Do Sharps Lay -1.5 on the Run Line

Whenever we have a big difference between have's and have not's in Major League Baseball, which is true again this year and evolving even into a wider split, many bettors start to look at laying -1.5 runs on the run line with big favorites.

They do that because:

*It feels "cheaper" because the juice is much lower
*The favorite is going to "kill" the dog anyway, so one run won't matter
*They HAVE to bet favorites, you can't make them stop betting favorites!

Unfortunately, taking big money line favorites down to what seem like more reasonable prices is often a trap. Sometimes it works out anyway. Great teams do blow out bad teams much of the time. But, you won't get the best of it over time with that approach. That run you're giving away is bigger vigorish than the odds. It's important to remember that one of the main reasons that large favorites are so pricey is that they're much more likely to figure out how to win a close game in late innings if the need arises. How often do you see a favorite of -200 or more stuck in a close game, only to scratch across a late run (and protect it) to gain a 3-2 or 4-3 win? Happens all the time.

Sharps (professional wagerers) DON'T lay -1.5 runs except in rare circumstances. It has to be a high scoring environment where runs are cheap (giving away a run is less costly), and there must be clear blow-up possibilities for the favored offense. The math doesn't favor the square mindset of "making favorites cheaper."

If you've been reading my articles for a long time, you've probably figured out that sharps find an edge by doing the opposite of what the public is thinking. Makes sense here.

*Favorites are often overpriced in money lines because of public betting
*Giving away a run is more damaging than the public realizes

Turn that around, and you get...

*Underdogs offer value because of how the market inflates lines on favorites
*Taking a run is more rewarding than the public realizes

I know many sharps who don't mind laying odds to take that +1.5 runs. Sure, it often "turns an underdog into a favorite" in terms of the juice. But, the value is there because that extra run is so important. Sharps doing this win their bets whenever the dog wins the game outright, or loses exactly by one run. Squares are cursing those 4-3 wins by favorites because they laid -1.5 runs. Sharps are at the window collecting on another winner.

Now, don't get the idea that the Wise Guys are doing this all over the card. They're particular. Ideally, they want to get their money in on projected pitchers duels in low run environments.

*The underdog has to have a strong starting pitcher and decent bullpen
*Ideally, the game is being played in a pitchers' park, or neutral park
*The underdog is motivated to get a result because of the standings or a rivalry

You won't see sharps taking +1.5 runs with the ugliest dogs who look like they might be tanking a few nights a week this season. Competitive baseball is your friend when taking +1.5 runs. Sharps back teams who will compete.

The goal of these articles is to teach you how to think like a sharp and bet like a sharp. Pretty much with any proposition in any sport...that means you have to STOP trying to think of ways to bet favorites...and START looking for ways to take advantage of how the market is lined up against favorite bettors.

This is true for ANY sport, or ANY proposition. If you're thinking of betting the World Cup this week, I can already tell that YOU will be looking through options trying to find the "cheapest" way to bet on Germany or Brazil. If you're thinking of betting the US Open in golf, YOU want to bet one of the handful of favorites with a little something on Tiger Woods for fun. Kick that habit. Worse than eating too many carbs.

So, if you're considering run lines in baseball, do it for the right reasons. Not, "I want to bet the Yankees, or the Astros, or the Cubs, and I want to lay -130 instead of -200, or -160 instead of -270." Think about prices first, not teams. Think about the value of a run, not your need to root for the superior team in the standings.

By Richie Baccellieri: