The Value of the MLB Runline

Is there value in the MLB runline? Would you simply be better off playing the moneyline? Opinions vary concerning whether you should play the runline or moneyline. There are times when the runline is better and other times you’d just assume take the moneyline.

The difference works in this manner. Let’s say that the New York Yankees are playing the Chicago White Sox. Who’s probably going to be listed as the favorite on the moneyline? It’s the Yankees. You can probably get the Yanks at around -220 and the White Sox at +200. The point of any line is to even out the betting. Thus, it’s going to cost $220 to win $100 on the Yanks and just $100 to win $200 on the Sox.

The runline is going to change things. First of all, with the runline the Yankees will be at -1½ and the Sox at +1½.  That’s going to change things. Now the Yanks will be listed on the plus side and the Sox on the minus. But how much can the bookmaker compensate for the disadvantage New York now has in having to make up two runs? The runline would have the Yankees at around +110 and Chicago at around -150. Why?  Well because chances are people are still going to want to bet on the Yankees.

The question becomes where is the value—in the moneyline or the runline? Is there value in betting this game at all? Chances are that unless there are some extenuating circumstances most bettors are going to take the Yankees straight up. Okay, so you’ve got to risk $220 to win $100. That’s not a great deal. And although the payoff on the moneyline is attractive for the White Sox, there’s little chance that Chicago will win for you straight up.

The runline for this game is really a bad deal. The payout on both teams is about as slim as can be and it’s hard to believe that Chicago will be helped much by the 1½ runs. The choice is the Yankees, but the odds are just a tad better than even and that is about as unattractive a bet as you can imagine.

So, when should you play the runline? Here are three guideposts that you can use to determine if and when you should invest some bucks in the MLB runline. You’ll certainly need to have a good understanding of both teams’ pitching and hitting situations.

In games that look like they will be high scoring, it’s best to go with the team that’s at –1½. That’s because high scoring games rarely have close scores. Thus, you’re betting on the idea that seven or more runs will be scored and there will be a two to four run disparity. Traditionally, teams such as the Yankees and Red Sox have been involved in high scoring games due to their ability to pay for hitters.

If the game looks as if it will be low scoring, then go with the underdog and the +1½ runs. Low scoring games tend to be relatively tight affairs. One team that’s known for losing by small margins when being the underdog in tight games is the Dodgers. That’s because they traditionally favor pitching that keeps them in the game. Another team that often falls into this category is the Philadelphia Phillies.

The last thing you want to do is to see which is the home team—the underdog or the favorite? If the favorite is the home club, they are not as good a bet since they can be ahead by 1 run going into the ninth and not get up to bat in the bottom of the ninth. The away team automatically gets a full nine innings to bat. Also, if the away club ties the game and the home team wins it in the bottom of the ninth or in extra innings, you can probably kiss your cash goodbye. All they need is one run to win and the game is over. Of course a two-run homer can save the day for you.

The skinny on MLB runlines is that you have to be wary in playing them. It may be hard to find real value and often you’re better off simply plunking cash down on the moneyline. Study the teams, recent history and matchups and follow the three tips above when deciding on which team to bet when using the moneyline.

Never feel as a baseball handicapper that you have to take a bet. You’re much better off putting an extra unit or two on a runline that gives you value than on one that looks sketchy. Make the best bets that you can each and every time and in the long run you won’t go wrong.

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