Baseball Betting Lines

Written by Devin Flanigan
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Betting lines on baseball work differently than they do in football and basketball. Individual point spreads are not calculated by Vegas odds makers for every game, which would likely prove to be a Herculean task. Instead of betting against the spread, enthusiasts have the option of betting what is known as the run line, which some claim is the best bet in all of sports wagering.

Baseball betting still uses the money line, as do other professional teams sports. This means that the odds makers level the playing field by adjusting the ratio of the amount of money bet to the amount of money won. Bet successfully against the spread and if you bet $100, you win $100; bet the money line on a heavily favored team and you may have to bet $400 just to win the same $100.

Betting on the Run Line

What makes baseball betting different from that of other sports is the run line. The run line is a form of a point spread, but one that never varies. The run line is always set--for every game--at 1.5 runs. That means that the team you bet on has to either win by two runs, or lose by only one run (depending on whether you bet the favorite or underdog). Rather than paying even money as a standard spread bet would, betting the run line is a more relaxed form of a money line bet, in which a player may have to bet only $150 to win $100.

Remember, the goal of odds makers is to create a line that will encourage half of the bettors to bet on one side, and half on the other. This way, the losing bettors pay off the winners and the house keeps the juice--basically, a service fee or commission--which is usually 10%. The run line in baseball is not a losing proposition for the house by any means, but it serves to at least make the betting appear to be more in favor of the little guy, which is always a welcome development.


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