MLB Betting Guide

The game that’s affectionately known as America’s pastime captures the imagination of scores of fans from Opening Day all the way through to the World Series. The lengthy MLB season also attracts plenty of betting action every step of the way.

In the early part of the season, there’s plenty of competition for attention from other sports, but MLB commands a huge part of the stage throughout the summer. There’s a slate of MLB games happening pretty much every day, so bettors have options galore to consider.

A number of seasoned handicappers make MLB their focus as a result, but the sport is also a fantastic entry point for those new to betting. The simple nature of the game also translates into contests that aren’t that challenging to handicap once you know your way around.

You can consider this guide to be your roadmap that’ll get you where you want to go with MLB. From the best places to legally and safely place your sports bets in Michigan to strategy tips you can use right away, it’s all here. Read on.

Best MLB betting apps in Michigan

Each of our recommended operators up above feature stellar platforms that are a breeze to sign up for. To get started, click through on our sign-up links and you’ll get access to some exclusive bonus offers just for doing so.

You’ll be able to set up an account quickly just by entering a few simple pieces of information. Next, take the time to download the app for your device from the main website. Log in on mobile, and you’ll have the luxury of being able to bet on MLB on the go.

How to bet on MLB in Michigan

Sports betting legislation was finally passed in Michigan towards the end of 2019. The official opening of legal and regulated sports betting for the state’s residents took place the following year. Today, users have a number of options at their disposal for placing bets.

As you would expect, MLB is one of the featured attractions at sportsbooks. You’ll be able to bet on each game on the docket from the early part of the season all the way through to the World Series.

To begin betting on MLB, it’s a good idea to have a complete picture of how things work. For starters, you’ll want to make sense of what are seemingly a bunch of random numbers presented by sportsbooks for each game. We’ll kick things off there.

MLB betting odds

Sportsbooks will release odds for each and every MLB game. Oftentimes, you’ll be able to find games among the featured listings in the main betting lobby. You can also access the full slate of games offered by clicking on the MLB tab.

All of the upcoming matchups will be listed out for you. For the most part, the road team for the contest is listed on top for the individual games, while the home team is on the bottom. However, keep in mind that neutral site games can come up here and there.

Right next to each team will be a series of numbers. Here’s what it might look like.

  • Cleveland Indians -140                 -1.5 (-110)                   O 8.5 (-110)
  • Detroit Tigers +120                       +1.5 (-110)                  U 8.5 (-110)

From left to right, the numbers can be identified as follows: moneyline, runline, and totals. Here’s how each of them work.


The moneyline tells us which side is favored to win the contest. On the favored side, the odds are negative, while the number will be positive for underdogs. The odds point us to the most likely outcome for the game as the oddsmakers see it.

  • Cleveland Indians       -140
  • Detroit Tigers              +120


In football and basketball, the point spread is a popular way to bet. MLB uses what’s known as a runline. It’s typically set at 1.5 for each game on the schedule. You can bet on the favorite minus the runs, or choose the underdog plus the runs.

  • Cleveland Indians       -1.5 (-110)
  • Detroit Tigers              +1.5 (-110)


The final number listed is the total, which is an oddsmaker benchmark for the total combined runs that will be scored in the game by the two teams. You get to decide if you think the total runs will be Over or Under that amount when all is said and done.

  • Over    8.5 (-110)
  • Under 8.5 (-110)

Odds for MLB games may sometimes be released the night before a contest, but you should definitely see them by the morning of a contest. After they come out, it’s not uncommon to see some movement as bettors begin to weigh in.

For example, you could see a few ticks of difference on the moneyline odds, while the total may shift up or down. Do your best to pay attention to these movements as they can help you spot the way the action is flowing in betting markets.

Additionally, don’t be afraid to look around and see what’s offered for the games at other sportsbooks. Odds can vary from one operator to the other, so you can do some line shopping to find the most attractive sportsbook prices for the games you’re interested in.

MLB bet types

Choices abound when it comes to MLB betting. There will be plenty of games for you to consider, and the same holds true for the number of ways you can bet on each. First up, let’s take a further look at the basic bets we have already touched on.

MLB moneyline betting

 A moneyline bet is simple and straightforward, so it makes for a great place to begin for new bettors. It’s the most popular way to get in the game for MLB betting, so seasoned handicappers lean on it as well.

