What is the Runline in Sports Betting

The runline is basically a form of spread betting designed specifically for baseball. It differs from spread betting in NBA and NFL in that it isn’t meant to equally handicap the game. Because baseball is a low scoring game, even adding a single run to a game tips the balance significantly. Runline simply adds or subtracts runs from the final score of the game to give sports bettors a different betting option. Typically this means making the favorite team the underdog and the dog the fave. In the case of Major League Baseball, that number of runs is 1.5.

Here is an example of runline odds on a game:

Runline Odds Moneyline
Toronto -1.5 +147 -108
NY Yankees +1.5 -160 +100

The moneyline odds are included here to show that Toronto is the favorite in this game. That means that the runline on Toronto is going to be -1.5 runs. Similarly, the Yankees are the underdog, and are therefore spotted 1.5 runs on the final score. It is VERY important to pay attention to the odds on runline, since we see that the 1.5 runs subtracted from the final score also means you get much more value on a runline bet. In the above example, a $100 bet on Toronto’s runline pays $147. Meanwhile a $100 runline bet on the Yankees only pays $62.50. To calculate payouts be sure to use our moneyline calculator before placing any bet.

To show how these bets would pay out, let’s take a look a some potential final score

Final Score Runline Winner?
Toronto 3 -1.5
NY Yankees 2 +1.5 X

If you had taken Toronto on the runline, and the final score is 3-2 Toronto, you have to subtract 1.5 runs from Toronto’s score making the score 1.5 – 2, meaning the Yankees win and you lose your Toronto bet. Likewise a runline bet on New York means adding 1.5 runs to their score, giving you an outcome of 3 – 3.5, a Yankees win.

Let’s look at another possible score:

Final Score Runline Winner?
Toronto 4 -1.5 X
NY Yankees 2 +1.5

In the above example, subtracting 1.5 runs from Toronto gives you a score of 2.5 – 2. This means your Toronto bet wins. As with our other example, if we add 1.5 runs on a Yankee outcome we end up with a score of 3.5 – 4, meaning your Yankees bet loses.

If this topic is still a little unclear, click over to the article on the very similar what is the puckline article and spread betting explained which give you very similar examples and illustrations to this runline explanation.