Point spreads are uncommon in some sports lines, including those in the NHL and MLB, since these leagues often feature low scoring, with the clubs participating averaging single digits in runs and goals, respectively, most of the time. However, because point spreads are so popular, online bookmakers are starting to provide run lines, which are essentially their own take on baseball point spreads.

A Betting Guide to Baseball Run Line Betting

Understanding Run Line Betting

Baseball run lines are often set at +/- 1.5 runs, where the favorite is represented by the – (minus) option and the underdog by the + (plus) option. Rarely, though, the baseball run lines may be wider, particularly if the teams playing that game have a significant difference in stature. Here’s an illustration of what to look for and how to read a run line:

Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5 (-110)

Boston Red Sox +1.5 (+110)

Such a run line indicates that in order for you to profit from the run lines, the underdog (Boston +1.5) must either win the game or not lose by more than one run. The Red Sox have a +100 value, which indicates that for every $100 bet on the team in the run lines, you will win $110. On the other hand, in order for you to win the run line wager, the favorite, the Los Angeles Dodgers (-1.5), must win by a minimum of two runs. Given the Dodgers’ -110 valuation, a winning run line bet on the preferred side will require you to stake $110 in order to win $100.

Finding Value Baseball Run Line Betting

Run line bets require familiarity with both teams in the match, just like any other type of betting. In order to be successful while placing run line bets, you need pay close attention to the following factors: goaltenders and their past performances against the opposition, current form, game motivation, and home versus away advantage. In a game including a good offense and a weak defense, for instance, the stronger offensive club is likely to win by a significant margin, making them the favorite choice in the run lines.

It is important to acknowledge that there isn’t a straight line trend when it comes to baseball run line betting. You should always be prepared to modify your baseball predictions and picks in the event of a simple change, such as a critical injury or suspension, as these situations can drastically alter the outcome of a game.

Looking for strong alternative run lines is a critical step in determining value when placing baseball run line bets. Similar to point spread betting, there are several books that provide alternate run lines for baseball that change the number of runs and provide a suitable value. When utilized skillfully, these backup lines can easily enable you to decrease your risk when betting on either of the two run line alternatives, or raise your reward when you have strong feelings about a favorite or underdog.

Last but not least, there are times when taking a higher risk to bet on a team at the money line pays very little when the matching run line in that game presents a superior play, as seen in the example below:

Dodgers—Moneyline: -150; Run Line: -1.5 (-110)

Red Sox Moneyline: +100; Run Line: +1.5 (+110)

If you have strong feelings about your team’s prospects of covering the spread in the run lines, it might be wiser (and more profitable) for you to wager on the run line in this situation. Using the aforementioned example, you might choose to wager on the Dodgers in the run line, risking only $110 to win $100, instead of $150 in the money line, if you have a strong feeling that the Dodgers will win by at least two runs.

While there’s never a guarantee when it comes to betting, you can greatly boost, if not guarantee, your odds of making wise decisions and finding good value on baseball run lines (and other lines) by doing your homework and using the appropriate betting tactics.