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MLB 5-inning Run Line Stats


Malcolm Darnley

Updated: Jul 20, 2024

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Baseball today is more analytical and more stats-based than any other North American sports league.

Those who love baseball and follow it closely are no doubt stat heads who love to dive into the data.

How teams handle pitchers, bullpens, and key match-ups is different today than in years past.

For many bettors, a chance to play a 5-inning run line, as opposed to a full game run line, means the ability to focus more on the starting pitchers involved and not having to deal with handicapping bullpens.

Below, we dive into some key trends, strategies, and resources available to help us make more informed decisions the next time we place our 5-inning Run Line bets.

5-Inning Run Line Betting Appeal

Understanding bullpen usage can be tricky.

Who pitched yesterday? Who is available to work today? Is the closer available?

How do the available arms compare to the opposition’s available pinch hitters?

All of that homework can be time-consuming and complicated.

Betting on just the first 5-innings of an MLB game can take a lot of analysis work out of play.

In an era when teams regularly use four or more pitchers to complete a 9-inning game, focusing on just one or two as a bettor has its appeal.

Let’s go!

What is MLB Run Line Betting?

A run line is baseball’s version of a point spread.

Most of us are familiar with how point spread betting works in the NFL and the NBA.

The run line in baseball works the same way, except the run line is always a set number.

For MLB full-game betting, the run line is always 1.5 runs and looks something like this.

NYY vs LAD – Odds

TeamsMoneylineRun Line5-IP Run Line
NY Yankees+110+1.5 | -120+0.5 | -115
LA Dodgers-130-1.5 | +100-0.5 | +105

Our odds table above gives us the moneyline, the run line, and the 5-inning run line.

When we look at the full game run line, we see it is set at 1.5 runs.

In our example game above, the Los Angeles Dodgers are the moneyline favorite and have the -1.5 run line handicap.

The -1.5 run line means the Dodgers will have to beat New York by two runs or more to win their run line wager.

A bettor will notice that the odds of the Dodgers shift dramatically when we apply the run line.

To beat the Yankees straight up, the Dodgers are -130.

When the -1.5 run line is applied, the odds on LA move to +100.

5-inning Run Line Trends

In researching MLB scores, multiple sources suggested that 28-30% of all MLB games are decided by exactly one run.

2023 – MLB Run Line Trends

TeamsRecordRun Line5-Inning Run Line
Atlanta Braves104-5882-8095-65
Baltimore Orioles101-6196-6692-69
LA Dodgers100-6291-7183-77
Tampa Bay Rays99-6387-7587-75
Milwaukee Brewers92-7080-8280-82

Our table above gives us lots of interesting data to look at.

The five teams listed finished with the five best records in MLB.

The Atlanta Braves won 104 games last year but only covered the -1.5 run line 82 times.

That surprises me, considering the Braves also had the best offense in baseball.

The Milwaukee Brewers won 92 games but had only the 17th-best offense in baseball.

That means a lot of low-scoring wins, which explains how they finished below .500 against the run lines.

5-inning Run Line Strategies

Head 2 Head Pitcher Analysis

It makes sense that the most critical handicapping for this bet is a head-to-head comparison of both team’s starting pitchers.

Of course, we will want to compare key stats between the two SPs and understand who has been performing better of late.

However, don’t limit yourself to just comparing pitching stats.

The reality is both pitchers aren’t facing each other; they are facing the other team’s offense.

With that in mind, to properly handicap this wager, you will want to analyze how the pitchers have performed H2H against the other team’s offense.

Secondary Line Shopping

Some bettors will focus on niche markets specifically.

5-inning run-line betting would be classified as a secondary or niche market.

Sportsbooks just don’t spend the same amount of time and effort setting lines for niche market bets because they don’t get the dollar volume to justify it.

This is not to say that when sportsbooks set 5-inning run line odds, they are often wrong, and it is something we can regularly take advantage of.

That would not be true.

However, if you regularly shop around to find the Best Odds available, you know how different odds can be between sportsbooks for these types of niche bets.

Even the sharpest, most experienced bettor will tell you that if you aren’t shopping around for the Best Odds, then you aren’t using the most significant advantage we have against the sportsbooks.

When it comes to betting on niche markets, such as MLB 5-inning run lines, shopping around can prove to be a significant piece of your strategy puzzle.

The Best 5-inning Bets Today

The Stats Hub was designed to provide hard-to-find data, trends, and information for very specific niche bets focusing on major North American sports leagues.

You can find this Sports Betting Data Hub right off the homepage.

Many bettors believe focusing on some of the available niche bets is advantageous because sportsbooks don’t have the same time and resources to spend on these secondary markets.

When it comes to MLB betting, traditional full-game moneyline, totals, and run line betting would attract more wagers and more money compared to the 5-inning market.

However, finding the required data needed to handicap some of these niche bets has not been easy. is hoping to change that for you.

This is where the sports betting hub becomes a truly valuable resource for those looking to play in the niche betting markets.


About the author

Malcolm loves to watch all kinds of different sports. He also writes about them.