Laying the Points on the Run Line
by Trevor Whenham - 06/08/2007
When it comes to betting on baseball, I feel sorry for the -1.5 run line. It doesn't get nearly the attention that it probably deserves. Most people are aware that it exists, but far fewer use it to its full potential in their betting repertoire. I obviously wouldn't suggest that you use the -1.5 run line every time you make a bet, but then I don't think that there is any bet that should be used without question in every situation. In the right situation, though, it can be a powerful tool. Here, as a refresher, are five situations where the bet deserves a second look:
1. Teams that score a ton - If you know that a team is likely to win by several runs if it wins then the -1.5 run line should be a no-brainer. The perfect example is the Yankees. At 26-31, anyone that has blindly bet them all season has lost a fortune. Of their 26 wins, however, only three have been by a single run. That means that a -1.5 run line bet would have paid off 23 times in 57 games. Given the much better price offered by the bet, the financial picture would be much better at the end of the day using this bet than the moneyline. The offensively explosive Mariners are another team that is worth a look - 80 percent of their 30 wins have been by more than a run.
2. Finding a better price for a heavy favorite - No matter how much of an advantage I think that a team has, there's nothing I hate more than having to play a price of -250 or something ridiculous like that. Even if I think that the game is completely lopsided, the reward just doesn't justify the risk in my mind. That's where the -1.5 run line comes in. With a moneyline of -250 you could expect a run line of somewhere in the neighborhood of -120. Though you won't win quite as many games using the run line, you also don't need to win nearly as many given the price to show a profit. If you have done your handicapping properly and you think that the team is worth a look at the higher price, then it should almost certainly win enough over the long term to be profitable on the run line.
3. Used in combination with the moneyline - By splitting the total amount you wish to wager across the two different bets you can hedge your risk and find a more acceptable price for your bet. It used to be fairly simple to find a -1 run line at several online books. That bet was more attractive in many ways than the -1.5 is because you got your money back if your team won by a single run. Though it's almost impossible to find that bet anymore, you can easily create your own -1 run line by splitting your bet between the moneyline and the runline. Simple trial and error will allow you to figure out how much you need to bet each type of bet to break even. You can use the bets in any combination you would like to balance your risk to your rewards. Click Here for more information on how to do this.
4. Jumping on an underdog - There are those times when your handicapping turns up a price that just doesn't make sense to you - an underdog that looks like it has a clear advantage. In a case like that, using the -1.5 runline, or in the case of the underdog the alternate runline, can help you really capitalize on your hunch. If your work makes you believe that a win by two or more runs is likely, then that +230 underdog you like so much could become a +330 run line favorite. You could use the alternate runline alone or in combination with the moneyline to improve the payoff when these situations arise.
5. Used in combination with totals - In some circumstances a total bet makes good sense given the likely scenario you see playing out in a game. For example, you could see a case where a game will go over if one team is able to take advantage of a questionable pitcher to pile up some runs. If that's the most likely way that your expected outcome could happen, and if you are fairly confident that the game will end up as you imagine, then you could use the -1.5 run line to profit further from your belief. If you expect a team to go over the total by scoring a lot of runs then they are also very likely to win by at least two runs. The advantage of using the two bets in combination instead of just increasing your bet on the total is that there is always the chance that one of the bets will still pay off even if your expected scenario doesn't play out.