MLB Betting: New Ways to Bet on Baseball

Carlos Rodon #16 of the San Francisco Giants. Jason Miller/Getty Images/AFP

Baseball betting odds have been in the agate type of the sports page for as long as people have been reading newspapers. 

Now, with the slow death of the print newspaper, it appears that baseball betting will outlive the page where it used to reside. While papers are getting rid of the agate page, baseball betting is entering an exciting new age. 

New technology and an increase in the number of outlets that allow for legal betting on the sport have created plenty of new ways to bet on baseball, breathing life into the process.  

Classic Baseball Bets 

The bets from the agate page were pretty clear. There were basically three ways you could bet on a baseball game—moneyline, run line, and total runs.  

With the moneyline, you pick the winner of the game and the payout is based on who is favored in the game. For instance, in a recent A’s-Giants day game, San Francisco was -258, while Oakland was +231. That means, you’d need to bet $258 to win $100 on the Giants, while a $100 bet would win you an additional $231 (for a total of $330, when you get your stake back) if the A’s win.  

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The run line is similar to a point spread in basketball or football. In the A’s-Giants game, Oakland was +1.5 runs while San Fran was -1.5. That means the A’s needed to win or lose by at most one run to win your game, since, essentially, a runs line bet adds 1.5 to Oakland’s score. San Francisco needed to win by at least two runs to win.  

The final classic way to win is a total run line. You can bet either on the run total for the game or an individual team’s run total, and you pick whether the runs scored will be over or under a pre-specified cutoff. 

In-Game Prop Betting 

There are now a variety of other ways to spice up your baseball betting. Like with most sports, in-game betting has risen dramatically in popularity. You can bet on the team to score first, whether there will be a run scored by either team in a given inning, the first team to reach three runs in the game, total home runs hit, and more. There are also player prop bets, such as the number of strikeouts for a given pitcher or whether a batter will homer in the game.  

In-Play Betting 

Taking in-game props to another level is live in-play betting. Odds change constantly, based on what’s going on in the game. If Oakland scores two runs in the top of the first inning, you can bet on the game based on a new moneyline, updated to reflect the fact that San Francisco now trails early. Presumably, you’d get less steep odds on the Giants and less of a payout on Oakland.  

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You can also bet on the number of runs scored in a given inning, given the pitching matchup and the lineup coming to bat. With starting pitchers going fewer and fewer innings in an average game, in-play betting allows for wagering in a more accurate environment.  

Grand Salami 

Parlays are another intriguing way to wager that’s been around since the very beginning. A bettor picks a slate of winners and gets a payout if all the games turn out the way he or she predicted. A more recent twist on the game result parlay is the salami, which takes the over/under runs bet to a slate of games. Pick a group of games to bet the salami on and pick whether the total runs scored in all of them will be over or under a given cutoff.   

Not Your Parents’ Baseball Bets 

With new ways to bet and updated information that changes as the game in front of you does, wagering on baseball is not your father’s (or mother’s) bet. And more options seem to be arriving every day.