MLB point spread betting explained

When you bet MLB point spreads, the odds are sometimes more profitable than betting the moneyline. Sound fun? We’ll tell you everything you need to know to get started with MLB point spread betting online.

Washington Nationals first baseman Luke Voit

MLB point spread key takeaways

  • The MLB point spread gives you the ability to bet a team to win by more than a certain number of runs or lose by within that same margin.

  • It’s the sportsbooks way of giving a handicap to the betting favorite with the hope of enticing bettors with much more appealing odds.

  • The oddsmaker predicts that the favored team will win by a certain number of points and his number of points is the point spread.

DRAFTKINGS: BET $5 TO GET $200 INSTANTLY IN FREE BETS (subject to terms and conditions)

What is MLB point spread betting?

An MLB point spread bet, also known as a run line bet, is like traditional point spread betting in that you are betting on the margin of victory or defeat for a team.

In the simplest terms, baseball point spread betting is a way of adding a handicap to the favorite and underdog of any given game.

This is a way of the sportsbook enticing bettors to think they are getting more perceived value when it’s actually adding another layer of difficulty to the task at hand.

MLB Point Spread explained

With what we already know about the spread: let’s look at an example to help explain how the odds work and what the potential pay-out could be when betting on the MLB spread.

If we are looking to wager on the game between the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals, sportsbooks will put out odds of both teams and it’s up to you to decide which team you’d like to wager on.

What you might see on your sportsbooks looks like this:

TeamMoneylineRun Line (point spread)
New York Yankees-220-1.5 (+105)
Washington Nationals+140+1.5 (-170)

This example means that New York is the designated favorite on the moneyline with odds of -220 and Washington is the underdog at +140.

Since we are focusing on the baseball point spread, we can see that New York is getting plus-money to win the game by two or more runs while you must pay a worse price if you wanted a one-run cushion with the underdogs.

Like a moneyline bet, baseball point spread odds always relates to bets of $100. This means that if we wanted to take the Yankees on the MLB spread, we would bet $100 to return $205 ($100 original stake + $105 profit). If we wanted that extra run of cushion with the Nationals, we would have to bet $100 to return $158.82 ($100 original stake plus $58.82 profit.)

Of course, this is purely an example and you can bet as much or as little as you want.

What do minus and plus odds mean in MLB point spread?

Aaron Ashby Milwaukee Brewers MLB
Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Aaron Ashby - © Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Whenever you see a team that has odds with a minus sign, that means that they have been designated as the favorite in that matchup while the opposite holds true as plus odds indicate that the team has been labelled as the underdog.

So if we look at the example of New York -220 vs. Washington +150, this means that to turn a profit of $100, you will have to bet $220 on the Yankees (if that’s the team you were to bet on). If you wanted to bet on the Washington Nationals, however, you would simply wager $100 to return $250 ($100 original stake plus the profit).

If you want to find out your exact return on a specific wager, you can head over to our bet calculator and plug in your numbers.

How to bet on the MLB spread

Betting on the MLB spread can be simple at times, or it can get overwhelming if you’re not sure what to do or where to look.

If you open your online sportsbook and head over to the MLB card, you will see a list of games that are available to bet on. The betting option you are looking for is called the MLB spread, or the “runline” as most sportsbooks like to call it.

From there, you would then have to decide on if you wanted to place a wager on, the favorite or underdog in a particular game. When you’ve made up your mind, then you must find the column that looks like this:

New York Yankees-1.5 (+105)
Washington Nationals+1.5 (-170)

These two lines will always be right beside the money line odds and will 99 times out of 100 be listed as those two numbers.

If you want to bet on the favorite in the game – in this case, the New York Yankees, you will select -1.5 (+105). This means that for you to win your bet, The Yankees must win the game by two or more runs.

If you wanted to bet on the underdog Washington Nationals, you would select +1.5 (-170) and in order to win your baseball point spread bet, the Nationals must win the game outright, or lose by exactly one run.

1. Choose the game that you want to add to your bet

MLB point spread graphic 1

2. Select the team you want to bet on the point spread

MLB Point Spread image - 2

3. Click on the bet slip, set your stake and place your bet

MLB Point spread graphic - 3

Why bet the spread vs the moneyline?

The point spread essentially gives you a one-run cushion if you choose the underdog (but you are paying a premium) or more value on the favorite, but they would have to win the game by two or more runs for you to win your wager.

So why is baseball point spread betting a better option compared to MLB moneyline bets?

Well, baseball is a “have or have-not” kind of sport. The top tier teams are much better than those in the lower portion of the league and as such, the moneyline odds are always upwards of -200 or worse when they go head-to-head.

To save your bankroll by laying that kind of juice, you can take them on the MLB spread and get closer to even-money, sometimes even plus-money odds for them to win the game by two or more runs.

It does add a risk factor, but a lesser hit on your bankroll will keep you in the game longer.

MLB point spread FAQs

What do the odds in baseball mean?
How are MLB point spreads calculated?
How do you bet against the point spread? Logo staff

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