One Run Games in Major League Baseball

As a gambler, you have surely felt the financial and psychological sting of getting beat late in a MLB game by one run. It’s far more dignified to be wrong by a blowout margin than to be left contemplating all the little annoying things that went into a game that was loss by a scant run. For the sports gambler who likes to use the +1.5 and -1.5 run-line wagering options as an opportunity to bet around inflated pitcher lines, the one run game is a serious obstacle.  For more information about the use of run lines, bettors can visit

Before wagering on any run-line adjustment, you must face squarely the facts about one run games. Between the years of 2004 and 2014, Major League Baseball saw 29% of its games decided by one run. Very little has changed in the last 2 ½ year seasons, nor is anything expected to change in the next 20 years. This is professional baseball.

After factoring in the games that will be won by the underdog outright, you have to question whether or not the value you would derive from laying the 1.5 runs is worth the risk you would take in doing so. The reality is there’s a place and time for everything. Here’s a few tips on betting run lines in the MLB.

  1. When one top 20 ranked pitcher is opposing a pitcher ranked lower than 100, approximately 17.1% of the games were decided by one run over the last three years. As long as the “Ace” holds form, the probability you are creating extra value by laying the 1.5 runs is favorable. Note: the amount of that extra value could be small.
  2. Run line wagers should never be included in parlays or accumulators. It’s tempting to string together a bunch of games at +120 or +130, but the sum of the obstacles to a winning wager like this are quite significant. You have to win multiple games and do so by avoiding the ever-present one run outcome on your run-line wagers.
  3. One effective method of using run-line wagers is as a hedge on potentially lucrative winning parleys. Let’s say you have bet a 4-team parlay and have three favorable outcomes in the books with the final game still on the board. If you have bet the underdog in the parlay, there may be an opportunity to hedge your bet by betting the favorite on the run line. If you choose to do so, you simply need to decide how much of your potential winnings you are willing to trade in favor of increasing the likelihood you can come away with a winner. According to the numbers, there’s a 71% chance you will have created a winning position on that last game by going forward. The number increases to almost 83% if you would be backing a top 20 pitcher.
  4. By focusing on top pitchers that are pitching on the road as a favorite, you can gain a little extra wagering value by saving your run-line betting for such circumstances. The run line odds might be -120 on a top pitcher at home, but come back as +110 for the same pitching matchup in the other ballpark. That’s good extra value for a top pitcher who pitches well on the road.

Image attribution:

Jean Beaufort

Author: Dexter Sinistri

Dexter Sinistri is a famously centrist writer who has worked as a Hollywood correspondent for a number of leading publications since 2005. Though once a photographer, Mr. Sinistri struck out as a writer on all things celebrity, and he likes to consider himself a tremendous asset to Glossy News, though by most accounts, he has fallen somewhat short of this effort.