, it’s important to note that negative sign for the favourite corresponds to the amount a bettor needs to wager in order to turn a $100 profit. The positive sign for the underdog corresponds to the potential profit a bettor can make by wagering $100. 


In other words, the calculations to figure out how much profit you make from are moneyline bet are as follows:

  • For favorites divide 100 by the odds and multiply the result by your wager amount. 
  • For underdogs divide the odds by 100 and multiply the result by your wager amount.


For a more detailed explanation on how to read MLB betting odds, including moneyline odds, click here.





Let’s take a look at the moneyline odds for this matchup between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves.


Straight away, the -194 odds for the Dodgers tells us they are the favorites (as indicated by the negative sign), despite being the road team. What we also know is the +164 odds for the Braves means they underdogs in betting market.


Now, let’s say we had $100 to bet on the moneyline for this match. 


If we chose to wager that $100 on the Dodgers to win, your winnings would be $51.55 profit (i.e. {100/194}x100=$51.55), plus your original $100 stake back.


If we bet that $100 on the Braves causing the upset, your winnings would be $164 profit (i.e. {164/100}x100=$164), plus your original $100 stake back.


It probably doesn’t come as a shock that betting on the underdog leads to more lucrative rewards, but the real opportunity lies in your ability to identify wagering opportunities where you think the risk reflected in the odds is less than the risk in reality. Thankfully, the team at Bet Basics has put together a list of MLB betting tips and strategies to help you do this.



The biggest moneyline upset in the history of MLB occurred when the Washington Nationals defeated the Minnesota Twins on June 9, 2007. The Nats were +395 underdogs, but secured a 3-1 victory courtesy of a Ryan Zimmerman three-run homer and some impressive pitching by Levale Speingner and Chad Cordero.


Now you have all the tools and information you need to go ahead and start placing moneyline bets on MLB. The best way to maximise your profits while doing this is to ensure you’re always getting the best odds available. Here at Bet Basics we recommend having accounts with multiple sportsbooks such as BetMGM, FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars, 888sport and Bet365. This will allow you to conduct an odds comparison before every bet and take advantage of any MLB bet bonuses and promotions on offer. Check out our full list of Bet Basics list of 100% licensed and regulated legal sportsbooks to get startef today!


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