All you need to do is pick the winner of the game between the favorite and the underdog. At times, there will be a wide range between the odds, but it’ll be more narrow for other contests. The closer the range, then the tighter the game is expected to be.

MLB runline betting

For a runline bet, you have to go beyond the winner and loser and figure out what the margin of victory might look like. Unlike other spread-based betting. MLB runlines are usually at 1.5 runs, so you can zero in on that range.

If you take the favorite minus the runs, that means they’ll have to win by 2 or more to cover the runline. The underdog can cover the runline by keeping the game closer than 1.5 runs or by winning outright.

MLB totals betting

For a totals bet, you’ll need to project out the total runs that will be scored in the game. Oddsmakers will set the benchmark, and bettors then get to make their pick on the Over or Under.

You’ll find many MLB games with a total between 7.5 and 9 runs. A game at 7 runs or less is viewed by the oddsmakers as a potential pitching duel, while games with totals of 9.5 or more could see lots of fireworks.

Next, let’s take a look at some of the other popular ways to bet on MLB with examples for each.

MLB prop betting

Prop bets can be found by clicking the more wagers link on the individual game listings. These are side wagers on things that may or may not happen during the game. Fantasy sports players can find a good transition point to sports betting right here.

  • How many total hits and walks will Miguel Cabreara have – Over/Under 2.5?
  • How many strikeouts will Jordan Zimmerman have – Over/Under 6.5?
  • Which side will hold the lead after inning one – Tigers/White Sox/None?

MLB first five innings

Games can turn quickly once the bullpens get involved. Many handicappers have suffered some bad losses as a result, but there’s a way to mitigate the damage. The first five innings bet revolves around the result after five frames have been played.

  • Minnesota Twins         -160
  • Detroit Tigers              +130

MLB Series betting

When MLB squads hook up, they’re generally playing a set of games. In addition to betting on the results of the individual games, you can also take a crack at which side you think will win the series as a whole.

  • Kansas City Royals    +120
  • Detroit Tigers              -110

MLB parlays

A parlay is a bet in which you place two or more outcomes on the same slip. The more choices you add, the better the potential return. However, the difficulty level also rises with each choice added. For example, you can bet on three moneyline results on the same slip. The odds for the parlay bet will be based on the total odds for all three games.

  • Detroit Tigers +130 over Oakland Athletics
  • New York Yankees -120 over Boston Red Sox
  • Washington Nationals -150 over San Francisco Giants

As you can see, there are plenty of options to consider for MLB betting. You can start with the betting basics and work your way out, or begin by focusing on mastering a couple of bets that work best for you and your strategy.

Live betting on MLB

Looking for a way to remain further engaged as an MLB game plays out? Then check out live betting, which is a relatively new development that has taken the spots betting world by storm.

These are wagers you can place in real time as the action plays out on the diamond. It’s a fast-moving market in which odds and offerings can change quickly. As a result, a mobile sports app is the best way to stay on top of live betting markets.

Here are some examples of the types of opportunities you might come across.

  • Which side will score three runs first – Tigers or Angels?
  • What will be the outcome of C.J. Cron’s next at-bat – Hit/Walk/HBP/Out?
  • How many pitches will Ivan Nova throw in inning three – Over/Under 24.5?

Live betting also affords you the opportunity to hedge your initial bets, as there will be updated moneyline, runline, and totals odds sprinkled throughout the game. Of course, you can also double down when you’re confident in your initial wagers.

This is a fun way to bet on the games that can be potentially profitable, but remember to bet wisely and to stick to a budget.

The MLB futures market

If you like to take a long-range view on things, then there’s a good chance that you’ll love the MLB futures market. These are wagers that you can place on an event that will happen in the future. Here are some of the markets you’ll have to choose from.

  • World Series Winner
  • League and Division Winners
  • Team to Make Playoffs
  • Team Regular Season Win Totals
  • Individual Award Winners

Using the World Series as an example, odds for next year will be released right after the Fall Classic is complete. Here’s what the odds might look like for some of the favorites.

  • Los Angeles Dodgers +350
  • New York Yankees +400
  • Houston Astros +700

And so on for each team in the league. You can place your bets virtually anytime and hold your tickets. There are also plenty of handicappers who stay in tune with the futures market all year round to hunt for opportunities.

