Runlines are a baseball bet that creates a point spread for a baseball game opposed to the traditional moneyline bets offered.
The way they work is that the favorite would now be laying -1.5 runs and pay a plus number if they are to cover the spread and win by 2 runs or more. An example of a favorite runline would be:
Chicago Cubs -1.5 +140
As you can see, when you lay a run and a half you are paid at underdog odds because the oddsmaker believes that this result (winning by 2 or more) is less likely to happen than not.
An underdog runline would look like this:
Cincinnati Reds +1.5 -160
The underdog now “getting” a run and a half makes them the favorite to cover this spread. As you can see, the importance of a team getting or laying one run is huge as almost 20% of all major league baseball outcomes land within one run.
There are also alternative runlines where the book makes the favorite an underdog and the underdog the favorite, kind of like a pleaser bet in football. In an alternative runline bet the Reds would be -1.5 +240. The Cubs would be +1.5 -300.
Last but not least, some online sports bookies offer runlines of 2.5. These are really pricey as their easier to beat. An example of a 2.5 runline using the above listed game would be the Reds getting 2.5 at -285 and the Cubs laying -2.5 runs and getting +225 back on the payout.
While we’re kind of a fan of laying the chalk and getting 2.5 runs it’s not recommended unless you really know what your doing. One loss and you can find yourself in a 3 unit hole that is not easy to crawl out of, even for a professional handicapping. Three units can be a setback that can literally take 2 weeks or more to get back to the break even point, even for the most astute of handicappers.
Related: Baseball Moneylines.