MLB Runline Betting

The most popular way to bet on MLB games are through the money line odds that are set for a straight-up result. You need to risk more money to bet on the favorite and the return is higher than your bet when wagering on the underdog. A head-to-head SU matchup is then handicapped by the size of the actual money line odds.

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For example, if the Boston Red Sox are slight favorites at home against the New York Yankees, you might have to bet $110 to win $100. If the Los Angeles Dodgers are heavy favorites against the San Diego Padres, that moneyline bet might be $240 to win the same $100 bet.

One way to lower the risk betting MLB favorites is through the adjusted 'run line'. This could be thought of as the spread in baseball with an added twist. The favorite has to give 1.5 runs to the underdog, meaning they have to win the game by two or more runs. The 1.5-run spread never changes with the standard MLB run line, but the corresponding moneyline odds do.

For example, the following is a moneyline listing for a typical MLB game:

  • New York Mets +145
  • Philadelphia Phillies -155

In this scenario, you would have to risk $155 to win $100 betting the Phillies as favorites. The added reward for betting $100 on the Mets to win as underdogs would be $145. The road team is generally listed on the top of the betting line.

The adjusted betting odds for this game on the MLB run line would read as follows:

  • New York Mets (+1 ½) -140
  • Philadelphia Phillies (-1 ½) +120

By giving up the 1.5 runs, the Phillies would return $120 on a $100 bet if they win this game by two or more runs. To gain the 1.5 runs on the Mets as road underdogs, you would now have to risk $140 to win $100.

There are any number of betting strategies that can be employed betting MLB runs lines based on personal preference. The most basic strategy you should employ is betting favorites when you do have a high level of confidence that they will win by two or more runs. The added risk for using the run line to bet underdogs offers far less value than simply betting them to win the game SU on the money line odds.

There are quite a few factors that go into handicapping any MLB game. Current form should rank rather high on the list given how every team has hot and cold streaks throughout an extended 162-game regular season schedule. The starting pitcher for each team is equally important given their current form as well.

Starters are the basis for every MLB moneyline and run line set. However, most average starters are only going to pitch for the first two-thirds of that game. This puts some added weight on the current form of a team’s bullpen staff. If they are coming off a weekend series where they were used heavily in all three or four games, betting against that team may make sense in Monday’s new series opener. The collective form of a team’s pitching staff needs to be weighted against the other team's batting lineup. This is also heavily affected by current from over the past few games.

Successfully betting favorites on the MLB run line all comes down to finding that occasional mismatch on the betting board. This could be a team playing extremely well at home facing another team heading into the tail end of an extended road trip. You might be able to find a starter that has been roughed up in their last few outings on the road facing a hot-hitting team. The common denominator is finding an attractive favorite with solid value in its run line return.

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