Baseball Betting Lines

Understanding Baseball Betting Lines


In the grand scheme of sports, baseball is definitely popular in the betting community. However, it doesn't normally draw as heavy of action as other major sports like football, basketball and soccer (worldwide).

One reason why some people may be hesitant to wager on baseball is because of the run line. The run line is used in conjunction with money lines to determine a team's odds of winning. Luckily this concept isn't hard to explain, so let's discuss it along with the moneyline and over/unders.

The Moneyline

Before we talk about run lines, it's a good idea to cover moneylines for those who are newer to sports betting. With a normal moneyline, players are simply wagering on the team that will win a game, regardless of the final score. However, this line also balances out the action by giving more money to players who bet on the underdog. You can see an example of this below:

Cincinnati Reds  -130
Chicago Cubs  +115

A bettor would need to risk $130 on Cincinnati for every $100 in profit. As for the Cubs, if a player were to bet $100, they would earn $115 in profit on successful wagers. Many baseball bets only use the moneyline when establishing odds. However, some wagers will involve both the moneyline and run line, which is discussed next.

The Run Line


If you're familiar with point spreads, a run line shouldn't be difficult to understand. This normally features a spread of 1.5 runs on both teams, though it can go up to 2.5 runs in the case of a heavy mismatch.

You'll always see run lines accompanied by moneylines to establish odds. And the favored team will need to cover a deficit of 1.5 runs. Here is a sample of what we're talking about:

New York Mets  +1.5  -120
Arizona Diamondbacks  -1.5  +115

As discussed in the moneyline, a wager on the Diamondbacks would result in a $115 profit for every $100 risked. However, Arizona must also beat the Mets by 2 runs or more for the wager to be successful. If the Diamondbacks only win by one run, the bet is a loss.

With New York, they need to lose by one run or win the game for a successful bet. Assuming this happens, players would earn $100 profit for every $120 wagered.

What's interesting here is that players must risk more to win less with the underdog Mets. However, since they are being given a lead of +1.5 runs, they have a better chance of covering the run line.

Ninth Inning Considerations


One more thing that must be taken into account here is the ninth inning. As baseball fans know, a leading home team doesn't have to bat in the bottom of the ninth if the opponent fails to at least tie the game.

Using the Mets/Diamondbacks line again, if Arizona was the home team, they'd bat in the bottom of the ninth. And this is a disadvantage for those who'd wager on the Diamondbacks because there's a chance they won't bat if ahead. That said, you might see the moneyline rise as follows:

New York Mets  +1.5  -130
Arizona Diamondbacks  -1.5  +125

Because Arizona is the home team, their moneyline has now gone from +115 to +125 since they have a slightly smaller chance of covering -1.5 runs.

Over/Under (Totals)

This is a familiar wager for many bettors since totals are offered in a variety of different sports. With an over/under, you're merely betting on if the two teams playing will combine for more or less runs than the given line. Here's an example:

Atlanta Braves  -105             Over 7.5 (+110)
San Francisco Giants +105  Under 7.5 (-120)

Here the over/under is 7.5 runs. If you bet the over, the Braves and Giants would have to score 8 or more runs for the wager to be a success. And this would result in you earning $110 for every $100 risked. Assuming you bet the under and both teams collectively scored 7 or fewer runs, you'd win $100 for every $120 wagered.

One last thing to keep in mind here is that the way lines are printed may differ slightly depending upon which online sportsbook you choose. However, if you have a good understanding on how baseball betting lines work, you shouldn't have any trouble with the discrepancies.