When betting on baseball, if you’re betting on a team to win, you can either bet the money line, or the spread, -1.5. (Or +1.5 if you’re betting on an underdog.)
The odds vary greatly between the money line and run line. This is because it’s a lot harder to win by 2 or more runs than it is to win by 1 run.
According to data compiled by ESPN, in the 2021 MLB regular season, home teams won by more than one run in 30.5% of their victories. This means that almost one-third of all home team wins were considered blowouts, or in our case, covered the run line (assuming the home team was also favored).
On the other hand, visiting teams won by more than one run in only 22.8% of their victories. This suggests that playing on the road is often more challenging and may lead to fewer opportunities for blowout victories. This makes sense when you consider the home crowd working against the visiting team, more travel for the road team, and unfamiliarity with the ballpark they’re playing in.
When looking at all teams, regardless of home or away status, winning by multiple runs were fairly rare. In 2021, only 13.6% of all MLB games resulted in a win by more than one run. This highlights the competitiveness of the league and the importance of each individual game.
So when it comes down to the question of, “is betting the run line worth it?”, it’s important to remember that there can be extra value in grabbing that -1.5 from a favorite, but sometimes it’s worth eating that extra vig too. There’s no one right answer, but it’s important to consider how hard it can be to win by multiple runs in a professional baseball game. Even the worst teams are going to win 50-60 games, and the best teams are going to lose 60 games as well.