As the oldest of the four major pro sports in North America, baseball has a special place in gambling history. Records show activity dating back to 1865, and it’s almost certain people were betting on baseball well before that. The first proposition bets in sports are said to have been made at Fenway Park. Imagine sitting in the right field pavilion in 1917 and betting on whether Babe Ruth would strike out the next batter. It was like the stock market.

One hundred years later, you can still make prop bets on the Boston Red Sox, but there are many other ways you can bet on MLB baseball at Bovada Sports. You have the three classic single wagers at your disposal: the moneyline, the runline, and the total. You can parlay up to 12 of these single bets at once. You can make a wager on the futures market as well as the props, and you can even place bets live as the game unfolds – from the same seat at Fenway if you happen to be there.

Three True Outcomes

The moneyline is the most common way to bet on baseball. When you see the moneyline odds (also known as American odds) at Bovada, you’ll see the two teams playing, each with a betting line attached:

Boston Red Sox           –125
New York Yankees       +105

The Yankees are the home team, listed at the bottom, and in this case, they’re +105 underdogs, meaning a $100 bet will earn you $105 if New York wins the game. If you want to bet on the favored Red Sox instead, you’ll have to bet $125 to win $100. The runline works much the same way, except now the favorite has to outscore the opposition by a certain amount, usually two runs. Here’s how that might look:

Boston Red Sox           –1.5 (+135)
New York Yankees      +1.5 (–160)

Now the Yankees can lose by a run and still cash in, but since the risk is lowered, so is the reward: You have to bet $160 to win $100. On the other hand, if you bet on the Red Sox, they would have to win by at least two runs for you to cash in.

Last, but not least, there’s the total, a very simple wager that asks whether the two teams will combine to go OVER or UNDER a certain number of runs scored.

Boston Red Sox           8.5 (–115)o
New York Yankees      8.5 (–105)u

For a larger potential payout, you can parlay anywhere from 2 to 12 of these wagers on the same card, even the moneyline and total from the same game. The bigger the parlay, the more you can win, but all the outcomes you select have to come true to claim your prize.


Sale on Props

The props market is still one of the more popular ways to bet on MLB games – or even entire seasons, which you can also do on the futures market. If you want to bet on how many games Chris Sale will win for the Red Sox this year (the over/under at press time is 16.5), you’ll find that under MLB Season Props. If you want to bet on the Red Sox to win the 2017 World Series (they’re +450 co-favorites with the Chicago Cubs), that’s under Futures.

There are other, more exotic bets available as well, such as teasers and round robins. Consult the Help guide and the Sports FAQ section for more information on these bets. And don’t forget about live betting at Bovada. This is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to bet on baseball, giving you multiple opportunities to get your bets in while you follow the action. Too bad they didn’t have this at Fenway 100 years ago.


*Odds as of March 29, 2017