What is Run Line Betting? How to Bet the Run Line in Baseball

What Is Run Line Betting?

The run line is a form of spread betting for baseball. It creates a new set of odds for bettors by flipping the favorite and the underdog. The process works by adding 1.5 runs to the underdog’s final score or subtracting 1.5 runs to the favorite’s, depending on which side of the bet you take. In practice, this significantly alters the game odds.

To win a run line bet, the favored team must win by two or more runs, or the underdog can’t lose by more than one run. The run line is similar to puck line betting in hockey.

Also Read: MLB Odds | World Series Odds | MLB MVP Odds

How to Read the Run Line

Run line betting is essentially the same thing as spread betting. The run line is the number of points you add or subtract from one team’s runs to determine the winner. Betting on the favorite and winning is called winning against the spread.

The Favorite

The favorite in a run line bet is the team that bookmakers have ruled most likely to win the game. These teams are given a negative line. For example, if a team is assigned a -3.5 line, they need to win by 3.5 runs or more for the bet to hit. If the favorite wins by the exact amount, it is called a push.

The Underdog

The underdog is the team that is expected to lose the game. This team is given a positive line. This positive number is considered a head start. If the team is given +3.5 line, they are given a head start of 3.5 points. They must win the game outright or lose by less than 3.5 runs.

Example of a Run Line Bet


In the game tile above, you can look at the spread, or run line, between two teams above. The odds will be available next to the spread and the sports betting app they’re currently at. You can click on the side you like best to start the process of placing your bet at that sportsbook.

The team that is favored by -1.5 runs will have positive odds. This will be different if the favored team is expected to win by more than two runs, or live odds for a current game are showing.

To provide a concrete example, let’s say the Yankees are favorites with a -135 moneyline to beat the Red Sox. On the run line, the Yankees are listed as -1.5 favorites at +150 odds.

So, bettors could choose the Yankees to win outright, and if they place a $100 wager, they would receive back $74.07 and their initial stake. However, if they placed the same wager on the run line and the Yankees won by two or more runs, they would receive $150 in winnings along with the initial stake.

In that example, a bettor essentially doubles their winnings by taking the run line favorite. Many baseball games are decided by more than a run. In fact, over 70 percent of all MLB games in a given year feature winners by two or more runs.

On the flip side, while taking an underdog on the run line requires more juice, it can be beneficial. If a home team scores on a walk-off at the end of the game, this often happens by just one run. New overtime rules may dissuade some bettors from taking the home team two or more runs if it goes into extra innings.

Why Bet the Run Line?

The run line’s best asset is that it offers a new set of odds and adds excitement to the game. Instead of taking the favorite straight up, bet them to win by at least two runs to increase winnings.

It can also be a position where a bettor may think the underdog will not win, but it’ll be close. In that case, betting the run line on the original underdog can be a great strategy. 

Indeed, these are offered at lower odds, but it’s increasing the chances of cashing in on the bet.

Should I Bet the Run Line?

Historically, baseball bettors have done marginally better on the moneyline than the run line. This, at least in part, is because most sportsbooks take a larger vig on the run line than the moneyline. That being said, the run line is a betting option to keep in mind, especially when you’re betting on a blowout by the favorite or a close game by the underdog.

Run Line Betting FAQs

What is a run line bet?

Run line betting is a form of spread betting. The bettor does not choose an outright winner but bets on the margin of victory or loss. The favorite has to win by more than the line and the underdog must lose by less than the line for either bet to hit.

What is an example of a run line bet?

If the sportsbook sets the run line at -1.5, that means the favorite must win by two or more runs for the bet to hit. Vise versa, if the line is set at +1.5 it means that the underdog must win outright, or lose by less than 2 runs.

How is the run line bet different than a money line bet?

The run line differs from the money line bet because the money line is betting on the outright winner, and the run line is betting on the margin of victory or loss.

What sportsbooks have run line betting?

All the major sports betting apps will have the ability to bet the run line on MLB or college baseball in states where it is legal.

Does FanDuel offer run line betting?

Yes, FanDuel is one of the major sportsbooks that offers run line betting. Sports bettors can wager on many different types of baseball bets using the FanDuel app.

About the Author
Brian Spaen

Brian Spaen

News Managing Editor
Brian Spaen is the news managing editor of Gaming Today. He has been a content writer and editor in various industries, including sports betting, environmental technology, and higher education. Brian is a graduate of Iowa State University and currently resides in Des Moines, Iowa.

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