Each MLB game has multiple betting lines, with the most common being a moneyline betting in which all a bettor has to do is pick the winner. Betting with run spreads is also available, as is over/under betting on the total number of runs scored in a game.
In a three-game series between two teams, it is possible for the moneyline to be different in each game, even though the same teams will be playing. Let’s say the Red Sox, in first place, are playing the Orioles, in last place. On Monday, Boston has its best pitcher on the mound, while the Orioles’ starter is their very worst. On Tuesday, it’s the opposite, with Baltimore trotting out the ace of its staff against a minor league call-up for Boston. Then, on Wednesday, each team rolls with someone from the middle of the rotation.
In that Monday game, the Red Sox might be a -250 favorite, with the Orioles priced at +225, meaning you’d bet $250 on Boston to win $100, $100 on Baltimore to win $225. The next game, though, it might be the Red Sox at -125 and the Orioles at +115 – Boston still favored because it’s a much better team, but the line shortened up because of the pitching matchup.
Finally, in the Wednesday game, the lines might be something like -170 for the Red Sox and +160 for the Orioles.
The lines will not match up because the bookmakers’ hope is that there will be even amounts of money on both sides, putting the house in position to win no matter what. That’s how the business works. The lines are set with the likely results of the game in mind, but the real trick to finding the best MLB bets today is trying to get action on both sides of each bet.