Explaining MLB Run Lines & How to Bet Them

Major League Baseball, like all sports, has a variety of wagers available. Betting MLB run lines is a bet that is very popular for smart baseball bettors. It’s very similar to the puck line when betting hockey and the point spread bets in other sports, with one major exception.


What is the MLB Run Lines?

The run line is always set at -1.5 runs for the favorite and +1.5 runs for the underdog. There are also odds paid out for the winning wager. For example, assume the Dodgers are the favorites over the Marlins in Los Angeles.

The line for the bet would be -1.5 for the Dodgers and +1.5 for the Marlins. The odds for the bet fluctuate, just like any other wager. The Dodgers are the better team, so it’s likely they will win by more than a run.

The odds for the MLB run lines on the Dodgers will probably be around -150 or higher. The Marlins have odds of +120, with the bet paying off if they lose by one run or win the game.

The interesting aspect of the run line bet is that the home team has a bit of a disadvantage. The bottom of the ninth inning isn’t played if they are in the lead. That’s one less at-bat than the visiting team gets.

That means the visitors get the top of the ninth to cut into a lead. Conversely, the home team can’t build on a single-run advantage needed to win the bet.

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Run Line Bet Strategies

Statistically, almost 30% of Major League Baseball games are decided by a single run. That means over 70% of games have a winning margin of two or more runs. The run line bet seems like it’s easy since there is a higher chance of a multiple-run win.

The sportsbook allows for that by adjusting the odds. If the favorite enjoys a favorable pitching matchup, it might be an obvious win probability. The juice (odds) would simply be moved to something like -210 for the favorite and +170 for the underdog.

In essence, the wager then becomes more complicated than just who will win and by how much. The bettor needs to determine if having to wager $210 to win $100 is worth the risk for the favorite to win by 2 runs.

Baseball is the most difficult sport to handicap, with even the best teams winning around 60% of the time. The pro cappers over at Action Sports Picks crush the MLB, so be sure to check them out when the season gets going again next spring.

Crush the MLB with Action Sports Picks

Crush the MLB with Action Sports Picks

To win you MLB run lines bet, the favorite not only needs to win but by more than one run. Even with a great pitching matchup, it’s challenging, which is why the wager is designed like it is.

One school of thought around the run line is not to bet on a home favorite. This is because of the lack of a ninth inning at-bat when leading, as mentioned earlier. It’s recommended by some experts that bettors only wager on road favorites or home underdogs.

The run line bet is challenging but also a lot of fun to analyze and figure out the best options. The line is always at 1.5, but the odds need to be taken into consideration when wagering.