Understanding the betting terminology used in baseball

For fans who are new to baseball betting, the specific terminology used may be totally unfamiliar and at times, confusing. Baseball betting possesses its own collection of specialized terms and jargon that serve to explain different facets of the game.

This article discusses a range of betting terminology to assist newcomers, helping them gain an understanding of the language used in the domain of baseball betting.

Understanding the moneyline

Baseball predominantly revolves around moneyline (ML) betting. In simple terms, a moneyline bet is a wager placed on a team to secure a straightforward victory, often referred to as “straight-up” (SU).

For instance, if you come across a baseball matchup between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers and decide to place a bet on the Tigers to win, this is known as a moneyline bet. Moneyline bets are consistently presented with plus (+) or minus (-) signs, which indicate the potential payouts associated with each team.

A plus sign (+) denotes the underdog team. Should the underdog team win, your bet will yield more than 100% of your initial investment, hence the plus sign, signifying the potential for a higher return.

Conversely, a minus sign (-) designates the favored team. If the favorite team wins, your profit will be less than 100% of your initial investment, signifying a lower return compared to your initial wager.

Understanding the run line bet in baseball

In Major League Baseball betting, the methodology differs from sports like the NBA and NFL, where a point spread is used to even the odds and level the playing field for bettors. In baseball, the equivalent of the point spread is known as the “run line”. Typically, run lines are established at 1.5, which ensures that the outcome will not result in a tie, but occasionally, they may be set at 1.

For example, if you want to place a bet on the New York Yankees to win on the run line (-1.5), your wager hinges on the Yankees defeating the Detroit Tigers with a margin of two runs or more. If the Yankees secure a 7-6 victory, you would not win this bet when using the run line. However, you would have succeeded in a moneyline bet in this instance. Likewise, if you had chosen the Tigers on the run line (+1.5), you would have been on the winning side.

In the context of a run-line bet, the handicap is introduced by adding 1.5 runs to the underdog’s final score. As seen in the example, by applying this 1.5-run handicap to the Tigers’ six runs, the Tigers emerge victorious with a final score of 7.5 against the Yankees’ seven. The run line adds an extra layer of strategy to baseball betting, allowing bettors to wager on a team’s performance concerning this specific margin.


Over/under bets provide a straightforward way to wager on a specific outcome. The concept behind these bets is as uncomplicated as it sounds: you’re essentially predicting whether the total number of runs scored in a game will surpass or fall short of the figure specified by the sportsbook.

As an example, if the San Diego Padres are facing off against the Colorado Rockies, and the sportsbook sets the run total for the game at 11.5, you have two options for your bet. You can either bet that the total runs scored will exceed 11 or bet that it will not reach 12. It’s essentially a wager on whether the game will produce more or fewer runs than the specified number.

For instance, if the Colorado Rockies manage to secure a 7-6 victory, the total runs scored would amount to 13, exceeding the 11.5 mark. In this case, the over bet would be considered successful.

Over/under bets are often structured as an even proposition, making them a somewhat balanced choice for sports bettors. This type of bet essentially boils down to a binary prediction, where you are wagering on the outcome falling either above or below a predetermined threshold set by the sportsbook.

Player props in baseball betting

Player props have become increasingly popular in sports betting, as they offer an engaging and personalized dimension to the world of wagering. These types of bets center on the individual performances of players during a game, allowing bettors to immerse themselves in various aspects of a player’s on-field performance.

Player props encompass a wide array of possibilities and provide a diverse and compelling betting experience. For instance, they enable you to predict whether a prominent hitter like Mike Trout will hit a home run in a specific game or to speculate on whether a dominant pitcher such as Gerrit Cole will achieve more than seven strikeouts in an upcoming match.

These player props go beyond simple win-loss outcomes and often involve detailed player statistics. You can place wagers on the total number of bases a player will accrue, the number of hits, runs allowed, walks drawn, home runs hit or even the number of bases stolen. Essentially, player props offer a way to delve deep into the intricate details of a player’s performance, providing a more granular and personalized betting experience.

Future betting

Futures bets involve wagering on an event or outcome that is set to unfold in the future. These bets typically revolve around predictions related to series outcomes or player awards.

For example, if you have a strong belief that Jacob deGrom will win the National League (NL) Cy Young Award in the upcoming baseball season, you could place a futures bet on this happening well in advance.

What’s noteworthy about futures bets is that as the season progresses, the odds associated with these bets can fluctuate. This implies that the potential payouts may change over time. Bettors often monitor these odds and make their wagers at strategic points to maximize their potential returns.

It’s essential to note that the most favorable odds and the highest value for futures bets are typically found when betting on an outcome far in advance. The early commitment to a bet can often lead to more substantial potential winnings, as long as the bettor’s prediction turns out to be correct. Futures bets offer bettors the chance to speculate on future events in the sports world, adding an element of anticipation and long-term involvement to the betting experience.


In baseball betting, it’s essential for both novice and experienced bettors to have a thorough understanding of the specific terminology. Betting terminology is important to fully understand so you can make the most out of your betting.

Whether you’re a seasoned bettor well-versed in the nuances of the industry or a newcomer looking to embark on this journey, understanding the terminologies above is crucial. This not only deepens your appreciation of the betting process but also empowers you to make informed and well-calculated decisions when venturing into the world of baseball betting. Then, you’ll be well-prepared to place smart wagers and make your experience as a fan even more satisfying.

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