Baseball Run Lines

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Baseball run lines are essentially a combination of the point spread and the money line rolled into one. Don't worry though − reading run lines are not nearly as confusing as it sounds.

The run line normally uses a constant spread of 1.5 runs. The team that is favored on the money line will also be the favored team on the run line.

Understanding baseball run lines is always easier when you see an example. On the regular money line we may see odds like:

Kansas City Royals +160
Texas Rangers -170

The example above indicates that Ranger bettors are risking $170 to win $100, while Royals bettors will risk $100 to win $160.

But with baseball run lines, we would expect to see the same game looking closer to:

Kansas City Royals +1.5 -130
Texas Rangers -1.5 +120

Now, those people betting on the Royals are risking more money than they will win, in this case $130 to win $100, but they are receiving 1.5 runs. Even if the Royals lose by one run, those betting Kansas City on the run line will win their bet because of the 1.5 runs.

Looking at another game, this time where the road team is favored, we'll choose the Phillies at the Mets. For our purposes, let's say the money line odds on the game were:

Philadelphia Phillies -135
New York Mets +125

On the money line, Phillies bettors will risk $135 to win $100, while Mets bettors will risk $100 to win $125. Using baseball run lines, however, we would see odds resembling:

Philadelphia Phillies -1.5 +125
San Francisco Giants +1.5 -135

The reason the odds didn't change as much for the Phillies (-135 to +125) as they did for the Rangers (-170 to +130) is because the Rangers are the home team and will not bat in the bottom of the ninth inning if they lead by one run. And if the Rangers happen to be losing going into the ninth inning, the Rangers will stop batting if they go ahead by a run, even if the bases are loaded and there are no outs (unless they score by home run). The Phillies, as the road team, will continue to bat all the way through the ninth inning even if they're already ahead to try to add to their lead.

The home team wins by one run about 17% of the time, and road teams win by one run a little over 10% of the time. As explained above, in the bottom of the ninth or later innings the game is immediately over when the home team is ahead by one run, turning a lot of games into one-run wins, which in turn makes that one run extremely valuable. That run gains even more value when the total is low, which makes it much harder to win by more than one run. Conversely, that run is less valuable for high totals. The value of the run also varies slightly depending on the money line for the game.

Baseball Run Line Strategy

A good strategy, especially when you are using the Labouchere System, is to split your wager between the Runline and the Moneyline. That way if your team wins by only 1 run you break even on your wager. However, if your team covers the 1.5 run spread you increase the profitability of the wager. Let's look at an example:

Let's say the ML/RL odds are BOSTON -185/+109 VS. SAN DIEGO +175

Instead of risking $100 to win $54.05 on the moneyline, you risk $65.00 to win $35.14 on the moneyline and $35.00 to win $38.15 on the runline. That way if Boston only wins by 1 run you make a profit of $0.14 but if Boston covers the 1.5 run spread, you make $73.29, which is the equivalent of -136 odds.

I hope you found this baseball run lines article helpful. You can also check out all of the free articles on selecting the right sportsbook, how to pick a baseball handicapper, how to read baseball lines and odds, and how to develop your own strategies for picking winners and protecting your baseball profits. And more...

Other Baseball Betting Lines

Money Lines. The margin of victory is so small in many baseball games that it’s impossible to have a point spread. Thus, reading baseball betting lines requires that you understand odds represented as a money line.

Totals (Overs/Unders). Baseball totals are just like the totals for any other sport, in that you're betting the total number of runs is either over or under the bookmaker's predicted total.

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