How the MLB season works

Outside of the winter months, you’ll have live MLB action to look forward to nearly all the time. Here’s a look at how the season breaks down from top to bottom.

Spring Training

Pitchers and catchers typically begin reporting to camp by mid-February, while the rest of the squad follows soon thereafter. Each team will play a number of preseason games, so you can warm up your betting skills right along with the players as they get set for a new campaign.

Regular Season

Opening Day typically comes our way in late March or early April. There will be a huge amount of interest in the early-going, and it’ll stay strong throughout the year. Each squad generally plays 162 games. There’s a break of a few days in July for All-Star festivities, and betting action will intensify once again down the stretch of the season.


There has been a good deal of chatter about expanding the MLB playoffs to include 14 teams. In years past, the number has been set at 10: five each from the American and National League, comprised of three division winners and two wild card teams each. As you would expect, there is a ton of betting action in the playoffs regardless of format.

World Series

The American and National League pennant winners square off each year in a best-of-seven series to determine the champion. Futures bettors weigh in on the winner all year round, and a whole host of folks get in on the fun once the matchup is official. The World Series is one of the biggest betting events of the year.

Introduction to the Detroit Tigers

Throughout the spring and summer – and hopefully well into the fall – Michigan residents have a home team to root for. Here’s what you need to know about the Tigers.

  • Home Field: Comerica Park in Detroit
  • Division: AL Central
  • Manager: Ron Gardenhire
  • Top Hitter: Miguel Cabrera
  • Top Pitcher: Matthew Boyd
  • Biggest Rivals: Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins
  • Division Titles: 7 – last in 2014
  • AL Pennants: 11 – last in 2012
  • World Series Titles: 4 – last in 1984
  • Playoff Appearances: 16 – last in 2014

It has been a lengthy rebuilding process for the Tigers, so the arrow has nowhere to go but up. However, the club has put together an intriguing mix of veterans and youngsters, so things could start to click before too long.

MLB betting tips

To find success with MLB betting, you can lean on picks from sources that you trust, or you can go the route of breaking the games down yourself. If you plan to rely on picks, then be sure there’s a verifiable track record you can review.

Breaking down the games is known as handicapping, and it’s just a matter of examining the contest in full detail. While doing so, here are some key tips for you to keep in mind.

1. Study pitching matchups

The starting pitching matchup is a huge factor in MLB, so spend a good deal of time here. Beyond that, also take the time to review how the teams have fared in the past when facing the arm in question. Also, dig a little deeper and do the same for the bullpens on both sides.

2. Understand the odds board and movements

The odds board sets the expectations for the day. While online sportsbooks can certainly be off on games – upsets happen, after all – you should still respect the odds and look for areas you may be able to exploit. Additionally, watch out for line movements from the initial release until the time you are ready to place bets.

3. Watch out for peaks and valleys

The MLB season is a lengthy one and teams play a ton of games. Unsurprisingly, there are peaks and valleys along the way to watch out for. Teams will go through good and bad stretches, so be sure to know the current state of affairs. This can be a great way to spot upsets as well if you catch teams on the ascent versus favorites that are struggling.


An action bet means that wagers will be live even if there is a change in the starting pitching matchup. For an alternative, there’s a listed pitcher option, which means that bets will be cancelled in the event of an unexpected change.

It has been awhile. The last time came when the New York Yankees won three in a row from 1998 through 2000. All told, this has happened only 14 times in MLB history. Prior to the Yankees, the last team to do it was the Toronto Blue Jays in 1992 and 1993.


It’s a lengthy list that includes 27 names. Among the most notable names on the list are the legendary Ty Cobb and manager Sparky Anderson. The most recent inductees that spent time with the Tigers were Alan Trammell and Jack Morris, both of whom were enshrined in 2018.

MLB games can be delayed or postponed due to weather, and the rules on how it’s handled can vary by sportsbook. We encourage you to review the rules at the operator you are playing at for specifics. A common way of handling it is that games with a clear winner after five innings of play will result in settled moneyline bets, while runline and totals bets will be cancelled.

Yes, this has happened seven times since the wild card was introduced to the postseason. The Washington Nationals were the last team to pull it off in 2019. The Tigers made it to the World Series as a wild card in 2006, losing in five games to the St. Louis Cardinals.