Alternate Lines: Runlines & Pucklines

While the majority of bettors stick to the basics – over under bets, moneylines and point spreads – there is a market for alternative lines. In baseball and hockey, runlines and alternate lines are some of the options available in many sportsbooks. In football and basketball, you can find alternate spreads that give the option to pay a little bit more for security or risk a little bit more in order to earn a bigger profit. Continue reading below to learn more about how to invest alternate lines.  If you would like to learn more, please email us at [email protected] and we will connect you with one of our Sports Investment Consultants.   

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Runlines In Baseball & Pucklines in Hockey
The most common alternate lines you’ll find are in baseball and hockey. For every game on the board you can either bet the moneyline – simply choosing a team to win straight-up – or you can bet -1.5. The purposes of this is it gives you an option: do you think the favorite will easily win? Then bet them -1.5. Do you think the underdog will keep it close, but possibly lose? Then take +1.5. Hockey and baseball are moneyline sports and this introduces spreads into the equation.

The Strategy Of Runline & Puckline
The key to this strategy is the correlation to the moneyline. Many people have limits to what they’ll bet on a moneyline. For example, in baseball and hockey, sharp bettors typically will not bet on a team if the line is beyond -140 as it is not good value. At that point, they would start considering a puckline play.

In hockey, the puckline is a key factor in strategy because most teams who are trailing late in the game will pull their goalie. If a team is ahead by a goal, they could score an empty-netter and win by two. On the flip side, if you feel the game might be tight and will hit overtime, a +1.5 play is also shrewd because you automatically win if the game hits the extra frame.

In baseball – and in hockey to an extent – the strategy of the runline focuses on cutting down the juice. If the best team in baseball has their ace on the mound and is facing the worst team, then we could see a moneyline of around -300 or higher. That a steep price to pay and not good value. One way to invest at a lower buy-in would be to bet on the runline. Your favorite will have to win by 1.5 runs but at least you can get the line down to, say, -150. And you’re expecting them to roll anyway, so maybe the extra run isn’t a factor.

Keep in mind that in baseball, the runline-to-moneyline correlation will vary depending on who is favored and where the game is played. Remember, the home team won’t bat in the bottom of the ninth inning if they’re ahead, so the runline price takes that into account.

Alternate Lines – Spreads, Runlines, Pucklines
Alternate lines allow you to give away runs or points (on the spread) in order to receive a better payout. For example, in baseball, the team that is favored will always be -1.5 on the runline. But if you want to bet an alternate runline, you could take the favorite +1.5. Of course, in that case, you’re really expected to win, so that will cost you. On the flip side, you could take the underdog – the team that is not expected to win – and lay 1.5 with them. All of the sudden that increases your payout because that team wasn’t expected to win, but you’re betting them not just to win but win by two.

The same goes for football. Alternate lines are posted each week to give you those options. The odds makers set the lines a certain way and expect a game to land on a certain number. However, we all know that the games don’t play out on paper as they do in reality. If you think you’ve got an edge somewhere, you can get an alternate line, change the odds in your favor and try to increase your payout. While it is not a common form of betting, it is helpful to understand alternate lines at sportsbooks.