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Betting Baseball: Should You Play The Runline?

At first glance betting a baseball runline may appear to be a bargain, but before you slide head first and start putting your money on these types of wagers, you need to know the facts behind these special plays. Basics of Baseball Wagering: Baseball offers two types of wagering opportunities: 1) straight moneylines & 2) runlines. Baseball runlines are really a combination of a moneyline and a

1.5 run pointspread added to the wager. For a runline wager to win, a favorite must win the game by at least two runs. If the team wins by less than two runs, the wager loses. Underdogs, on the other hand, get an additional +1.5 runs and would win the wager if they win the game outright or lose by less than two runs. By adding the 1.5 run pointspread to the wager, the amount of money you have to lay on favorites is reduced. For example, a game with a standard moneyline favorite of (-260) would generally have a corresponding runline of (-1.5 runs / -140). The payouts for runline underdogs are likewise reduced because of the +1.5 run added advantage. Runlines are most useful for games with very high moneyline favorites, but before you make a runline play, you should be aware of some facts about one-run games. The Facts About One-Run Games: Historically 27% of all Major League Baseball games are decided by one run. This number may be surprising to the average bettor. Understand that if you are taking a runline favorite and laying Ė1.5 runs, you have just significantly reduced your chances of winning that wager, compared to a straight play, by almost 30%. Therefore, the reduction in the amount of money that you have to lay for a runline favorite, in many cases may not justify this added risk, knowing that nearly 3 of 10 games will be decided by one run and will lose. In our opinion, runlines are generally not a recommended play Ė the added risk outweighing the reward. Even baseball experts would argue that runlines are not strong bets. Believe it or not, there has been a lot of research conducted on the dynamics of one-run games. The experts appear to be in agreement that a teamís ability has little affect in determining their success in winning one-run games. The consensus of baseball scholars conclude that the final outcomes of one-run games are really based more on luck than any other identifiable factor. Itís true; nothing has been shown to separate a teamís success in one-run games more than pure luck Ė a good or bad bounce. If this sounds surprising and you have been playing the runline, you may want to stop and reassess your wagering plan. This is just one more reason why playing a runline may not be a strong bet over time.


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