When to Lay -1.5 Runs

With Oddsmaker Nick Bogdanovich


More and more bettors are trying out the strategy of laying -1.5 runs at a reduced price in Major League Baseball rather than betting on every expensive favorites. We just saw some good examples of why that's NOT a good idea.

This past Monday Night there were a pair of big favorites who won by blowout scores. It's often a few games like this that convince squares (our word for the general public) to try this approach. Even though there's not a lot of square action in baseball right now because of a down economy, there's still some players who can't resist trying this out.

The Monday results were:
Boston -195 over San Diego 14-5
Texas -185 over Houston 8-3

Scoreboard watching squares will see slaughters like that and decide that they should get involved whenever some of the best teams are playing the worst teams. Nothing's easier than THAT, right?  Ask a great team to beat a horrible team. If the moneyline prices seem to high, just lay -1.5 runs at a lower price and you'll still cash easily. Hey, scores like 14-5 and 8-3 don't even make you sweat one and a half runs.

Here's what happened in the remaining games in those series:
Boston -175 lost to San Diego 5-4
Boston -210 lost to San Diego 5-1
Texas -210 beat Houston 5-4
Texas -190 lost to Houston 5-3

None of the big favorites were able to win by more than one run in the rest of those two series. The Boston bats fell asleep for two games. Texas appeared to get complacent as well, figuring they could just coast past a bad team like the Astros.

The only other big favorite in the first few days of action this week was the Chicago White Sox -175 over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday Night, and they could only manage a 4-3 victory. Bettors choosing to lay -1.5 runs lost another one.

Here's the most important thing for you to remember.


You're not attacking some loophole that oddsmakers haven't considered. You're 'paying' a run and smaller juice instead of the original juice. It's still the whole juice! In fact, in many cases, the math shows that there's even more juice involved. It just looks cheaper, which is why sportsbooks offer it. You're actually getting a WORSE deal by laying -1.5 runs.

So, the short answer to when you should consider laying -1.5 runs is NEVER. All squares would be better off if they never tried it. And, I'd venture to say that even most of you reading this (who hopefully aren't square any more after reading my articles) shouldn't try this option. This is not something I use with my clients by the way unless a very special situation comes up.

What kind of special situations can come up that make this a play worth considering?

  • Let's say a starting pitcher is battling an injury, and the Vegas line doesn't properly account for the impact of that injury. Fading the pitcher makes sense both in the regular line and the -1.5 run line. If you shop around, you can get some nice (+) returns if you lay -1.50 against a prominent pitcher who's not throwing at 100%.

  • Or, maybe the wind is blowing out at Wrigley Field. High scoring games often skew away from close games because of the sheer volume of runs being scored. Somebody's going to win 10-7 or 11-5 rather than 9-8 in this type of game. I think the market generally mis-prices the value of that extra 1.5 runs in high scoring scenarios.

Squares generally try to reduce what they see as very high prices on the best teams. They're not actually reducing anything! The smart way to play -1.5 runs in very limited fashion is when the market has mispriced a pitcher, or the value of that extra clearance.

I know a lot of you are working your way back into baseball now that it's the only sport in town for several weeks. I wanted to review this point today so you don't make any dumb mistakes this weekend!

I have a few very big plays planned in these Friday through Sunday matchups. Among the series that have my attention are: Boston/Pittsburgh, Cincinnati/Baltimore, NY Mets/Texas, Minnesota/Milwaukee, Toronto/St. Louis, and Angels/Dodgers in the battle of Los Angeles. You can always purchase my BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. Full season packages are available at reduced rates.

Since the betting odds are posted here in my home state, the best way to BEAT those odds will always come to you DIRECT FROM NEVADA!

This article is part of the VSM MASTERS SERIES presented by VegasSportsMasters.com. For more information on NICK BOGDANOVICH'S handicapping packages, call 1-877-822-2276.


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