What’s a Run Line in MLB Betting? How Does a Run Line Work?

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Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees Friday, June 2, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
BetMGM @BETMGM Aug 18, 2023, 1:22 PM

Run lines are baseball betting’s version of the spread.

Run lines in MLB odds are no different than point spreads in football betting, basketball betting, or dozens of other sports in which points are the units of scoring. Baseball’s points are runs; therefore a run line is a spread.

Unlike their counterparts in the NFL, NBA, and elsewhere, baseball run lines most often have zero variance. Pre-game run lines are almost always -1.5 for the favorite and +1.5 for the underdog, whereas you’ll see a greater variance in run line odds (e.g., +140, -150) than NFL or NBA point spreads odds.

You can also track MLB ATS records.

How to Bet Run Lines

Here’s an example using a Philadelphia Phillies game against the Los Angeles Dodgers:

At first pitch, perhaps closing odds are Dodgers -1.5 (+145) and Phillies +1.5 (-175).

A $100 bet on the Dodgers would return $245 (including stake) if they won by at least two runs, while a $100 bet on the Phillies would return $157.14 if they lost by one run or won outright.

What’s a Run Line in the First 5 Innings?

Additional run line odds are available for most MLB games, including more full-game odds (with varying run lines and odds), along with 3-, 5- and 7-inning odds, all of which operate in the same capacity.

A $100 bet on the Phillies 5-inning run line (+0.5, -130) would return $176.92 if they led after five innings.

Click on any MLB game at the online sportsbook to view all available run line bets.

Run Line Parlays

You can build parlays from MLB run lines.

Here’s an example using a Chicago White Sox-Tampa Bay Rays game and Cincinnati Reds-Milwaukee Brewers game:

At first pitch, perhaps the Rays are road run line favorites (-1.5, +135) over the White Sox (+1.5, -160).

You could combine the Rays’ run line with the Cincinnati Reds’ run line (+1.5, -155) against the Milwaukee Brewers (-1.5, +125) into an MLB parlay. The parlay would return $386.61 on a $100 bet if the Rays won by at least two runs and the Reds lost by one run or won outright.

You can also combine run line bets with bets from other sports, including NBA spreads and NFL money lines, to add more excitement and cash more tickets for the best online sports betting experience.

Live Betting on Run Lines

Baseball betting doesn’t stop at first pitch.

With BetMGM live sports betting, you can place live bets on run lines, money lines, over/under totals, and props throughout each of the nearly 3,000 games each season.

While you’re watching the Dodgers-Phillies game on TV, streaming a New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox game on your computer, or enjoying a Chicago Cubs-Colorado Rockies game from the bleachers at Coors Field, you can view in-game odds. And unlike pre-game MLB odds of -1.5 and +1.5, oftentimes you’ll see run lines of -1 and +1 in live odds.

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