MLB Teams With Run Line Value
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 5/27/2010
No matter how unattractive a money line favorite may look, thanks to MLB run line betting, a bettor always has the option of dressing up the line a little bit by just laying 1.5 runs.
In baseball the run line is always 1.5 with the favorite giving the 1.5 and the underdog getting the 1.5. Basically, if you take the favorite on the run line the team has to win by two or more runs. If you take the underdog they either have to win or lose by one.
The 1.5 runs may not seem like much, but over a 162-game season the amount of one-run games is staggering. And although, once again, the 1.5 runs may not seem like much, the drastic change in the odds from the money line to the run line should be the first indication that winning by two or more runs is harder than it sounds.
Nearly every favorite on the run line pushes the line over the +100 mark. For example, favorites around -120 will be somewhere around +170 on the run line. Favorites as high as -180 still become anywhere from +110 to +130 on the run line. The rare occasions when you would still need to risk more than the bet will return on a run line favorite is when a favorite is -250 and higher on the money line. A -250 money line favorite on the run line generally becomes -120 on the run line. Through 685 major league games this season, 205 have been one-run games. That is nearly a third of every game this season coming down to one run. And this year is not out of the ordinary, one-run games have historically occurred this often.
That being said, let’s take a look at the teams who you should avoid betting on the run line and teams that have added value when taking them on the run line.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have been an overall good bet. Through 47 games they are seven games under .500 but they have been an underdog in all but one game this season, meaning they have actually turned a profit for bettors who have backed them each game. Adding the extra 1.5 runs to the Pirates’ opponent has done little to change their betting fortunes as only five of those losses were by one run. The reason this trend appears to maintain itself throughout the season is the nature by how the Pirates have been winning and losing. While half of their wins are by one run, they have been outscored by an unheard of 270-156.
Taking a look at the other side of things, the New York Yankees have been favored in all but four games so they are used to being on the -1.5 side of the run line. The Yankees have won 28 games this season and only three of them have been by one run. Often times the run line is a popular bet with the Yankees, not so much because of their success rate as much as the high prices the Yankees usually face. To bet on the Yankees money line, bettors often see prices above -200 and many try to make the price more reasonable. This rate of success on the run line is nothing new to the Yankees. Last year during their 103-win campaign, the Bronx Bombers won 81 of those games by multiple runs.
The Cincinnati Reds can be characterized in an entirely different group. They have achieved some newfound success this year, actually leading the NL Central almost two months into the season. The Reds have routinely alternated between favorite and underdog. They have also played 19 one-run games, tied for the most in the majors. When looking at Cincinnati on the run line this season, take them when they are getting the 1.5 and fade them when they are giving it.
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