Understanding the Moneyline at MLB Sportsbooks

The MLB moneyline is the same as all other sports’ moneylines, as this is the method that legal MLB betting sites use to set the financial terms of their offered wagers. That said, it is important to note that moneylines are unique to American sportsbooks, with traditional UK bets being posted with fractional odds and the rest of Europe (and most of the world) using decimal odds.

As such, any MLB betting sites you join will use the American moneyline system, so it’s important to understand exactly what it means and how it works before placing any Big League bets at your online betting shop of choice.

Understanding MLB Moneyline Odds

The primary utility of the moneyline is that it allows the bettor to understand the buy-in vs. payout ratio of any given wager. No matter what type of MLB bet you’re looking to put action on, it will always have a moneyline attached to it so you know exactly how much you stand to win. Because maximizing your winnings is kind of the point of sports betting in general, understanding MLB moneyline odds is your first order of business whenever you sign up at any MLB betting site.

The American moneyline odds system is based on $100. A negative moneyline is typically applied to a favorite, and it shows the amount of money you have to wager to win $100. A positive moneyline, on the other hand, is usually applied to an underdog, and it shows how much money you can win on a $100 bet. Again, every wager variety will have a moneyline next to it, usually in parentheses. You can view this as the “price tag” of the bet. (Note: The moneyline does not indicate a minimum amount you must wager to put action on a given bet. Most MLB betting sites will allow bets as small as $0.25.)

Examples Of The MLB Moneyline

To better understand how this system works, a few examples of the MLB moneyline should help you visualize the setup’s practicality. Once you get the hang of reading the moneyline, it becomes extremely quick and easy to glean the terms of any given bet. Unlike fractional and decimal odds, there is no real math you have to do to figure out exactly how much you stand to risk or win. Consider the following:

MLB Straight Moneyline

These kinds of bets are MLB straight moneyline bets (or straight bets), as you’re simply picking a winner “straight up.” Many common wagers are of the straight bet variety, and these are fully defined by their moneylines.

Here, the Braves are -140 favorites to beat the Mets, who are +135 underdogs. This means that a $140 wager on the Braves to win will earn the bettor a $100 profit, while a $100 wager on the Mets to win will yield a $135 profit. Straight bets are wagers where the moneyline not only defines the terms of the bet but also shows the bettor which side of the bet is perceived as more likely to come out on top.

The MLB Run Line Moneyline

With run line bets, sportsbooks handicap the competition, giving the underdog a sort of “head start” on the scoreboard while removing runs from the favorite. The MLB run line moneyline will look something like this:

In run line bets, the run line (almost always 1.5 runs for a 9-inning game) is what shows you which team is the favorite and which is the underdog. However, there is always a moneyline included (in parentheses), as this shows the wager-to-winnings terms.

Since MLB betting sites use run line handicapping to balance the action on both sides of a given bet, the moneyline is often the same. Usually, both teams will have a -110 moneyline (though online sportsbooks can and do adjust these), requiring the bettor to wager $110 to win $100. This guarantees the sportsbook a roughly 9% house take, or “vigorish,” on all wagers placed.

The MLB Over/Under Moneyline

The MLB over/under moneyline works much the same way as it does for the run line, usually settling at the same rate for both teams:

Here, whether you take the over or the under, the financial terms of the bet are the same: -110. Thus, a $110 bet yields a $100 profit. Like run lines, the moneylines are usually -110 for both sides of the bet, but MLB betting sites will adjust these figures individually to further balance action on some wagers.

The run line and over/under moneylines are examples of how negative moneylines can (and usually are) attached to both favorites and underdogs alike. Most “yes/no” type bets – as commonly found in MLB player and team props (along with over/unders) – also follow this model.

The MLB Futures Moneyline

The MLB futures moneyline is an example of how a betting favorite can still have a positive moneyline (which otherwise usually indicates an underdog). During almost all of the year, for example, you can place bets on which team you think will win the upcoming World Series. Here’s how that might look at some top MLB betting sites (note that these are hypothetical and not reflective of the actual World Series odds for this season):

As you can see, the Dodgers are favored to win the World Series. However, in MLB futures bets (and various other long-term wagers, like season props), the favorite is almost always going to have a positive moneyline, as the field of challengers is so broad. Here, a $100 bet on Los Angeles to win it all pays out $350 if they actually do.

Once you understand all of the above, you should have a good idea of how the MLB moneyline works both to set a wager’s financial terms and to illustrate which team, player, or outcome is the favored result of a given bet. The American moneyline is the easiest betting system to understand and use once you’ve got a handle on it, and if you’ve absorbed all of the preceding examples, you will have no problem placing intelligent wagers at your favorite MLB betting sites.

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