The MLB Run Line Strategy & How To Use It To Your Advantage



The Run Line bet is the MLB equivalent to an NFL point spread at 1.5 points. While the majority of football handicappers understand the value of the number 3 in NFL betting, the majority of baseball handicappers don’t truly recognize the importance of the 1.5 in MLB betting. Here is a look at the MLB run line strategy and how to use it to your advantage.

Betting On MLB Run Lines

When a favorite is expected to have a significant edge over their competition in an MLB betting matchup, they will be listed at -1.5 on the MLB run line. For example, if the Boston Red Sox were to host the Chicago White Sox, then they could be listed at -1.5(-110) on the run line. In this situation, anybody that bet them on the run line would need them to win by two runs or more in order for them to cover. Meanwhile, anybody that bet on the White Sox at +1.5 (-110) would need them to either win or lose by one run in order to cover. While a good number of bettors will jump on Boston because they are the better team, an educated bettor understands the value of the 1.5 runs the White Sox receive in this situation. By taking the extra 1.5 runs you are creating a buffer to cover the same way you would by taking three points in NFL betting. In order to maximize the potential of betting on the run line in baseball, make sure you shop around for the best available odds.

Converting Odds To Probability

The formula for converting odds in to probability could look something like this: Probability Percentage = (risk/return) x 100. However, the sharp bettors will include the “no-vig” lines as a means to see the value in a bet. Therfore, if they took the Red Sox their bet would look like this: (-220-202)/2 = 422/2= -211. They can now apply the formula, which suggest Boston will win 67.84% of the time. However, when you include the run line in this formula, the Red Sox will only be expected to cover around 51.2% of the time, which is essentially half of the time. When the market price and the percentage price differ, you have an opportunity to capitalize on the value on the run line. Make sure you check out the odds in comparison with probability in order to get an idea of where the best value rests in terms of MLB run lines.

Historical Trends

Home teams win several more one-run games than visiting teams, simply because a game ends anytime the home team has a lead entering the bottom of the ninth inning. That means that home underdogs can be that much more valuable when it comes to betting the run lines. At the same time, there are also instances when the road team is able to cover the one-run lead simply by holding on for a lead. The historical trends are available online so make sure you look at those numbers. The number of one-run games that each team is in are recorded by MLB.com, including their records in such games. The MLB run line can be a very favorable type of wager if you put in the necessary time and research. By shopping around, calculating the probabilities and analyzing the historical trends, you can really profit by betting MLB run lines this season.