What is an MLB Run Line and How to Bet it

An MLB run line is a -1.5 run spread between the two teams playing. To win the run line, the favored team must win by two or more runs, and the opposing team must lose by less than two runs or win the game. Learn how to bet the run line, strategy, and how it compares to the popular money line bet. Similar to moneyline betting, you’ll choose sides or teams. Run line betting in baseball almost mimics NFL spread betting exactly, which is the most popular type of football betting. The line for baseball run lines is 1.5. With a 1.5 run line you will be able to place a wager on the favored team to win by 2 runs or more, or the underdog team to lose by 1 run or to win the game.

The line would be set on the favorites at -1.5, which essentially means the team must win by 2 or more runs, or “cover” the 1.5 run line. Within the same game the underdogs would be listed at +1.5, which means that the underdog team must either lose the game by 1 run or less, or win the game outright. Although the MLB Run Line is always set at 1.5, some betting sites allow you to bet alternative lines of 2.5 or sometimes even 3.5 runs with varied odds of course.

Betting Site
Bonus Bet Now
1BetOnline Logo BetOnline
50% up to $1,000 Go to Site
2 BetUS
125% up to $2,500 Go to Site
3 Bovada
50% up to $1,000 Go to Site
4 SportsBetting.ag
100% up to $1,000 Go to Site
5 Everygame
100% up to $500 Go to Site
6 MyBookie
100% up to $1,000 Go to Site

MLB Run Line Example:

Chicago White Sox +1.5 (-150)

@ Minnesota Twins -1.5 (+120)

In the MLB Run Line example above, you can see that the Twins are the favorites in the game, as the run line is set at -1.5 for them. The negative (-) sign indicates that the Twins are favored, and must cover the 1.5 runs (win by 2 or more) in order for a bet on them on the run line to win. The odds listed for the Twins to win by two runs or more in our example are +120.

You will also see that the White Sox are the underdogs. The +1.5 indicates that the White Sox must either win the game outright or lose by a single run in order for a run line bet placed on them to win. The odds listed for the White Sox on the run line in our example are -150.

MLB Run Line Betting Strategy

A lot of bettors overlook the difficulty of MLB Run Line Betting. Many bettors will get in the mindset that the team they think will win the game will probably do so by at least 2 runs, leading them to bet the run line over the money line because of the higher odds. Just about 30% of MLB games end up being one run games, which is a lot higher than most people would have expected, making it very tough to predict when a team will cover the 1.5 run spread on the run line.

Another thing that many casual bettors don’t take into consideration when betting the MLB Run Line is the disadvantage that the home team has. When the home team is favored they will need to win by two or more runs in order for a wager on them on the run line to win. Because the bottom of the ninth inning is not played out when the home team is winning, it leads to a lot of one run ball games finishing in the middle of the ninth inning. The home team gets one less at bat to score the extra runs that could have won you a run line wager.

One of the best strategies when betting the MLB Run Line is to try and stay away from laying the 1.5 runs on the favored team. Taking the 1.5 runs on an underdog team is a more profitable long term strategy, and many of the sharp MLB bettors will be taking the run more often than laying the run. There will be some spots where you can even get money taking the 1.5 runs. In the end it is all about finding value with MLB Run Line betting, and if you can spots to bet it you can be profitable!

Run Line vs. Moneyline

To re-cap, the run line bet is a 1.5 spread between two teams. To win, the favorite has to win by at least two runs, or the underdog must lose by less than two runs or win the game.

The other really common bet in baseball is the moneyline bet. Now that you know everything there is to know about the run line, what is the difference between the run line and the money line bet?

Moneyline Bet Explained

The money line bet is the easiest baseball bet you’ll ever wager. It’s pretty straightforward – all you need to do is pick the winning team! The nice thing about a money line bet is it doesn’t matter how many runs the team wins by or the number of runs they score; they just have to win.

The numbers after the money line picks, are the money line odds. They are three numbers with either a + or – in front of them. The number with a  – in front represents the favored team, and the number with the + represents the underdog.

For example, if the money line is, San Francisco Giants +117 and LA Dodgers -140, then the Dodgers are the favored team to win. You would need to bet $140 on the Dodgers to win. If they win, you get the $140 back plus $100 more. Your winnings = $240. If they lose – you’re out $140.

If you bet on the Giants to upset the Dodgers and wager $100 at +117 and the Giants win, you collect $117 plus $100. Your winnings = $217. If they lose – you’re out $100.  As you can see, the underdog is a riskier bet, but it also pays more if you win.

More MLB Betting Options

Now that you have an overview of run line and moneyline betting, are you ready to dive deeper into the world of MLB betting?

If you answered yes, check out our comprehensive MLB betting guide for insight on other baseball bets, tips, news, FAQs, and more!

Ready to place your bets? Take a look at our MLB picks page for featured picks, betting odds, point spreads, and the best betting sites to place your wagers.

If you’re looking for mobility or need to place your wagers on the go, our recommended sports betting app selection has everything you need to get started.