Tips for Betting on MLB Baseball Run Lines
The majority of the betting public tends to focus on moneyline odds when it comes to betting on Major League Baseball games, but a second option called the run line can offer a solid return on investment in certain situations.
The run line in baseball is the equivalent of a spread in sports such as football and basketball. If you would take the favorite on the run line you have to give 1.5 runs and if you bet on the underdog you would get the 1.5 runs added to their final score. The biggest difference between baseball and those other sports are the moneylines that are attached to the run line.
For example, the straight-up moneyline for a MLB game might have the underdog listed at +150 and the favorite listed at -160. Once you apply the 1.5 spread to that same game, the moneyline shifts to -135 for the underdog and +115 for the favorite. The primary driving force for anyone who routinely bets on MLB run lines has to be confidence.
The best way to bet on MLB run lines is to first handicap a matchup as if you were going to make a bet on the moneyline. You have to breakdown the numbers for each team especially when it comes to their current overall form and their starting pitcher in an effort to uncover a strong favorite. If a matchup is too close to call then it would not be a solid play on a run line. You may want to revisit this matchup for a play on the underdog, but you definitely do not want to be giving runs to seek out a better return on investment if you see things remaining tight.
The best case scenario for a play on the run line is when your confidence level is sky high on the favorite easily winning the game by two or more runs. Unlike football when a play on the underdog and the points often times makes perfect sense in an even money bet with a standard 10 percent vig, a play on the underdog plus 1.5 runs while risking a loss on an unfavorable moneyline does not offer all that much value. If you believe that the game is going to stay closer than two runs then you are better off playing the SU moneyline on the underdog to maximize your return.
In the example above, if you confidence level is extremely high that the favorite is going to coast in this game, then lay the 1.5 runs to get the 115 return on the $100 bet. If you are wrong you have minimized your loss to $100 as opposed to the $160 it would have cost you with a wager on the moneyline.
An ideal scenario for betting run line is a matchup between a favorite that that has been hitting the ball all over the park lately facing an underdog with a quality starting pitcher that is struggling in his last few starts. In general, you want to look for matchups that have the potential to be high scoring as opposed to them turning into a pitcher's duel. The better the opportunity for the favorite scoring runs, the more likelihood that they will win the game by two runs or more.
Another thing to consider is limiting or eliminating completely taking the home team when laying runs in a runline bets. The reason being that if the game goes into the bottom of the ninth tied the only way that you can cash your ticket is if your team hits a home run with men on base.