How to Bet on the MLB Run Line

The MLB run line is a popular bet with MLB wagering fans, and although many people prefer betting on the moneyline or maybe the over/under it still gets plenty of action. The MLB run line is basically the same the points spread in NFL and you are wagering on one team to win whilst beating the spread, or in this case the run line.

The big difference is of course is that there are many points scored in an NFL game than there are runs made in an MLB games, and therefore the MLB run line is always set at 1.5. This means that when wagering on the run line, should you bet the favorite at -1.5 then that team needs to win by 2 runs, and should you bet the underdog at +1.5 then they would need to lose by 1 run, or win the game.

A side note here is that occasionally you will see alternative MLB run lines that offer spreads of 2.5 or even 3.5 that you may wager on, however in these cases the odds are always adjusted accordingly.

MLB Run Line Example and Strategy

Let’s look at a typical example of a run line...

  • Chicago Red Sox +1.5 (-150) @ NY Yankees -1.5 (+120)

As you can see in this example, the Yankees are favorites and therefore have a -1.5 figure, while the underdogs are the Red Sox with a +1.5. This means then that should you place a wager on the Yankees then they would need to win the game by at least 2 runs for you to win your wager, and should you bet on the Red Sox then they would need to either win the game or lose by a single run. The odds in the example are in brackets, showing what return you would get from your wager and unlike NFL points spreads where the odds are usually -110 each side, they will differ in MLB run lines, due to the fact that much less points (runs) are scored and that the -1.5/+1.5 ‘spread’ is not that large.

Many MLB bettors believe that 1.5 runs is easy for the favored team to win by, however this is not the case, and around 30% of all MLB games are won and lost by just 1 run, making them a very close call. Bettors also make the mistake of jumping on the favorite at -1.5 simply because of the better odds available, however 1 run is a big deal in MLB and plenty of games are settled by one swing of the bat. Wagering on MLB run lines is about finding the value lines, and may MLB bettors will prefer to bet with the underdog and the +1.5 finding that with a little research this provides them with better chances of hitting the win.