Opinions differ among baseball handicappers when it comes to betting the runline or moneyline in MLB baseball.
The truth is, there is no right or wrong answer most of the time, but there are times when the runline is the better play. But how does a handicapper know this?
Well let’s look at an example.
Say for instance the San Francisco Giants are taking on the Miami Marlins. It’s obvious that the Giants are going to be the favorite on the moneyline, so they and the Marlins might be listed at -200 and +200 respectively. That’s because the purpose of any line is to even out the betting, requiring in this case, for a bettor to wager $200 to win $100 on the Giants, and $100 to win $200 on Miami.
Meanwhile, a runline might have the Giants at -1-1/2 and the Marlins at +1-1/2. That means San Francisco has to win be at least two runs, making it necessary for odd makers to compensate for this disadvantage to the Giants, by probably setting the moneyline more along the lines of +110 on the Giants and -150 on Miami. Why the adjustment? Because chances are, the betting public is still going to want to bet on the Giants.
So right about this time, handicappers are probably beginning to wonder and ask themselves where the value is.
Maybe it’s betting on San Francisco straight up, betting $200 to win $100, but that’s not very profitable. But neither is gambling on the Marlins in that case.
This is a perfect example of when handicappers should play the runline. But what do they need to know?
For starters, they need to have a good understanding of both teams’ pitching and hitting situations, paying close attention to whether a game will be a high or low scoring affair. If a game is thought of as producing a lot of runs, with at least a good chance of a three to four run gap, then a handicapper would be best to go with the team that’s at –1½. In the above case that’s the Giants.
Traditionally, however, teams such as the Giants and Marlins have been involved in low scoring games due to San Francisco’s stingy pitching and Miami’s lack of consistent hitters. So this game above, is likely to be low scoring, meaning handicappers will want to go with the underdog in this case — Miami — and the +1½ runs.
Handicappers need to bear in mind that high scoring games are usually not very close, while low scoring games tend to be relatively tight affairs.
One caveat to betting on an MLB runline, is that if the home team is listed as the favorite.
In the example, the Giants are the favorite, and handicappers need to remember that they could be ahead by just a single run heading into the ninth and not be able to extend their lead in the bottom of the frame, thus not netting the two-run win they need to satisfy a baseball bettors winning ticket.
Miami could also tie the game in the top of the final frame, as they would get a full nine at bats, or worst yet, win the game in extra innings, meaning a handicapper could kiss their cash goodbye.
In the end, playing MLB runlines can be profitable, but bettors need to dig a little deeper to find real value. They need to study both team’s recent history and prior meetings, and wager accordingly.