MLB Run Line Betting Explained

MLB Run Line Betting is fairly popular with MLB bettors, but is not nearly as popular as betting the MLB money line or the over/under line. Many beginner bettors may not be familiar with MLB Run Line betting or may not fully understand how it works, so below we will explain how exactly the MLB Run Line Betting option works.

First it is important to understand that with MLB Run Line Betting you will be choosing sides or teams like you do with money line betting.

The line for baseball run lines is 1.5. With a 1.5 run line you will be able to place a wager on the favored team to win by 2 runs or more, or the underdog team to lose by 1 run or to win the game.

The line would be set on the favorites at -1.5, which essentially means the team must win by 2 or more runs, or “cover” the 1.5 run line. Within the same game the underdogs would be listed at +1.5, which means that the underdog team must either lose the game by 1 run or less, or win the game outright.

Although the MLB Run Line is always set at 1.5, some betting sites allow you to bet alternative lines of 2.5 or sometimes even 3.5 runs with varied odds of course.

As an example:
Los Angeles Angels -1 1/2 (-130)
Cincinnati Reds +1 1/2 (+150)

In the MLB Run Line example above, you can see that the Angles are the favorites in the game, as the run line is set at -1.5 for them. The negative (-) sign indicates that the Angels are favored, and must cover the 1.5 runs (win by 2 or more) in order for a bet on them on the run line to win. The odds listed for the Angeles to win by two runs or more in our example are -130.

You will also see that theReds are the underdogs. The +1.5 indicates that the Reds must either win the game outright or lose by a single run in order for a run line bet placed on them to win. The odds listed for the Reds on the run line in our example are -150.

A lot of MLB bettors overlook the difficulty of MLB run line betting. Many MLB bettors will get in the mindset that the team they think will win the game will probably do so by at least 2 runs, leading them to bet the run line over the money line because of the higher odds. Remember, about 30% of MLB games end up being one run games, making it very tough to predict when a team will cover the 1.5 run spread on the run line.

Another thing that many MLB bettors do NOT take into consideration when betting the MLB run line is the disadvantage that the home team has. When the home team is favored they will need to win by two or more runs in order for a wager on them on the run line to win. Because the bottom of the ninth inning is not played out when the home team is winning, it leads to a lot of one run ball games finishing in the middle of the ninth inning. The home team gets one less at bat to score the extra runs that could have won you a run line wager.

In my opinion, one of the best strategies when betting the MLB run line is to try and stay away from laying the 1.5 runs on the favored team. Taking the 1.5 runs on an underdog team is a more profitable long term strategy, and many of the sharp MLB bettors will be taking the run more often than laying the run. There will be some spots where you can even get money taking the 1.5 runs. In the end it is all about finding value with MLB run line betting.