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Reading MLB odds is relatively easy once you understand the three most common MLB odds displayed in sportsbooks–the moneyline, runline, and total. These are also the most common free MLB picks that we post.
When you bet a baseball moneyline, you are betting on a team to win the ballgame. The moneyline odds are the price or cost of the best. Let’s imagine that the Los Angeles Dodgers are at home against the New York Yankees.
The moneyline odds for this imaginary game are Dodgers -140 and Yankees +130. In this case, you would need to bet $140 on LA to win $100. But if you thought New York would win, a $100 bet would win $130.
The runline in baseball is like a point spread in football or basketball. Typically, a runline is 1.5 runs. That means a favorite would have to win the game by two runs, while the underdog could lose the game by one run.
Let’s go back to our imaginary game between the Dodgers vs. Yankees. This game’s runline odds would be Dodgers -1.5 (+120) vs. Yankees +1.5 (-140). In this case, the Dodgers would need to win by two runs with a payout of $120 for a $100 bet. Likewise, the Yankees could win or lose by one run to win the wager with a payout of $100 for a $140 stake.
The total, or commonly referred to as the over/under, is the number of runs the total score of the game for both teams (including extra innings). You bet on whether the total runs is over or under than this number.
Circling back to the imaginary LA vs. NY game…let’s say the total was 7.5 runs with a price of -110. An over bet would need eight runs to win, while an under bet would need seven or fewer. In this example, both bets would require a $110 wager to win $100.
In a regular season, baseball favorites have historically won between 55% and 60% of the time. It’s worth noting that in the major sports leagues in the United States, the underdog wins more in Major League Baseball than any other league.
That is why betting -300 favorites and parlaying big favorites do not work long term. The best starting pitchers have bad games. The best hitters get into slumps. While some baseball metrics are helpful to predict the outcomes of games, betting expensive odds is not a good strategy.
We believe it’s such a bad strategy to bet heavy favorites that we will not post a Free MLB Pick above the price of -225, nor will we post MLB parlays.