MLB Run Line Betting Explained

You may be uncertain what exactly MLB Run Line Betting is and how to participate in the activity. Well, a great deal of online sports bettors enjoy run line betting and employ it as a lucrative and entertaining MLB betting tactic. To best understand the ins and outs of the opportunity, read our easy-to-understand guide below.

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At its heart, MLB Run Line Betting is all about choosing a team and predicting their performance. An MLB run line bet involves how many runs your chosen team will earn relative to the opposing clubhouse. The format is largely similar to that of NFL spread betting.

Typically the favored team will have to win by 2 or more runs for a run line bet on that team to payout, while the underdog will have to either win the game outright or lose by 1 run.  The amount of runs that the favorite must win by can be larger if the skill level of the teams varies greatly, but the typical spread is (1.5).  The odds associated with each outcome will also vary and the payouts will be different.  The easiest way to understand would be to look at an example…

Run Line Betting Example

Take for instance an example game between the Red Sox and Orioles.

This match up will be listed as follows:

Boston Red Sox (-1.5) +165
Baltimore Orioles (+1.5) -190

In this example, the Red Sox are the favourites to win the game, which is why they have the (-1.5) in the run line betting odds.  They aren’t big favourites though and their odds to win by 2 or more runs is +165, which means a $100 bet on the Red Sox run line would payout $265 (win $165).  On the other hand, a run line bet on the Orioles would win $100 for every $190 risked, but this bet pays out if the Orioles either win or lose by 1 run.

Here is another way to look at it…

Think about it like this: if you take the final score of this game and add 1.5 to the underdog’s run count (or subtract 1.5 from the favorite’s), make this the new final score, and reevaluate, who won the game? Let’s say the Boston Red Sox scored 3 runs and the Baltimore Orioles scored 2. So recalculate Boston’s Score: 3-1.5= 1.5. The Baltimore Orioles scored 2, which means they win the bet by a theoretical .5.

1 Run Games

This type of betting can be interesting and return profits if practiced carefully. Remember though, blowouts in baseball are relatively uncommon. For instance, in the example game we discussed above, the favorite team won the game and not the bet. This happens quite a bit with Run Line Betting, and can make it difficult to bet on favored teams. Did you know that roughly one third of all baseball games are 1-run games?  One main reason for this is teams to not get the opportunity to run up the score in the bottom of the 9th.  If the team that would be hitting in the bottom of the 9th is winning, even by just 1 run, the bottom of 9th is not played.

Often times the underdog presents a better bet (so long as the underdog has convinced you of enough skill to beat their opponent for your particular wager game.) Of course a team on a 10 game losing streak may not be a bad bet, but underdogs get the +1.5 advantage that comes in handy for those close call matchups.

Overall, MLB run line betting is easy to get into and can be rewarding so long as you are careful and strategic.