Some sports lines, such as NHL and MLB, rarely have point spreads because these sports tend to be offer low scores, with the teams involved mostly totaling single digits in runs and goals, respectively, for the majority of the time. But owing to the love for point spreads, online sportsbooks are increasingly offering their own version of baseball point spreads, which is what we call run lines.
A Betting Guide to Baseball Run Line Betting
Understanding Run Line Betting
Baseball run lines are usually set at +/- 1.5 runs, with the + (plus) option representing the spread for the underdog and the – (minus) option representing the favorite. In some rare cases, however, the baseball run lines can be wider, especially if there’s a huge disparity between the teams involved in that particular game. Here is an example of what you may find in a run line and how to interpret it:
Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5 (-110)
Boston Red Sox +1.5 (+110)
When you have such a run line, it means that the underdog (Boston +1.5) will need to win the game or not lose by more than 1 run in order for you to cash in on the run lines. The +100 value attached to the Red Sox means that you will receive $110 for every $100 wagered on the Red Sox in the run lines. Conversely, the favorite (LA Dodgers -1.5) will need to win the game by at least 2 runs in order for you to win the run line bet. For the Dodgers, the -110 value means you will have to stake $110 dollars to win $100 for a successful run line bet on the favorite team.
Finding Value Baseball Run Line Betting
Like any other form of betting, run line bets necessitate knowledge about the teams involved in a matchup. The elements you will want to keep your eye on (for success in run line bets) include scoring and defensive efficiencies, current form, goaltenders and their histories with the opposing teams, motivation behind a game and home vs. road advantage. As an example, a team with a weak defense is likely to be exposed when playing one with a strong offense, meaning the stronger offensive team is likely to win the game by quite a number of goals, which makes them the preferred pick in the run lines.
It should, however, be noted that there is no linear pattern when it comes to baseball run line betting. A simple change, like a key injury or suspension, can easily change the scope of a game, so you must always be ready to adjust your baseball picks and predictions in case of such eventualities.
Another crucial way to find value in baseball run line bets is by scoping out for good alternative run lines. Like in point spread betting, certain books can offer alternative run lines, either increasing or decreasing the number of runs in the baseball run lines and having a befitting value attached to it. When used professionally, these alternative lines can easily allow you to increase your payout when you feel strongly about a favorite/underdog or marginalize your risk when betting on either of the two run line options.
Finally, you may find instances that betting on a team in the money line pays very little for a bigger risk when the corresponding run line in that game offers a better play, as is exemplified below:
Dodgers—Moneyline: -150; Run Line: -1.5 (-110)
Red Sox Moneyline: +100; Run Line: +1.5 (+110)
In such an instance, it may be better for you (and more profitable) to bet on the run line, especially if you feel strongly about your team’s chances of covering the spread in the run lines. Using the above example, you can opt to bet on the Dodgers in the run line—risking just $110 to win $100 in the run lines (especially if you strongly feel that the Dodgers will win by at least two runs) rather than risking $150 in the money line to win $100.
Of course, you can never be too sure about anything in betting, but with adequate research and the right betting strategies, your chances of making right picks and sporting solid value in baseball run lines (and other lines as well) will be highly increased, if not guaranteed on a regular basis.