Little known fact: Over 29% of all MLB games are decided by a single run! All too often, when we see a team’s moneyline record, it doesn’t necessarily correspond with its record on the run-line, and the differences have the tendency of being quite drastic. Join us today, as we dissect how some of the best teams have done in baseball on the run-line thus far in the 2013 MLB betting campaign.
(Run-Line records and amount of profit based upon a $100 bet listed in parentheses)
Pittsburgh Pirates (62-37, +$2,385) – It’s really interesting to see how many games on the run-line the Pirates are really winning when push comes to shove. They are almost as many units ahead this year on the run-line as they are on the moneyline, and in all likelihood, they aren’t going to be caught by anyone in either category this year. The Bucs though, don’t strike us as a team that should be beating the run-line on a regular basis, especially at -1.5. They only average 3.86 runs per game, ranking fifth to last in the bigs, and when you have run production like that and pitchers who routinely are allowing 2-3 runs seemingly every night, it’s really tough to cover those games. However, the Pirates took advantage of a lot of loose +1.5 lines at the start of the season, and they are living off of the rewards now. The oddsmakers also probably aren’t totally onboard with the fact that this legitimately is one of the best teams in baseball quite yet.
Baltimore Orioles (58-44, +$1,822) – All of the talk in the AL East has been how the Rays have been rolling, but in actuality, when you’re talking about profits from a run-line perspective, the team you should be looking at is Baltimore. The Orioles are 12-games above .500, and they are right in the thick of the fight for the AL East title as well. They have covered seven run-lines in a row and 10 out of 11 dating back to before the All-Star break, and they are really pouring it on when push comes to shove. With the way that O’s mash the ball, they’re never out of a game, and they are one of the few teams in the league that could legitimately go to extra innings and cover -1.5 run-lines quite a bit thanks to all of the bombs. Not only does 1B Chris Davis have 37 home runs this year, but C Matt Wieters has 14 homers, SS JJ Hardy has 17 homers, and OF Adam Jones has 20 homers as well. That’s a lot of power for a team to have, and those sudden jolts of multiple runs are what are giving Baltimore the edge.
Chicago Cubs (61-38, +$1,457) – The Cubs are seemingly always underdogs when they go out to the park, and they have played a whopping 33 one-run games this year. Chicago might only be 12-21 in those games, but 27 of those games have ended in covers. That’s a big difference when you’re talking about betting the +1.5 run-line, especially knowing that exactly 1/3 of all of the Cubs games this year have been decided by just that one run. All of the one-run losses that have come since June 22nd have been victories on the run-line, and as a result, the Cubs are 19-5 in their last 24 game against the run-line in spite of the fact that they are just 14-10 in those same games SU.
Tampa Bay Rays (60-42, +$831) – Many figured that the Rays were going to ultimately crash and burn when they had to take on some real competition away from home and against AL East rivals after the All-Star break, but after taking all three from Toronto and two of the first three from Boston, this roadie is going to be a winning one regardless. Tampa Bay has not only won 19-of-22 games, but it has also beaten the snot out of the run-line in a lot of those games as well. The record isn’t quite as impressive in those 22 games at 16-6, but there have been huge profits for the most part, knowing that only one game was lost at +1.5 and minus odds, and that came on Tuesday against the hated Red Sox. In the mix were plenty of -1.5 and plus odds, and some of those games, such as the one on Wednesday against Boston were huge profit makers at +160 and greater.
St. Louis Cardinals (51-47, +$893) – When you’re favored virtually every single night and you win 61 of your first 98 games, you’re inevitably going to be a winning team on the run-line as well. The Cards are just tremendous, and they are certainly one of the best teams in baseball. They’re not dominating right now as they were at times a couple months ago, but they are definitely still finding ways to win games both from ahead and from behind. It will be frustrating to bet St. Louis over and over again at -1.5 and only win half of your bets, but if you do that for the rest of the year, you’ll certainly turn more profits backing one of the most consistent teams in the game.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.